SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Type "Miami homes" in Yahoo!'s search box and a mix of national aggregators, regional real estate companies and individual broker and agent Web sites appears in the sponsored results. The reality that smaller, individual brokerages are competing with companies with larger advertising budgets for the same keywords has some observers wondering what happens to local advertisers as more large companies enter paid search. Search engine experts speaking at a conference here this week, "Drilling Down on Local Search," discussed keyword competition between national brands and mom-and-pop businesses. Keeping large marketers from out-muscling local businesses in paid search results will be challenging, but not impossible, they concluded. Local advertisers have proven their ability to compete with national companies offline, said Steve Haar, VP of planning and interactive with SMG Directory Marketing, which helps companies market themselves through print and online d...
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