Brands, verticals and SMB aggregators can play in the SEM space but it’s often difficult for individual small businesses to be competitive in local search ads. The place where most SMBs will play is in the organic results.
Palore’s Hanan Lifshitz has written up a kind of case study for a New Orleans Chiropractor — who just happens to be a client of Will Scott and Search Influence — in a piece for Search Engine Land. It’s a good example of how optimization can be dramatically effective for a local business. It’s also great promotion for Will.
There’s no advertising here per se (although there is a different local advertiser at the top), but the doctor mentioned in the article pays Will a fee for his services. This is what I’m talking about when I argue that in many cases some of the traditional advertising dollars that may have been spent in yellow pages or local magazines (in the case of a Chiropractor) may simply “disappear” — going into new sites, SEO/marketing fees or internal headcount to manage programs on Facebook and Twitter, etc. For Will’s client there’s no ad buy here but there are certainly marketing fees being spent.