Two of the three biggest newspaper publishers in the U.S. have recently announced that they’re selling marketing services to small/local businesses … and those services include things like SEO, local search marketing, and more.
That must be a nice gig for the SEO firms handling that White Label stuff.
So now we have the Newspapers acting as SEO Affiliates?
What's next? SEO at Walmart? They already have it at Sam's Club®.
All you push button SEOs are on notice. Your business model just got nicked by the newspapers. ;)
Based on the research I performed into the SEO firms providing the backend services, it appears to be mostly API stuff e.g. Local Business Center, Maps, etc. Of course there is an upsell for local advertising via PPC and other methods. ;)
I reviewed a service like this for a friend about a year or so ago. It seems that a lot of small businesses will buy into the relatively small monthly fee and professional presentation without knowing exactly what they bought. Essentially they're replacing their current poorly performing space ad with PPC and local submissions with little disruption in their monthly bill/budget and little accountability on the part of the provider.
Do I think it will sell? Yes. Will it work? Depends more on the provider and the sophistication level of the client. Thorough SEO requires talented labor (as you would know :-). Big businesses are about processes and efficiency.
Clearly my data is stale so I can't say but it looks to me like small, local, brick and mortar-biz will go for it and they may be pleased with the small stream of leads they receive.
Being a newspaper guy, both print and online, I can tell you that it depends on the paper and the people doing the selling. Some are OK at it and others aren't doing well. For the most part, it's just a secondary niche service.
The key is the fact that newspaper sales reps have established local business accounts. They walk in the door and say, we can help you advertise in print and online. The business owner says he wants more traffic to his Web site and doesn't wany to buy ads. That's when the rep pitches SEO.
And you're right, they need someone who knows what they're doing.