U.S. Newspapers Start Selling SEO

Your local newspaper may soon offer SEO services. Heck, maybe it already is.

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.

gannettlogoGannett Newspapers is the latest to hop on the SEO bandwagon. The nation’s number one publisher recently opened GannettLocal, a small business marketing division based in Phoenix. The independent Gannett Blog recently quoted a memo written by GannettLocal chief Brad Robertson, who explains the company this way: (emphasis mine)

“GannettLocal is a new business model focused on working with small and medium sized business to provide them a high-touch marketing consultation and a suite of multiplatform solutions (search engine marketing, e-mail, digital display, website, and geo-targeted print/flyers) delivered by a team of dedicated experts over the phone.”

GannettLocal’s web site is more specific in detailing what’s available to local businesses in the Phoenix area:

With the power of Gannett, the company behind USA Today, The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, we can jump start your advertising. What can we do for you?

  1. Build traffic to your business and your website by getting you great placement on Google, Yahoo and Bing
  2. Help your customers find you by getting your business on Google Maps
  3. Ensure you stay top-of-mind through attention-grabbing advertisements in The Arizona Republic, the largest local newspaper in Arizona

There’s small print at the bottom of GannettLocal’s home page that says “Powered by Orange Soda.” That’s a Utah-based online marketing company that was founded in 2006. That, combined with the fact that most of the recent job listings from GannettLocal are sales positions suggests that Orange Soda is doing the online marketing and GannettLocal is handling the sales.

McClatchy Newspapers recently announced a similar partnership. The number three newspaper publisher is partnering with WebVisible to offer the latter’s online marketing services “to every McClatchy U.S. market” — 30 daily papers in 29 cities — by the end of 2010.

From the announcement: (emphasis mine)

“The move gives McClatchy’s local advertisers the most efficient way to get found by customers no matter how they’re looking — in newspaper listings, newspaper web sites or search engines, or via mobile phones or navigation devices.”

McClatchy has already been offering marketing services in places like Tacoma, Fresno, and Kansas City.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Marketing: General | SEM Industry: General | SEO: General | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://chuckreynolds.us Chuck Reynolds

    okay now this is laughable… works for them as a biz but this is as bad as qwest selling web design/dev services… we all know how awesome those are!

  • halfacat

    Gannett is using Orange Soda as a reseller for these services. I have heard that sales are hurting and turnover is prevalent on Gannett’s side of things.

    Whats laughable is how Gannett thinks its going to sell something that it cannot even do well itself…

    This seems like the newspapers are struggling to find a new business model without fully understanding the new marketplace they are headed towards. Gotta love boilerplate SERP’s placement language followed by a google map update and then an ad on the newspapers website. pretty weak stuff for running a business on.

  • Duane Forrester

    Um, this is going to be a disaster. I worked for a company once that partnerd with Gannett. To say they didn’t get much of the online space is an understatement. I certainly hope, at least, that they hired folks who DO understand online marketing.

    Seems completely reasonable that they’d look in this direction for revenues, though. Apparently now, everyone CAN do SEO…LOL

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    Someone wrote an interesting review of one of those SEO firms last year. There are over 60 comments on the blog post. To say the general assessment of that particular company’s SEO skills seems poor is an understatement.

    I wish the customers of these services good luck.

  • http://drivingonlinesales.com Wynne

    Everyone can do SEO can’t they? Or was that SE2? Hmmmm. Reminds me of web designers I’ve come across that tare selling internet marketing services, and they’ve never even done it for themselves let alone successfully for others.

  • http://www.planetc1.com/ chiropractic

    Not surprised at all. I think this is a good thing though. Even if small businesses don’t get the results they expected, at least it gets them started on the road towards marketing for their small business.

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