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Google's head of SME product development, Dan Rubinstein, speaking at The Kelsey Group's ILM event in Philadelphia, said the company is going to meet SMEs halfway to get them to actively market themselves on the Internet. Google is developing several new products specifically with SMEs in mind (and may have quietly launched them).

First, it is rolling out microsites to help the SMEs that don't have a Web site but want to advertise on Google  a group that potentially represents at least 50 percent of the 12 million-plus SMEs in the U.S. with ad budgets. Without a URL and Web site to link to, of course, ad campaigns on Google are highly limiting.

Rubinstein noted that SMEs would have at least five templates to choose from. He added that Google is also developing a Web site optimizer that will help SMEs determine which parts of their sites are likely to cull the most traffic.

To Rubinstein  who noted that he is a former small-business owner  the technology needs of the SME are trending toward several things. These include:

  • Real-time local inventory. This is something that can be partially addressed by Google's strategic partnership with Intuit's QuickBooks, which now includes StepUp.

  • Deep cross-merchant, cross-product metrics that will help consumers know what to buy, and where to get it  right now.

  • Establishing standards for aggregating, categorizing and protecting personal information.

Rubinstein also said that Google's SME activities are by no means limited to desktop search. “Sixty percent of mobile search in the U.S. is Google,” he said. “In my opinion, for local business ads, mobile is the killer app, not the desktop.”

Rubinstein also noted that while these initiatives will help “the segment of the SME market that wants to build it themselves,” Google isn't kidding itself: For most SMEs, the king of the hill definitely remains a feet-on-the-street sales force.

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