For this interview we’re going to be talking with QuadsZilla who runs Black Hat SEO blog.
I know you’re a secretive fellow so I won’t ask you to divulge you past, instead we’ll dive right into the questions. I know you spend a lot of time travelling, do you use local search to help you find things when you are in unfamiliar places, and what are some common things you look for?
Actually no. Local search really sucks in many of the countries I find myself in. And at the more, shall we say, “developed” nations that I visit always have people waiting at the airport to show me around. I did use the Internet recently to help me find a house to rent in Florianopolis, but the lead for the site name came from a newspaper. There are many local niches like that in non English speaking countries that would be easy to dominate in the SERPs – lots of opportunity.
Let’s talk about the dark side, for a while it was possible to do pretty well with mad libs style copy for local search using things like “Cheap hotels in __________ looking for cheap hotels in __________ our __________ hotel directory can help” and changing just the state or city name. Are those types of things still working, and do you see both sides getting smarter at implementation and detection?
On the pure computer generated side, there have been developments on the n-Gram front that have been exciting and effective as well as the traditional 4 to 1 Input to output for the Markov Cain. So yea, both sides are getting more sophisticated. But then again, you can still see plain old fashion keyword stuffing ranking quite well in Google; don’t throw away that 1 million city database just yet 😉
From a black hat perspective what’s the best way to monetize local SERP’s, try to find affiliates programs that over services ina wide variety of locations across the country or go with Adsense or other contextual advertising programs?
It really depends on the category. Local search traffic is both better and worse at the same time. On the one hand, the surfer is looking for something in a certain area, which is a buying signal, while on the other hand they are less likely to purchase something that will be mailed to them. Collecting leads for local services, rather than tangible goods seems a better strategy for local search.
For someone who’s looking to experiment in local SERP’s what are your top tips for getting the most monetary return on their time investment?
Local search isn’t a big enough piece of my pie right now for me to consider myself an expert on the matter. However, it seems there are tons of opportunities in the greyer hat to roll up the myriad of local sites and local info that have no hope of ranking in the serps without SEO help.
Gazing into your crystal ball any big changes you see coming to the local search markets?
As I gaze into my crystal ball, it’s 2011. I see Michael Gray Leaving an Airport and getting into his rental car. He is flipping open his 5th Generation Apple iPhone and says “5 Star Italian Restaurants within 9 miles.” The Google maps mash-up grabs your GSM location and gives him a list of 3 choices and reads the reviews to him and shows him a slideshow of the restaurants. Gray says “Mama Mia’s Palace” and the directions are fed to his iPhone.
One hour later, I see michael eating some “overcooked spageti with ketchup” at a dive bar, while mumbling softly under his breath “f*cking spammers . . .” [editors note: heh pretty funny!]
Thanks for taking the time from your travels to participate in our local search interview segment. For more from QuadsZilla be sure to subscribe to his Black Hat SEO blog or head on over and join the SEO Black Hat forums to meet and chat with some other folks talk about the darker side of SEO.
Tags: local+search, seo