Cashing Out On The Local Search Demand

A little offshoot of our upcoming Passive Income Project – I wanted to give all of our bloggerhood buddies some insight towards a method of making a full time income by capitalizing on local businesses and geo targeted search traffic.  This is nothing new, as there are thousands of internet marketers who’ve been stacking loot providing offline businesses with simple SEO and web related services for quite some time.

A little back story before I hook you guys up with one of my favorite methods – In the late summer I did some copy writing for a Toronto-based SEO named Jeff Schnurr, who then commissioned me to do a 5 page WordPress-powered site for a client of his.  Months later, I’ve completely absorbed his insane knowledge of local search, link building and niche keyword research – and Veronica and I have partnered with his company to take over the Canadian local search market.

This among everything else we’re trying to do!

While there are plenty of tried and tested methods to making money with local search and offline businesses, I’ll take a minute and list one of my personal favorites that I am currently trying out:

METHOD – Local Retail Domain Flipping

Research keywords that are location specific and relative to a retail market or profession.  For example, my latest experiment is with the keyword Downtown Toronto Florists – you’re starting to catch on now, right?  You find keywords/domains that are relative to a local market, highly competitive (lots of Adwords on search results) and are specific to some sort of product/industry.

**TIP**  This method only works if the “keyworded” domain name is available.

Once identify the market/competition, you throw up a quick wordpress site on the domain, get that site ranked for it’s primary phrase (or multiple phrases of course) and once it’s in that top listing, you contact every competitor which shows up in the search results (Adwords too) and advice them of your domain name, it’s ranking and how they are wasting money paying for traffic when they could have the number one spot.  Let them know that you have contacted the other players in that market and are still accepting offers.

Cash in the bank. This method can be twisted so many ways, and the great thing about local markets is that the competition isn’t as heavy as trying to rank for a global search term, and because you have the keyword domain, ranking for your term shouldn’t be too hard at all – most of the time it can be accomplished in a couple of weeks.

A little hint… use Google and Yahoo’s local business listings, create an address close to the center of your city and submit your “business” profile to their directory.  And you’ll end up like my current site – Click to see.

Pro’s to this method:

  • The only cost is a domain name
  • If you take advantage of holidays in certain markets, you could get some super high offers
  • Because the business owner you’re contacting knows you’ve also been in touch with their competitors, this is going to make them want the domain even more – you can expect to get anywhere from $200 – $500 on average for a good local domain because this is chump change for offline businesses.
  • A little bit of bookmarking, a couple article submissions and your business listing is sometimes all you need to take the number one spot.

Con’s to this method:

  • Might be challenging for someone who’s never taken the “number 1” search spot before, on purpose.
  • This method only works well with the top 1-3 search positions, though you could get luckily with lower rank.

Anyways, I’ll keep you guys posted on how I do with my Downtown Toronto Florists local domain flip (I also bought the .ca) and would love to hear your feedback, as well as any way you can think of twisting this – email us if you have any questions!



14 thoughts on “Cashing Out On The Local Search Demand”

  1. Elijah & V –

    Gotta tell you, local is MY own favorite… but not for flipping, for adsense revenue!

    MANY of my own passive income sites are based on the “Services” industry. Home heating and cooling, plumbing, electricians, painters, drywall repair, etc.

    Well – the SMB owners are really not too smart when it comes to optimizing their adwords spend, and due to that ignoriance, will bid upwards of $10 at times, to gain that highest bidder status in adwords.

    You can have a website about “Hot Water Heaters” (NOT Geo-Targeted) with NO PRODUCTS at all – just repair and replacement tips… scatter 1-2 adsense blocks on it so you ONLY show the highest 3-4 bidders for a local service company… and cha-ching your ass all the way to the bank every month!

    With Google targeting the ads to local… regardless of WHERE the site visitor is coming from, the ads are ALWAYS local to them (hot water tank repair, etc)

    I Love Local!” 🙂
    .-= Mark – Niche Store Builder´s last blog ..Back to Basics – How to Add a Video to Your WordPress Post or Page =-.

  2. @Mark – That’s a great example of why local small business markets are crazy profitable for people online. When television commercials normally cost 10’s of thousands of dollars, these guys have no hesitation to spend big money – because for them, it’s all about leads. I can totally see how specifically setting up adsense for local is a GREAT idea.

    You’ve got my head spinning now.

    Another tip for all you site builders and developers – if you’re ever building a site for a local offline client, or revamping their existing site – make sure you have your contact form system in place. These businesses want leads, and if you’re using unreliable plugins for the sidebar opt ins, they won’t be too happy.

    Personally, I use Gravity Forms for the main contact areas, and Contact Form 7 with the widget for sidebar opt ins.

    P.S. Hey NicheStoreBuilder lol, let me know if you want to take a peak at Gravity forms if you haven’t already 😉
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..Cashing Out On The Local Search Demand =-.

  3. @ Eli –

    I have never been much of a list-builder, so I haven’t gone too far when it comes to the opt-in form. As long as they can subscribe to the feed – I usually stop there.

    That said – EVERY site I develop for local clients DOES use opt-in forms for their local base. I would be glad to learn more about it on that end!
    .-= Mark – Niche Store Builder´s last blog ..Back to Basics – How to Add a Video to Your WordPress Post or Page =-.

  4. *lol* I love the idea of local. Hate actually working on it, though. I own a local domain and literally only have one page of info up- I copied out the church listings from the phone book. I get 2-4 hits a day with no incoming links just because most churches don’t have websites, so when someone’s looking for info, I come out on top. I plan to do the same with restaurants, and other businesses that tend to get a lot of specific searches.

    Once I get my “directories” up, then I’ll start going after better keywords. I intended originally to use AdSense, but I’ve also toyed with selling advertisement to local businesses. Hoping I can get a few of them to do coupons with me once I build up traffic.
    .-= WordVixen´s last blog ..Mrs. Winterbourne’s Big Fat Greek Wedding =-.

  5. I see the potential and have for awhile I was approaching business owners and offering to put them online but did not have a lot of success.

    I like your idea of having a keyword relevant site already ranking for them to step into.

    Elijah Is the ads you have on the flower site disguised adsense block


  6. Great tips Elijah..But the biggest con with local listings is Google’s own local listing. You no longer have to rank for your keywords. Just list your business on Google Local business listings and they show up even above the first keyword.

  7. Local is a friggin gold mine. The few clicks I get from the traffic at OntarioAlive pays well. The problem I face is not having enough time to add updated content to cover all possible searches, plus ad placement is key to being successful with it.

    I have one post in particular that people started to comment on and now others think it’s the actual website of that service.

    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..Swiss Chalet Rotisserie And Grill Upper Ottawa, Hamilton. =-.

  8. Good solid info here Elijah. I am planning on getting in on the local action and your post has spurred me to start looking at it sooner rather than later…. Just out of interest, what sort of search numbers do you go for and what keyword tools do you utilize?
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..How To Avoid Going To The Supermarket =-.

  9. @2stepup – The ads are their own adwords ads just copied onto my site and linking to their sites. The point of this is so when the person visits the domain, they will see that all of their competitors are listed as well – increasing their desire to own the domain.

    @Anand – Where did you hear about this? I haven’t seen any changes with getting your business listing on the front page, at least not in the Canadian market. Keywords are pretty relevant for my listings, and it’s not always easy to get that top spot.

    @Chris – Yeah, like Mark mentioned earlier, he gets great clicks from his locally targeted sites, and I know your sites do very well with the local traffic as well – I see everywhere!!! Post up the link in the comments so we can all see your example.

    @Forest – In regards to numbers, I try and target domains/keywords that get at least 10,000 per month in search as per Google’s keyword tool – and obviously I try and choose those with modest competition (on Google’s keyword tool, I like keywords where the competition bar graph is less than 3/4 of the way full. Around half is perfect!)
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..Cashing Out On The Local Search Demand =-.

  10. I am referring to the ‘Local business results’ that Google shows up (along with a map, contact number, etc.). I guess this has existed for a long time…So when you search for “____ in Toronto”, all relevant local businesses in Toronto show up. If you register yourself as the particular business guy in Google’s directory, you can notch the top prominent spot ahead of the search engine results..

  11. Say you went after the local plumber with a pre made site showing in the serps and you sold the site, does that mean then you would not be able to approach other plumbers in the area to offer to build a site for them as you have already got a listing doing well.

    I ask as you can get a lot more return than $2-500 by offering a design/ hosting/ email autoresponder service package to a business

  12. @WV – Yeah, the whole local industry targeted business directory is a great idea. It could cut a lot of time and promotion off of it if you could purchase a domain that already has a PR3 etc. and is related to a market. Then you could create a top level sub domain for the specific cities. Essentially creating a portal.
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..PIP Module 1 – Finding The Money Niche =-.

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