Aaron Wall – Local Search Interview

For today’s interview with talking with Aaron Wall, the author of the popular SEOBook, owner of Threadwatch, and quite a few other Internet marketing related properties.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today Aaron, you’re quite a busy man lately, anything new and interesting your working on you can share with us?

I have been trying to get a bit more into affiliate marketing and owning a bunch of content websites, but nothing big really. I am passing time waiting for the next good idea. 🙂

Let’s pretend you’re not involved in the search engine industry for just a minute, what types of local searches do you find yourself doing frequently?

I am a hermit and do most of my shopping online. I even bought my new car from CarsDirect.com, which is probably atypical. I recently moved though, and searched for stuff like where to get a drivers license and that sort of stuff. I frequently look for driving directions, where to order food, and things like that. I travel quite a bit for conferences and concerts, and am always on the lookout for hotels that are near where I am going and airplane tickets. Occasionally I look to see what movies are playing, and when the show starts.

In most competitive SERP’s domain trust and authority play very large part in how well your site is going to rank, do you see trust and authority being as big a factor local searches?

Due to their trust and authority many of the large traditional business directories rank well across a broad array of local terms, and even for the official names of many local businesses. Before a local business spends money submitting to any of these business directories they should make sure they submit to the Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ, and get at least a few other links so they have enough link equity to outrank the general directories for their own brand specific searches, and hopefully some more general local ones as well.

I’m pretty sure you coined the term link equity, can you give us a little explanation and why getting the “right links” instead of just any links is important for local businesses?

I think Mike Grehan might have coined that term. The reason why it is important to get the right links is that many people are gaming the search engines, and as search gets more advanced they are getting pickier as to what pages they will index and what link sources they will trust, and how much they trust them.

No link is going to be perfect, but to keep ranking well in local search results you want to satisfy the criteria of being trusted as local, being trusted by overall authorities, and being trusted in your industry.

To promote a local business one should get local links (like the local chamber of commerce, other affiliated local businesses, local government sites, donate to / sponsor local charities), links from general authorizes (news sites and large general directories like Yahoo! and DMOZ), and links from industry related authorities (like trade organizations, niche publications, niche blogs, and niche directories).

For many local businesses like a car mechanic, doctor, or lawyer people have to pick up the phone or walk in the door for the conversion to happen. How can those types of service industries use the web to increase conversions?

I used to live in State College, PA, and the guy who owned StateCollege.com got a ton of exposure for listed businesses. You can submit your site or business listing details to sites like that one. If YourTown.com has a website it probably gets a lot of traffic.

Just about anyone can submit their business to Yahoo! Local and Google Local. You do not even need to have a website to do that, and you may even be able to include a few extra generic words in your listing to make your site more relevant for some of the more generic queries. Sites which are well cited on the web and are in many business directories may also be trusted to rank for more of the generic searches.

Search engines such as Google sell geotargeted pay per click ads, and also allow you to buy keywords like “mytown mykeyword” and “mykeyword myzipcode”. They also allow you to buy ads on Google Maps and create free coupons for Google Maps.

You can also use multiple phone numbers to track lead sources.

If you are exceptionally passionate about your industry you can blog about it. If you write high quality content frequently it is not hard to dominate the local results. If you are a nationwide expert than dominating the local marketplace should be a given.

I’d like to take a look into the future for a moment, what do you see for local search space in the next few years, and do you see mobile devices playing an important role?

I love the look of the iPhone. I may be a bit emotionally biased, but I think the iPhone will end up being a big deal. Many other phones will contiunue to suck due to their mutant interfaces.

I think Google and other engines will partner with many ISPs to provide free Wifi access and deliver location away ads to most large urban areas in the US.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today Aaron, if you’d like to get some more advice about local search check out his regional search marketing tips. I can also recommend purchasing his SEOBook, I did a few years ago and it was worth every penny.


Tags: , local+search, aaron+wall

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