The changing nature of Local Search

I ran across this ad for a “Local Search Expert” this morning in the Houston Craig’s List:

roofing.jpg

This ad intriuged me on a number of levels. One could draw conclusions about the SEM industry, the Local 10-Pack or the need for qualified pros in major markeets.

But the takeaway for me was that Local has arrived. Local is no longer just the province of hotels, restauarants and florists. The percieved value of this type of exposure has reached into the deepest levels of the local business world. For a roofing company to be willing to pay for the service inidcates to me the changing perception and reality that is local.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
The changing nature of Local Search by

17 thoughts on “The changing nature of Local Search”

  1. Great find, Mike! This is extremely cool, and I love that the guy included such a telling illustration.

    This puts me in mind of Marty Weintraub’s recent article about how people in search are finding it necessary to partner up with specialists in the various fields (organic, design, ppc, usability). Your ad looks like the beginning to me of people realizing they need to get a local specialist (I don’t know about the word expert!). You note the ad says “Our Clients” so likely this is a PR or marketing firm who has just realized their clients need to get in on Local.

    I’m glad you posted this.
    Miriam

  2. Miriam-

    Your comment about “local expert” reminded me of an old joke in the computer industry:

    Question: What’s the difference between a computer salesman and a used car salesman?

    Answer: The used car salesman knows when he is lying.

    It is indeed very cool to see this sort of thing.

    Mike

  3. Laughing! That’s pretty funny.

    I wrote to the craigslist fellow, actually. Told him I though he should take a look at the interviews we’ve been doing if he’d like to get the names of some reputable people in local, and I warned him to beware anyone billing themselves as an expert. I thought he should know that.

    Miriam

  4. Well I only hope the roofer isn’t like the itinerant roofer that my grandfather hired in the 60’s…they painted silver water on the roof, managed to spread it on the cars below and left just before the police arrived. I don’t really know whether they rec’d payment or not.

    Mike

  5. I just read Miriam’s comment after replying as well to the guy… and pointing him to the series too, too funny :)

    I may have to go register a new domain and see what I can do to own the OneBox in Houston (a recent experiment indicates 6-8 weeks is the magic #), mwahahaha.

    Great find Mike!

  6. Gosh, it’s true, Will. One could technically go at it like that. Local SEO + Location and the magic of exact match domains. You could work your way toward a monopoly…but then you’d be having to put redirected phone numbers to your 800 number and Mike would have to report you to Google Groups. Haha.

    I hope the Houston TX fellow isn’t overwhelmed by our welcoming committee activities. I guess it’s just exciting to see someone knowing exactly what they need.

    Mike- that is a truly horrendous story about the roofer/painter. Now, my grandfather did his own painting jobs. He used one of my grandmother’s old handbags as a toolbox. He made quite a picture.

    Miriam

  7. ahh, the plots of the evil cabal….Miriam, I have trouble envisioning you stepping outside of ethical propriety, ever! :)

    My grandfather, when confronted with a “good deal”, always hired out…its in our genes. :) No handymen in our family!

    Mike

  8. Hi Tim-

    Yes and guy in the roofing business at that. It is Houston which indicates to me that local has achieved critical mass in the major markets in many niches.

    Mike

  9. Great find, Mike. I was just talking to Matt McGee here @ SMX last night & remarking how it actually seems like this will be the year when Local finally arrives. I guess all it took was a major shift in the SERP display to raise awareness! :)

  10. Ah the Year of Local….that is an interesting concept.

    I have lived through enough Year ofs in my life to know that they always are coming and then all of sudden it was last year….by that I mean that the market is made up of thousands of niches. When any given niche needs and can articulate the ROI the new technology becomes very real to them. At some point they cross the tipping point in terms of general awareness.

    To me this indicates that it is the Year of Local for larger regional service firms in large metro areas (and for your and Matt :)).

    Mike

  11. All very true. And guess what happens when Steve Jobs sells 10 million more iPhones in 2008 — and competitors fight to keep pace — mobile will be right behind local!

  12. As an owner of a roofing and general restoration company I have found that local is very important. It is one of the first things any potential customer asks us about. Great post. You are correct that local has reached all levels.

  13. Funny, not one of those companies had the phrase “Houston – roofing – company” anywhere in them. My how local SEO has changed.

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