I’ve been looking at some new ways of building very niche, often local, sites that convert well in less competitive areas of SEO and PPC.

The original research stared when I began work with a local commercial mortgage broker who turned white when I showed him what the top guys were paying for terms in his market, but slowly started to regain his colour when I showed him how to work the local terms and long tail to increase CTR and lower his cost per click.

Next came along a merchant doing some PPC work, and spending quite a bit on it, but who rather looked down his nose at the lack of guarantees any SEO specialist would give him….so I thought I’d have a play. A few minute’s research showed that his key term wasn’t all that tough and that a whole load of local terms could be gained along the way.
Two days later I was on Google’s 1st page for ‘London Locksmiths‘ and for a few days had an article I’d written on another site up there too, though this has now slipped off the first page.

Now, what was incredible about the results had nothing to do with the SEO tricks, which were pretty basic white-hat stuff, but the CTR on the adsense ads on each page.

Over 45% click-through, creating a $400 CPM for the site in it’s first two weeks. Driven by niche phrases of the sort that you’d often use to find local business these are highly motivated task-driven users, going to locally revelant page terms.
Now the volumes are not huge, but that’s always the way with niches, but given that this site could be replicated for any local service you might find in the Yellow pages, it’s a pretty good method to repeat. The original idea was to get some good rankings then start selling the listings to merchants in that sector. The AdSense was just there to fill in the gaps, now I’m not so sure I won’t just leave them on there.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the residents of Elephant & Castle seem to have the highest propensity to lose their keys.