You may not realize Google and most of the other search engines filter out a lot of results from the list it delivers to you. There are various reasons they do this including eliminating duplicate results (that's why we constantly say avoid duplicate content on your site - if you want your stuff to rank in search results).
This search engine, NowRelevant, does not filter out results. But it only goes back 14 days because that's a lot of data to have to track. If you want to see what you have been missing, try searching for anything first in your preferred search engine, then repeat the search below and compare the results. It may surprise you. There's a place for both approaches but, until now, the all-encompassing approach wasn't available to you. So there's no telling what you've missed out on over the years.
There is a lot of confusion, misinformation and plain ignorance among local business owners about the value of local search. We've been meaning to put something together on this when we discovered a very good article by SEO consultant Vanessa Fox on restaurants and local search. The short answer is 'yes', whether they're in Long Beach, Chicago or Timbuktu. What follows applies not only to restaurants but many, if not most, other types of local businesses.
As a local business owner, why should you care? For starters, there are just too many good tools out there, many of them free, that can leverage the power of your listing information. Listings are business directory listings that many companies maintain on the Web. Examples include those that started with paper only, like the Yellow Pages, and others that are a creature of the Web, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and of course, Yelp.
There are literally hundreds of these directories, most of them free to use. They aggregate information from a variety of sources so that they can be useful to people who use them to search. That means if your business information is out there in one directory, it's usually picked up by the rest of them.
Since many, if not most, of these directories use scraper technology (automation) to collect that information, it can be inaccurate or incomplete without anyone knowing it. If it's your business that's affected, you want to know about it. And the directories welcome your input in making the information as accurate as possible. In fact, they usually allow you to update it free of charge. That's called 'claiming your listing'.
Of all the listings you should be concerned about, Google Places probably has the most clout (partly owing to the fact that Google is the most popular search engine and guess which directory shows up in a Google local search? Just type in the city and business sector you're in, for instance 'long beach restaurant', and see what comes up.
Those little red bubbles you see in the accompanying screenshot, every one of them is either put there by Google or by the business creating an entry for themselves (which is also free). They do not mean that business has a website. Virtually every one of them starts out as an entry by Google scraped from information they collected somewhere on the Web. Then, if it's claimed by the business owner - who must prove they are the rightful owner - it can be updated. This not only allows you to correct or update information but also enhance your listing to make it more informative, not only to human visitors but also to the search engine 'spiders' that crawl the Web collecting all that information they display in search results.
Knowing the right terms to put in the listing to get it to rank well (come up toward the top) in search engine results is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that just editing the content on your free Google Places listing can help your ranking substantially. If you want to know more, contact us.
This article has gone on long enough already. Please check on the restaurant article mentioned above to see all the reasons even a business like a restaurant would want to control their listings. Every business we know of could use more exposure. Just make sure it's good exposure by controlling the content. Start with the free directory listings mentioned in this article. This is especially true if you don't have a website as your listings ARE your web presence.