We’ve all seen it – “untitled document” is a popular page name, probably the most popular one out there. I wonder who decided that “untitled document” was better than no title at all? There are a lot of those pages out there, do they even know that a good title can do wonders?
Being “untitled” doesn’t make your pages uncrawlable though. If you wanted to go all out, you could make sure that your page has no indexable content at all and heck, just use Flash to display the whole homepage while we’re at it.
Of course doing that, you would think that it would probably destroy your site’s chances of being shown in search results. I suppose it generally would, but imagine if your site was still #1 in the results for your niche.
So I was in Kirkland and wanted to visit some local toy stores before I left. I’m still not sure if I go there for myself or to actually bring stuff home – having kids means that you finally get to go out and buy toys again :) . Anyway, I try the old faithful “toy store + location” query and browse the local search results to get a first idea. Google’s neat local search one-box on top of the normal results is always a good starting point.
Here are the results for “toy store kirkland“:
The #1 listing is one I actually checked out in person, it was easy to find and had lots of fun stuff (not as nice as the one in Los Gatos from my visit to the bay area though).
Tree Top Toys – a nice name with one of my keywords in it – has a site that is nothing more than an “Untitled Document” combined with a Flash-based homepage (sadly, even their old frames-based website was probably better for SEO). It ranks on top for a good local query though, imagine that.
When you look at the local search entry for their site, it shows that they have a couple of reviews (data imported from other sites), a photo (also imported) and that’s about it. From the looks of it (I don’t know too much about local search) they’re at that position because they’re close to the area and have some reviews, nothing special.
It looks like it doesn’t take much to hit the top spot in local search :), and with that top local spot, you could be on top of the search results. Traditional SEO (working on on-site and off-site factors) isn’t even required (but it would probably be a good idea once the competition gets stronger) – you don’t even need paid links ;).
How much work would it be to go out and talk to local businesses to inform them of the possibilities, to get them interested in actually putting their information online for the local search engines (e.g., getting verified and adding information and photos manually) and to help them to inform customers of feedback possibilities online? It doesn’t take much, you could set up a good, short presentation within a few hours. The good-will and reputation that you could build that way might even get you the one or other contract for traditional SEO work (or web-design, etc.).
As mobile search gets more popular, local search is only going to get more and more important. Helping small businesses in your community to get a foot in the door does not take much. Take the time and show people how SEO – getting set up for local search – is something that can make a difference in a positive way.