Waiting for the Wrong Search Engine

September 29, 2006

There is often a kind of desperation these days surrounding the subject of how to get technology to help us find more customers. We often tend to believe that if we somehow just use the right keywords, hire the right webmaster or buy the craftiest and cheapest Google Adwords, customers will flock to us. But, what if we were, in Paul Gandel’s words, “standing on the wrong platform, waiting for the wrong train?

What if the train was arriving every day at another “platform” and we were all ignoring it? What if tickets to that train cost almost nothing or were free? What if the train ran almost every hour of every day, compared to the one you’ve been waiting for? Yesterday, at Chris Sherman’s Search Engine Strategies Conference here in Denver, the day was devoted to the platform and the train of “local search.”

What we learned was that local search might provide you with a lot more customers for a lot less money than even the best positioned and terrifically positioned web site. In fact, we learned that in a lot of cases capturing some of that local search business will cost you exactly nothing.

Two weeks ago, while preparing for the S.E.S. conference, we wrote a longer post called “All Business is Local Search.” What we didn’t realize then was how many businesses have simply not made sure that their business is findable when someone types a search in Google. And that’s free!

Is your company’s name and current contact information listed with the major local search engines? We’re ashamed to admit that we weren’t. And, we checked for a lot of the rest of you – and you weren’t either. To the speakers we work with – you weren’t listed. To the small businesses we work with – you weren’t listed. To the lawyers, doctors, even bigger businesses, sorry, but most of you weren’t listed.

Patricia Hursh is the president and founder of Boulder based SmartSearch Marketing. This August she wrote what might just be the most important article you will read this year – the article about the right platform and the right search engine trains. It’s called “Four Steps Every Business Can Take to Improve Local Search Results.” It might just keep you from being a “Desperado Waiting for a Train.

So, we’re going to send you to the blackboard right now and make you write 100 times. “I will read Patricia Hursh’s article.” “I will read Patricia Hursh’s article.” “I will read Patricia Hursh’s article.” “I will read Patricia Hursh’s article.”

Better yet, skip the blackboard and read it – now – here’s the link to her article – it’s highlighted in blue – “Four Steps Every Business Can Take to Improve Local Search Results.”

(End note: The opening paragraph of this post quotes an article written by Paul Gandel, called Standing on the Wrong Platform, Waiting for the Wrong Train. He says he used to say it while growing up and assumed it was a famous saying. We Googled it – and we couldn’t find another source for it. The song quoted – “Like Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” – is the wonderful song by David Allen Coe.)


  1. THANK YOU! Golden Compass is two for two in two months helping my small business grow. First http://www.jjhill.org and now this valuable information about how to gain exposure for our website and get the word out about our services without a great deal of expense. You really are friends of small business.

  2. Hi Donna, Thanks for your comment. We’ve gotten a few e-mails back on this topic – and I just want to clarify one point (and then we’ll put a separate post about this topic by Monday).

    This clarification – The majority of small businesses in the United States do not have web sites (this may or may not be surprising). The article I wrote about local search is a way to get businesses listed for sure in local searches – whether they have a web presence or not! In other words, the searcher would find this business – with name, address, phone and other details of the business (hours of operation, for instance) – with or without a web site.

    I didn’t make myself clear in the article – and that is why this is such important information, especially for small businesses that don’t have a web presence (and for those that do!)

    My fault for not making this point better.

    Michael Benidt

  3. […] Hidden Internet Tips For Sales And Business « Waiting for the Wrong Search Engine Small Businesses without Web Sites October 1st,2006 […]

  4. […] By now you’re probably interested in getting a local listing, but you’re unsure how or where to proceed. Well, let me be your guide. After reading Michael’s post “Waiting for the Wrong Search Engine” I decided to try it out myself. I found getting a local listing wasn’t always so easy or clear cut. […]

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