When it comes down to it - the search engines don't give two cents about you. (10 cents a click - maybe. But you the business owner? No.) You've got to make things happen for you.
Showing up high on search engine results is almost imperative for business growth. Take for instance my experience yesterday. I was calling limo and bus services around the Napa/Sonoma Valley areas and I couldn't find any options left until the 4th page of results on Google. Can you imagine how great it must be for those transportation businesses that are listed on that first page of results - to always be sold out or utilizing all resources?
Anyway, not everyone can hire a marketing firm or search engine optimization specialists for thousands of dollars a pop. That's why we at least try to lay out guidelines that will help you come up higher in search engines - thus the 'reputation score' and 'ratings'.
Let me explain: Reputation scores, (like the one above), start off low until you create more content. Each picture you upload, coupon you build, blog you write - brings your score higher. This is to help you understand you need to create more content to get your business listing as high on the search engines as possible. Even if you have a website, it's good to list it on your MerchantCircle page - and vice versa. This is called cross-linking.
Now take a look at this picture:
This is another area where you have a reputation score. It points out whether you are listed on a number of yellow page directory sites. If you aren't, then that's one less chance for a customer to find you on the web - thus the lower reputation score. We do provide you with the links to each site so that you can take proactive steps to remedy the situation.
All of this is free. We only want to make sure that you know you have to be on the web, take proactive steps, and find new customers. We make it easy for you.