Over the past 12 months we've noticed a big change in how Google returns SERPs for local results. Actually, whenever you search for a product or service, most of what Google returns now are local results. Those jewelers without websites don't even realize the negative impact they are having on their business.
Google has gotten very good at understanding which websites are product/service related in your local area and how to match them to your search queries that are product/service related. Even when you attempt to hide your identity and location, Google still understands your IP address and how to match you to a store.
Usually we no longer see SERPS with listings from Merchant Circle, City Search, Insider Pages, or dozens of other directory sites. As long as you've created a website, Google doesn't need these sites because the information gathered from a website is feeding Google's ever-growing database of business listings.
If relevant search information is not available from a local business' website, Google then needs to find it somehow in a blog, on Google+, or in worst cases, resort back to business directories maintained by other companies.
But regardless where the information comes from, the most important factor in the SERP results now seems to be the age of the information.
Google doesn't pull information from a single source any more either. A consumer searching for "Jones Jewelers Springfield IL" will see a SERP with a map from Google Maps, reviews from Google Places, and a listing from MerchantCircle.com. As of the writing of this Nugget, Google will also return a CitySearch.com listing that's dated Feb 6, 2012.
We chose this jeweler because they actually don't have a website and this is what people in Springfield, Illinois would see in the SERP.
On the other hand, if we search for "Jones Jewelers Celina Ohio" we will see a SERP filled with information from JonesJewelers.com, RingEnvy.com, and even from Jones Jewelers Facebook page. This is what people in Ohio -should- see.
Take the time to search for your own store's name in Google. Do you like what you see in the SERP? If not, then changing the results is as simple as posting something new in a blog, on Google+, on Facebook, Twitter, or some other website and linking back.
And finally, if the owners of Jones Jewelers in Springfield, IL are friends of yours, tell them to get a website. For that matter, if you're friends with any non-local jeweler who is website-less, tell them 2012 is the year they need to jump into the internet. When in actuality, 2001 was.