tedster - 4:18 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
I think you are onto something here. As an online buyer, I know that I look for a business address and I rarely have confidence in any website that doesn't show me one. It's even worse if whois is private. The feeling of giving up credit card details to something made of only bits and bytes is not comfortable.
Variations on blue widgets however, such as vintage blue widgets for example, are immediately in the top 20. Is that because there is less competition? No, it's not, there are 1.15M competing results for that term too.
The number of results is not what it was in the old days. Adding a third word to a 2-word phrase can even increase that number estimate. So I can't get behind that as a dependable metric. Even on a result with supposedly millions of pages, I rarely can see the first 1,000 any more. Something abbout the Caffeine infrastructure shifted the way those numbers work - and they were not very intuitive even on Big Daddy.
I think the difference in "rank-ability" here is related to search volume - not to the number of potential results.