According to estimates from Digitimes, 462 million smart phones will be shipped in 2011. It is no surprise that searches conducted on mobile devices continue to grow at an alarming rate. Since smart phones use location-based services, local searches are gaining in popularity. (Google has publicly stated that local searches account for 40% of all mobile searches, while Microsoft’s Bing claims their local search from mobile devices is at 53%.) For example, if you type “restaurant” into your Blackberry, Android or iPhone, the results will typically include restaurants near your physical location.
If you conducted your search on Google Mobile, you will see results from Google Maps with links that allow you to call the business or be mapped to the business from your location via your GPS application.
You’ll also start to notice that when you type ‘restaurant’ into Google on a PC there are similar results. The browser detects your location, and is returning local restaurant results.
So how does this work? On Google, it is thanks to Google Places. Google Places contains business listings from public directories (Yellow Pages) and user submissions. The Places listings work with Google Maps to provide local search results whenever practical.
The best part? If you have a business with a physical address, you can claim and customize your Google Places listing and update your company description, images, videos, hours, methods of payments and respond to reviews. Claiming your Places listings also gives you an analytic view of how people are finding and using your Places page. For more information, go towww.google.com/placesforbusiness.