When you need to search for a local business or service, you go to Google and type in your search request. Let’s say that’s “Houston Bakery.” Here’s what Google is going to show at the very top of their results list, even before any of the organic listings:
If you have a business whose target market is your local area, make sure you have your business details registered with Google Places (listings are free). This is extremely important to do because you could be visibility in the local search results that always appear on page 1 of Google Local searches. So even if your website link is on page 2 or 3 in the “natural” rankings, your local listing could be appearing on page 1, bringing you more visibility and traffic.
Adding your business is very easy and you can start by going to http://www.google.com/places. You’ll input your physical address, business details, and keywords. Google will then need to verify your physical address by sending you a PIN in the mail. Once you receive that, you can confirm your account and then you should see your new listing appearing in the results shortly thereafter.