With Google’s current (over?) emphasis on personalised search, the time is ripe for SMEs, especially those which sell goods or services within their own locality, to leverage local search options.
Google even provides some excellent tools to enable them to do so, in the form of Google Places and Google Apps, the latter currently a very much under-subscribed product.
Google Places could be described as the online update of the Yellow Pages phone book. It offers businesses a “shop window” for free, with many extras. There is the opportunity to add a business description, photos, a map and most importantly, customer reviews of the business.