Let’s say you own an ice cream parlor, along with three other parlors within a five mile radius. You can win a search any time someone looks for “ice cream shop” or “ice cream parlor” when they do a search while they’re in your city, or do a mobile search on their phone.
The biggest trick that will help you win this mobile search is registering your business on Google Places.
Claiming your Google Places spot does one very important thing for you: it tells other people how to find you on Google and on the maps. And if you’re the first ice cream parlor in your neighborhood to do it before your competitors, you appear higher in the search than the other ice cream shops.
Log in to your Google account with your Gmail address and password (register for one if you don’t have one yet), and then enter in the necessary information. You’ll enter your business address, hours of operation, methods of payment you accept, any photos and videos, and anything else you want customers to know (free parking, specialty flavors you offer, etc.).
While Google typically wants you to list a mailing address, home-based and mobile businesses can also participate. Just put in your home address, and when you get to the section on Service Areas, select “this business serves customers at their locations.” Google will hide your address from the map, which means you can maintain your home’s privacy, and/or avoid any confusion with customers who may want to find you in person.