Google announced that their local search service “Google Places”, will now allow the local business to submit their data including business hours, address, name, and more directly. This more streamlined process places more trust in the business. Google stated “the organic listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change”. The official announcement occurred last week on October 13th, titled “Faster updates to Local Business Listings”.

In addition, the search engine firm has tweaked their local search crawlers to look for the above business data (hours, address, etc.) and to provide greater accuracy. Google will make an automatic update if their crawler reports back with credible data. This move helps to ensure the most updated data is available for local businesses. For example, if the company sends out a news release announcing new operating hours, Google’s crawlers will catch this and automatically update the business page.

Local search has emerged dramatically in recent years. It is said that 1 in 2 Americans have a smartphone by the end of 2011. In fact, more Americans will have a smartphone then a 4-year college degree. Since so many consumers own one, more and more consumers are searching for “local businesses” on their devices. WebiMax, the leader in search engine optimization, offers local search services and is rated the top Local SEO firm in the United States.