Google has just released Place Pages for Google Maps, and the potential impact on small businesses is quite large.
According to Google, a “Place Page” is:
a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. By every place, we really mean *every* place — there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world.
With so many small businesses still lacking a website (around 44%), this gives them a great way to help control their reputation on Google. The URLs are built to be very friendly, and small businesses can edit the pages to make sure they’re completely up to date.
While this certainly won’t be better than having your own site, it’s another great way for small businesses to own more of the search results for their name. It’s got some bugs to work out (mis-matched items), but all in all it should be a great enhancement to the search results.