How Google Places for Business Could Put YOU On Top of Search Results
Places for Business Explained
Google Places for Business is a highly visible listing of local businesses displayed when a user searches for something Google deems to have “local intent.”

The searches are categorized by subject as well as location, potentially granting local businesses huge advantages over nationwide chains.  

Example Places for Business: Entire Right Column

Example:

Autogenerated?
Google may have already created a Places listing for you using information it found on the web, but it is still important for you to claim the page as your own and control it.  Controlling your Google Places page allows you to keep information current, upload desired photos, and manage otherwise important information about your business that will be seen on the internet rather than risking Google not keeping your data current.

Even if your business is not something Google considers “local intent,” the information provided in your Local Business heading will be highly visible, and you are able to edit the information to display what you feel is most relevant and helpful to your business.  You are able to reorder reviews, update outdated information, and provide pictures that better describe what your business is about: all of which helps users find your company which translates to more business.

The First Step
Go to www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness  and click “Get started for free” to claim your account.  Google requires a verification process, either by phone (only available in certain instances in which there is a “high level of confidence that the listing data is correct”) or by mail, in which you will receive a pin number at the listed number/address for your business which is used to ensure that no one falsely claims your account.

After the verification process, you can begin editing your content and taking advantage of your highly visible content.
Source: DNN Affin inport