Check out these statistics!

"According to Google 73% of all searches are related to local content in one way or another. While internet purchases are rising, for every dollar spent on the internet, five dollars are spent offline on products and services that were influenced by online research."

And how about this?

"91% of U.S. internet users do comparison shopping and research online and of that group 51% explicitly characterize themselves as shop online, purchase offline."

If taking advantage of the local search optimization opportunities isn't on your to-do list, you risk becoming invisible to the paying public who are looking for the products and services you offer!

Claim Your Business Listings! 
While Google enjoys the caché of being THE search engine to impress, by no means is it the only place to focus your local search optimization work. You should take advantage of the Big Three (Google, Yahoo and Bing) and make sure you claim your business listings on all of them.

Google also puts a lot of stock in finding your information via other local search directories and IYPs (internet yellow pages), so take the time to register your business on established, trusted directories such as Local.com, Yelp, City Search and Merchant Circle. While you're at it, encourage online reviews from satisfied customers in these directories, as good ratings help you get better rankings!

Expand Your Business Listing Information!
You've been diligent and claimed your listings in the many relevant directories and local business resources available online. Your next step is to add as much relevant information to these listings as possible. Depending on the search engine (Big Three) or directory, you'll have the opportunity to add information such as Company History, strategic keywords, videos, company pictures, staff information and more. On some directories, you can also create coupons to encourage potential customers to click through to your site.

One of the most important areas to fill out is the Category selection. By choosing the most appropriate categories for your business, you ensure that your business appears in the search results for the most relevant, corresponding keywords.

Go Off the Beaten Path!
Are you a merchant who's willing to try something new with your local business listings? Consider mobile social media applications such as Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla to offer your local clientele discounts, specials, loyalty programs and custom badges, in the case of Foursquare.

By taking advantage of mobile media to advertise your business directly to people near you geographically, you're giving them incentive to choose you over the competition while offering search engines comprehensive information and ratings to serve up in local search results.

Want to chat about using local search optimization to your advantage? Talk to an Internet Marketing Strategistat August Ash today and find out how to make mobile technology and local search work for you!