Fact: If you are a local brick-and-mortar business, you are more than likely missing out on a ton of business if your business isn't optimized for local search directories.
People aren't calling 411 or looking at the old fashioned brick type book called the Yellow Pages when looking for a local restaurant, destination or other local business. They are heading to their laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
Many local directories offer free listings on their directories, including YP, Google My Business and Yelp. As a business owner you need not only claim your business on these directories by utilizing a multiple local listing service like Yext or manually claiming them but also making sure they are accurate is crucial.
Besides making sure the address, hours of operation and phone number is correct, it is important to build out your listings. Many of the directories offer spaces for owner's bios, special offers and photos. The more you put into the profile, the more you will get out of it.
Probably the biggest and most important aspect of claiming your profile is giving you the ability to respond to reviews. Negative reviews can directly impact your business in a big way and by at least having the ability to reply to those reviews, (even the good ones) gives a potential customer the ability to see both sides of the story and more importantly show that you care.
In the Web 2.0 world we live in, local search plays a huge role in local small and medium sized businesses success. If you provide a strong foundation, monitor it and keep it optimized, it can lead to a lot of new exposure and revenue.