The above graphic shows the current landscape of local search directories and how they feed into each other.

Claim your profile on search engines and online local business directories like Google Places, Yelp and, yes Yellow Pages.com. If you don’t claim your profile, you’re either needlessly invisible or your risk letting others publish faulty information about you.

Take for example a family restaurant that failed to capture its town’s brisk tourist trade because Google had it listed as a grocery store, Yelp described it wrongly as an Italian restaurant and Bing had an inaccurate address. Don’t let that happen to you!

Search engines like consistency, you need to be sure your businesses’ name, address and phone numbers are listed the same way across the web.

Getting Local Reviews

Once you’ve claimed your business profiles on local search directories, the most important thing you can do to boost your visibility is get reviews. Having a positive rating can help your elevate your business in search results, especially on sites that allow visitors to sort businesses by the number of positive ratings.

Convert Visitors into Customers

Another local tip is to add a “contact us” form in a nice start toward given the public a way to reach you online. Sounds simple, but yet many websites fail to add a contact us tab.

But how do you juice up your efforts to convert visitors into leads? One way is to offer free, downloadable ho-to kits, guides or worksheets with an eye toward becoming a resource- authority advisor who can potential customers as they inch toward a purchase decision.

Keep in mind when doing local search and social optimization is that it takes time to see the results. Don’t expect for miracles in the first 30 or even 60 days. It will take months, if not a year before it really kicks in. Next time will talk about how you can use customer emails to generate a sale.