It's true that local searches often correspond to local businesses. When you're looking for a specific, locally owned and operated business, there's nothing better than finding exactly what you seek on a search engine results page. But the overall marketing opportunity local search presents is much, much larger than this.

Big companies looking to strengthen their brands and leverage the Internet's power are increasingly aware of local search's benefits. A few scenarios that illustrate this:

- Ever been on a trip and looked for a Starbucks close to your hotel?

- Ever needed directions to an AMC Theatre in another town?

- Maybe your windshield's cracked and a friend recommends Safelite AutoGlass?

Common situations such as these often result in a local online search.

Starbucks. AMC. Safelite. Not exactly small companies, are they? It's no secret these firms spend a lot of time and money building their brands and running national (and international) ad campaigns. Yet savvy marketers at large corporations are starting to realize they can reach local customers in a new way - a very relevant and helpful way.

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