Local search refers to using search engines to find local businesses. This is different than universal search, where the location of the information is less important. Local search is designed to return results that include information about “what” is being searched for, as well as “where” the source of information is, such as a street address, city name, and/or zip code.
For example, if you are searching for pizza or a plumber, you typically want to find these sources nearby and local search facilitates that.
From a marketing perspective, ensuring that your business is prominent in local search listings is a key component of local search engine optimization.
Mary Bowling at ClickZ has offered up a post on Tools For Local Search that lends a helping hand for local search engine optimization.