One of the latest trends in Search Engine Optimization is that of local search. Local search is a relatively simple concept. Many search engines, such as Google, Yelp, Bing, SuperPages and CitySearch have developed (or are primarily focused around) a local search option. This means that you search for a business, or business type, within a geographic location.
In the case of something like Google Places, claiming your business and updating your Places page can help increase your SEO and make you more visible if someone searches for your business and location. For example, if you operated a Dentist office in Allentown, how powerful would it be to your business if you were the top search result for the phrase "Dentist Allentown" or "Dentist Lehigh Valley"?
Within each page, there are usually a variety of options - adding business descriptions, contact information, hours of operation, pictures & video and reviews (that you can sometimes respond to). Having a robust page that has been updated can enhance your SEO and increase the odds of someone actually visiting your establishment. This, of course, can be great for your business!
If you want to learn more, visit these sites. Chamber members also have some additional options: you can contact igotaguy.com, a free Chamber member benefit that enhances your website's SEO. You can also attend an upcoming webinar on April 28 on the same subject.