Putting your site at the top of local SERPs can be just as labor intensive and equally as competitive as regular SEO activities; you need high quality content and backlinks.

But because Local is far more important to small businesses than national or international ones there are specific, different tactics.

If you're just starting out promoting your business online then listing yourself on somewhere like Google Places is a great place to begin. It delivers features such as action tracking which allows you to see how many times a user has been interested in your business listing, how often they've clicked for more info on maps, directions or directly on your page.

Confirm Yourself

Type your business name and location into Google place, Bing Local or Yahoo! Local to see if you're already listed.

You probably will be listed on business pages and in directories even if you haven't built yourself a website yet.

If you find you're not present or that your presence isn't terribly strong then these are some good local search starter resources. Be sure to verify your listing.

Since Google draws data from directories, online phone books and business aggregators and this data originally had to be input by hand, often years ago, it's a good idea to check that the address and telephone numbers are correct.

Categorize Yourself

Fill in your categories correctly and fully. The better you describe yourself the better people can find you. You only get five categories and once you start typing you'll be given related categories.

Add as much information as possible, including everything you would want to know if you were looking for a business. Include the opening hours, do you take orders over the phone/internet, whether you take cheques or you're plastic/cash only, all of your contact details, photos of your shop front.

Once that's done you can put pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube or Vimeo and link them back to your profile on Google Places. Places allows ten photos and five movies.

List Yourself

Getting citations from local business directories can really drive traffic to your Places profile , Again, make sure all information is correct and keep the same format in all of your entries; this will make it easier for your customers to identify you and for your to track any changes that are made either by you or on you behalf.

Promote Yourself

If you have a good rapport with your customers then don't be afraid to ask them to give you a review; you could offer special inducements to people who are willing to say nice things about you or who are frequent visitors. Also see if you can get references and maybe a link from your local chamber of commerce, local news websites, papers and magazines.