The best SEO or search engine optimization for local businesses has been the subject of many conversations on and off-line as of late. While I think that the idea of good keyword analysis and implementation is very important I don't think that with Google's and other search engine's focus on local results that it is Everything like it used to be. However, one would argue that is still the case for nationally used sites.
So what does that mean in reality? How do we apply that to business and the bottom line?
If you are running a local business, understand that a website is only part of what you need to be successful online today. There are many channels that need your attention as well and are equally or perhaps even more important than a website itself. But focusing on the website, a clear understanding of why a website exists in the first place is important. Why do you have a website? For most of the businesses that I deal with it comes down to two things. A website exists to provide a level of comfort and trust to the customer. That is reflected in clean, modern design and usability. The other reason is to create some sort of conversion. For most local businesses, it is a phone call or email. More often than not taking two steps back and looking at the project from the perspective of a new customer or better yet having strangers walk through your website with you watching (mini focus group) is very helpful and eye-opening. So while I think that making sure that you are including your keywords I think it's more important to have a usable website coupled with the understanding that it takes more than just the website to make it online these days.