As a small business owner, you might not even know what local search engine optimization (local SEO) even is, or why it matters so much to you, but consider this.

Mobile phones are poised to overtake laptops as the primary way to access the Internet. Websites of local, small business are more likely to turn up in web searches made by mobile devices. The search engine’s logic is that since the person is searching for it on a mobile device, they’re likely away from the computer and on the move. Since they’re mobile, they’re likely searching for the product or service because they have a relatively urgent need for it. To address this urgency, the search engines will yield results in the local area so they can get to the product faster.

Basically, if someone does a mobile search for your product or service, they need it and are ready to buy. Local SEO matters because it helps get your business’s website in front of these high-value business leads. Now that you understand, here are a few tips from local SEO experts to help you tap in to the marketing power of mobile Internet.

Claim Your Local Listings.

Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo Local are some of the biggest online directories of local listings. Chances are your business already has a listing on these sites, but if you haven’t claimed it yet, then it’s not benefiting you as much as it could be. Once you find and claim your business, which is a relatively simple thing to do, fill out all of the information sections, leaving nothing incomplete, and upload some high quality photos of your business.

Respond to Reviews.

Users have the chance to write reviews of your business on these listings. While the majority of them are probably going to be positive, receiving a few bad reviews is inevitable. Responding to these negative comments will show other users that you care about your reputation, which means you care about your customers. This is a simple local SEO tactic that can quickly build customer loyalty and promote customer retention.

Do Some Keyword Research.

Use an online tool like Wordtracker to discover what kinds of keywords users are typing in to find your business. Write a list of the keywords that are relatively non-competitive, and incorporate them into the information sections of your local listings. Without getting too technical, the more keywords you have on your page, the better your result will be –that’s the whole point of local SEO. For example, say you run a small deli. If you incorporate “best Italian sub” into your online content, then those who search for “best Italian sub” are more likely going to find your business.

In addition to these DIY tactics, there are also local SEO services for small businesses that can help your company out. If you’re seriously interested in making local SEO work for you, then such services are well worth your investment, or at least your consideration. If you have any questions about local SEO, feel free to ask in the comments.