Local SEO has become increasingly important, and small businesses who fail to take steps to help their rankings for local-oriented search terms risk losing visibility among their important local customer base. Whether you have begun implementing a local SEO strategy or you are completely new to the game, here are five easy-to-enact yet extremely effective local SEO tactics perfect for small businesses.Google has found that 80 percent of consumers utilize search engines to perform local searches, but far too many small businesses fail to claim any of their local business listings. Ensuring that your business is listed correctly on the main directory sites such as Yelp and Citysearch is crucial. Equally key is making sure that your name, address and phone number (or NAP) is consistent across online business directories and citation data aggregators such as Infogroup.Of all the online business directories, Google My Business and Bing Places for Business deserve the most attention. If your company can optimize its Google My Business listing to the point that it shows up in Google’s local three-pack directory snapshot, your small business can gain incredible local exposure. Start by claiming your Google My Business page, then look to optimize your listing by including a robust description of your business, your hours of operation, accepted payments, photos of your business and so on; completeness counts, so don’t leave any field blank.Online reviews can have a huge effect on your potential customer base. A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that almost 85 percent of consumers give as much weight to online reviews as they do to personal recommendations–and 70 percent of customers will provide a review when asked to do so. Use this willingness to build your collection of positive reviews, focusing on high traffic sites such as Yelp, your business’ Facebook profile and your Google My Business page.Your business’ website also has a vital role to play in your overall local SEO strategy. To help optimize your site for local customers, start by making sure that your contact information is easy to find. Utilize local, city and regional keywords and phrases whenever you can do so naturally. If you maintain a blog on your business’ website, try to include content that centers on the local area.While there are certain steps that you can take on your own to launch a local SEO campaign for your business, hiring a professional can help you maximize your results. Many small business owners are intimidated by the thought of implementing important local SEO tactics such as crafting the perfect title or meta description tags. A local SEO agency can help you with these strategies while helping you manage your overall campaign with expertise and efficiency. Local SEO continues to become more important for small businesses, and taking steps today to bolster your local SEO presence can pay off handsomely in the long run. Reputations.biz helps local businesses reach their goals by building a better and stronger online presence. We do that via reputation marketing, local listings, social marketing, brand analytics and SEO tools/services that make it easier for customers to find and trust your business in local search. Call us today to see what we can do for your business.