A large part of the misunderstanding of search engine optimization (SEO) with small and local business owners is their target market. Many business owners believe that they have to be ranked number 1 in order to be seen for their specific business, which may be true. What they do not realize is that they do not have to do it nationally (in most cases).
If you are a local business and primarily or only sell to the local community, you do not need to try and optimize your site to get ranked nationally for your targeted keywords. Not only is it very difficult to get ranked nationally, but it would be a waste of time when you can spend probably 20% of the time you would to get ranked nationally, to in fact get ranked locally.
Many business owners don’t even know that local optimization is even an option. For example, if you are in Sacramento, CA instead of trying to get ranked nationally for HVAC or Heating and Air Maintenance where you may be competing with some of the largest HVAC companies throughout the world, you can target your keywords to something like HVAC in Sacramento, or HVAC Maintenance in Sacramento. With these terms you are specifically targeting your area, therefore driving people to your area to your site, because who wants someone looking for HVAC maintenance in New York if your business is in Sacramento?
Just remember, when creating the content for your site, target your audience not only by your service or product, but by location of audience as well.