SEO can be time-consuming. Why? Because if you're ranking well in searches, your competitors won't take it lying down; and if you're not ranking well, you shouldn't take it lying down...

Moreover, SEO is ever-changing, and keeping up takes constant maintenance.

So... SEO might seem a Herculean task for local businesses, but it doesn't have to be. Here are seven little secrets to effective local SEO.

1. Be prepared

You need to be ready to put time and effort into your SEO, because it's an ongoing process. You need to be organized and aware of what to check up on. Use handy guides, such as the Local SEO Checklist—an interactive checklist of the main things to keep in mind, along with useful annotations and links under each topic.

2. Get listed

There are lots and lots of directories and sites you can get citations on. The well-known ones are Google+, Yahoo Local, Bing, etc., but think beyond that: You might have access to local listings in your area, business category specific sites, and help forums for related topics.

You can see an exhaustive list of ideas at The Monster List of Citation Building Ideas compiled by Synup.

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image of Arundhati Sriraman

Arundhati Sriraman is associate content designer at Zynga, a developer of popular social games. Formerly, she was community manager at local marketing software provider Synup.

LinkedIn: Arundhati Sriraman