If you do any business locally you need to use different tactics to improve rankings for your local market. All major search engines have a local option for searching, and also display local results with maps and other info first.
Keyword research is usually one of the first steps in any seo process. When doing this research you can adjust keyword search settings to the locations you plan to target. Be careful when picking keywords. Not all users search the same. We all use different search engine, phrases, and other parameters that bring in business. Also don't get turned off from high competition keywords. These keywords can be very valuable if your competition doesn't use local seo practices.
Be sure to include your location name in your website and local contact information. Address and phone numbers are very important and used as a ranking factor by search engines. Also be sure all of your business contact values match for all of your business listings. For example if your phone number is printed as 000-000-0000 on your website then do not print it as (000) 000-0000 on a business listing website. Computers are looking for matching values and think they are different. If you are located outside the US then buy a domain name for your country. Some states are starting to provide their own domains and sub-domains as well.
Read the other search engine optimization articles provided by Richland Hosting and also use those tactics. Be sure to include you location name in some of your content and linking strategies. Advertising locally is also important. Search engines will let you pick the areas where you pay for the clicks if using these methods.