If you own a local shop, store or restaurant you may be wondering if SEO will suit your purposes or if it’s just a waste of money. After all, just because you have a website doesn’t necessarily mean that people are going to flock to it—especially if you don’t sell items online. However, don’t underestimate the value of web content, especially in this post-Penguin, post-Venice age. (We’ll explain this in a moment)

The only way that local traffic can find you is if you make an effort to be found, and the way to do that is to proactively choose popular niche keywords and create searchable content for your targeted audience. Now maybe you’re thinking, if only I had a national business I could do that. However, thanks to recent two recent Google algorithm updates, you may very well have the odds stacked in your favor.

Google Venice is an update created exclusively for the promotion of localized content. Google is sending more SEO traffic to websites stationed within the searcher’s city, assuming that for some keyword searches, users want to find nearby businesses. If you own a restaurant, a retail store or any sort of business this will be an excellent way to solicit new interest.

The Google Penguin update is also a major factor to consider; for some a thorn in their sides, for others a great new opportunity. The Penguin algorithm update rewards websites that have above-average quality web content. In fact, the latest changes focus more on quality content than keyword density. Therefore, if you pay for high quality writing and do a consistent job of keeping your page updated, you will eventually best the competition who underestimates the new power of local SEO.

Just look at Google Places and Google Maps, two very important geo-centric sites that can put a new business on the map and help improve general SEO rankings for localized searches. If you sign up with all the local pages, you will only improve your web presence in your own city.

Remember, even if your business doesn’t have much “copy” or much selling to offer, you won’t be writing much of that anyway. Your priority is creating valuable and informative content to your audience. An SEO firm can help you get started!