Originally Posted by headz77
If you are in a smallish market just these three steps will get you very visible.
Exactly. If the guys in smaller markets would just do the basics, albeit with solid execution, it does not take long, or a ton of effort, to get page 1 ranking. As we've recently discussed here, Google's Webmaster Tools and faster indexing is making the task much easier.
And if you're in a larger market, break the whole of the city down in to the sum of the parts. Target the suburbs or related towns. It's significantly easier to target, say, my city of Upper Arlington, rather than Columbus, Ohio. I'm 4 miles from the city center of Columbus, and ranking for that is a difficult task, whereas ranking for Upper Arlington is much, much easier.
Using the above, I mentioned last week that I created a brand new page for an LCO for a localized page for a city that had only been previously mentioned in a list of service areas (read: it didn't register on Google). Within 24 of creation and the sitemap submitted to Google, the page debuted just below the 7 Pack of Local results. Fast forward a week and that page is now the #2 overall result, above the 7 Pack. It's completely doable, just create a strategy and experiment to get to a point where you can replicate.