A recent post we did on 6 Keyword Misconceptions spoke to the misconception that national or international businesses should avoid local search. It's not only a misconception, it's a huge mistake. Developing an SEO strategy that ranks you regionally can be less competitive, require less resources, and increase your overall returns. And it doesn't discount you ranking on non-geographic keywords or phrases. Quite the opposite, ranking well locally can drive your rank nationally and internationally.
Local search is not limited to people entering geographic terms in the search field. Remember that recent advances in search algorithms utilize your social network to rank and display relevant results. It's not a surprise that the majority of your social network is adjacent to you geographically – so of course local business results are going to rise to the top. Not only that, with or without a geographic keyword, Google is utilizing your geographic location to adjust results you're getting.