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When it comes to finding a local business, the Internet is one of the first places people go for information. With the rise of search engines, the ways people find local businesses have changed so dramatically that SEO.com is committed to serving smaller, local companies hoping to improve where their websites rank online. SEO.com President Ash Buckles reaffirmed this commitment while speaking Tuesday at an SLCSEM event in Salt Lake City.

To celebrate the company’s support of small businesses, SEO.com is giving away free search engine optimization services for small businesses. In the next six months, the company will select six businesses to receive free, local marketing. Companies may enter each month at https://www.seo.com/giveaway/ for new opportunities to win. Click here to view a video explanation of the contest.

Winners will receive free search marketing that includes keyword research, website optimization, business profile optimization, link building, citations, business profile distribution and ongoing execution, analysis and campaign management during the six-month period.

Because consumers turn to the Internet when searching for brick-and-mortar stores, local search engine optimization is a growing trend as search engines aim to deliver better results based on where someone is when they look for businesses online. With search engine optimization, businesses improve where their websites rank in the results when people use search engines to surf the Web.

Optimizing a map and business listing on Google and Bing are important first steps.

“Local search is vital because customers are looking for businesses online. Mobile searches have quadrupled in the past year,” Buckles said. “If local businesses aren’t visible, they’re seriously missing out on valuable foot traffic.”

While SEO.com remains focused on serving enterprise clients with national Internet marketing campaigns, local SEO services are ideal for shops, restaurants and those providing professional work like doctors, dentists, attorneys and accountants. Bryan Phelps, local search director for SEO.com, said Google leads the way in providing maps for those searching for local businesses online.

“We get businesses listed on the maps,” Phelps said.

But the challenge for many businesses operating locally is using limited budgets to utilize search engine optimization for building a strong online presence.

“We have seen a great need to offer SEO services for small businesses,” Phelps said. “Our services make the entry point for small businesses wishing to rank high in the search engines more feasible, while helping them reach the customers their business depends on.”

According to David Mihm, a local search expert who presented at Tuesday’s event, marketing experts have estimated that 30 percent of all Web inquiries, both desktop and mobile, relate to local search.

“Businesses could lose customers if their websites do not appear prominently in those local search results,” Phelps said.

He said his team has a deep understanding of how map algorithms work and the factors search engines use to determine where local businesses rank in the search results.

“Google and other search engines have dedicated a ton of real estate to local businesses. Our goal is to help push your company to the top of the search results,” Phelps said.