With local search, Burckhardt says to focus on whole keyword phrases--not just single words--so that you can put location-tied phrases in your text. For example, an auto repair shop in Palm Springs could include phrases like "our Palm Springs shop" in their copy, as opposed to "our shop."
For design, avoid Flash, AJAX and frames like the plague, if possible. The problem is that you can't link to a single page with those structures, so "don't use Frames at all and use Flash and AJAX sparingly for best SEO results," he says.
And when you've launched a new site, submit it for inclusion to the engines--but don't stop there. "The quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site," Burckhardt says. "Submitting through Google's regular submission form can take weeks."