When it comes to B2B marketing, we are often so focused on the personal approach and difficulty of getting leads, that it’s easy to forget about the basic pillars of best practices.
However, it’s these fundamentals that often are what makes up our steady organic traffic and conversions each month. For example, local SEO is still important for B2B companies, but it’s easy for it to fall through the cracks, especially if businesses don’t have a local store or serve customers around the country (or even worldwide).
Even if you don’t want to narrow your presence to your local area, many organizations still prefer to work with someone local, so that is what they’ll search for. For instance, a paper supply company with headquarters in Boston that ships nationwide should be optimizing for “bulk copy paper” as well as a term like, “bulk copy paper Boston.” Having content that optimizes for local terms and queries, both on your website and elsewhere, is key to making sure you’re capturing all potential customer website traffic.
Even though we aren’t going to cover everything that goes into optimizing for keywords in this article, there are some areas of local SEO that B2B businesses should be prioritizing.
Claim Review Pages
This is the most basic aspect of local SEO that is still ignored (alarmingly!) by many companies is claiming their local review pages. Many believe that their customers aren’t on Facebook, which isn’t the case since most U.S. adults are using Facebook on at least a monthly basis. The biggest review websites where profiles or pages should absolutely be claimed by every B2B company are:
- Google Business Page is connected to Google+ and also pulls in reviews from its own platform and other places (like TripAdvisor).
- Facebook page (even if you don’t have an official Facebook account, they will automatically generate a Facebook page for your business in many cases. Search for a page for your business before creating one, as you can claim auto-generated pages. This is also the case with the other platforms listed here.)
- Bing Places is similar to Google, but for the Bing search engine. Amazon’s Alexa software uses Bing, so it’s helpful that you have an up-to-date listing on their Places platform for that technology.
- Yelp isn’t traditionally thought of for B2B listings, but because many other platforms pull in Yelp reviews, it’s important to at least claim the listing here.
There are some software solutions for local SEO review monitoring, like Moz Local, which allows you to make changes to several listings at once. It also will send you an alert if any information is missing from reviews. This makes it much easier to keep track of local review pages since it’s all on one central dashboard.
Even though review sites like Facebook and Yelp are more popular for B2C businesses, many B2B companies will still benefit from having a listing because it will appear in search results when potential customers are researching for solutions.
From a local SEO standpoint, it’s much more beneficial to control as much of the exact name (branded) search results when possible. Claiming your listings (that may have already been created for you automatically) can ensure all the information is correct. It also will give you additional insights into if people are reviewing your profile, going to your website from those profiles, and other analytic data.
B2B & Local Directories
Besides local review sites, there are also several B2B and local directories that you can claim profiles on. Just like with review pages, these allow you to show more information about your company and ensure that if a user is looking for your services using these sites or search engines, they will have accurate information. As mentioned previously, make sure to include your address and zip code so you’re more likely to be shown in local search results for prospects looking to work with a local company.
Here are some of the ones that you can monitor with Moz Local:
These local directories are useful for both B2B and B2C companies, but there are also a few directories that are just for B2B companies. Some of the below cater to software company reviews.
Finally, you might see what types of business directories are available in your local area. Some organizations and newspapers have their own business listing platforms. Try searching for [Your City Name] + business directory to see if any there are any that are kept updated and seem useful to local customers.
It’s not required to claim or create profiles on all these websites, but it’s important to know they are out there and available. Some directories (especially local ones) may charge an annual fee for a listing on their website. If you aren’t sure it’s worth the cost, ask a business who has a listing and sells a complementary service to your own if they receive any business from the website.
Overall, research available options and choose the ones that are most relevant. Then, once the profile has been created, if users can leave reviews on your profile, make sure this is monitored regularly, either through a platform or manually by an employee.
Many of the above local, B2B, and other directory sites allow organizations to embed reviews or listings from their sites to the organization’s website. This can be a good way to show customer trust and your expertise. Just make sure you choose to embed reviews that are honest, but plentiful.
Local SEO for B2B marketing can also tie into link building, especially when it comes to local pages. There may be several opportunities for links in your local area, especially if your organization is active in the community. Often B2B companies overlook these areas because they want to build links that may reach a wider audience. But having a robust online presence with links from several different types of organizations and websites is more genuine.
If you aren’t sure what types of local websites beyond business directories would even be interested in your business, think about your involvement with the community and where a mention of your business could fit in.
- Non-profit sponsorships: If your company sponsors any non-profit organizations at events or as an ongoing partnership, they may have a sponsor page that can mention your website.
- Real estate development news: Being located in a specific office park or buying a new building in town could lead to a link from the real estate developer’s website.
- Event calendars: Get your public events listed in local event calendars, even if you’re just acting as a sponsor.
- Employee profiles: Any local news interviews or mentions of employees in the community may bring a link.
- Career sites: Some job listing sites will link to the hiring organization’s website. Though, these links shouldn’t be the main focus for link building since job listings are often deleted after the position has expired or been filled.
- Membership sites: If employees or your business are members of any local organizations, they may list members’ websites on their own. A good example of this would be the local Chamber of Commerce, which almost always has a member directory.
SEOPowersuite also has some recommendations for search terms to try to find more local sites that you can use for local link building efforts. Another avenue is local business awards which can bring press and link mentions, according to BrightLocal.
Getting these mentions locally cannot only attract local customers but also can generate goodwill and visibility in the community.
Optimizing For Mobile
Due to Google’s mobile-first index, mobile has become an even more integral part of all B2B digital marketing areas. Even B2B decision makers are using their phones to research and purchase on behalf of their company. Research has shown that the use of mobile devices in B2B will continue to accelerate in the coming years. As it stands today, 50 percent of B2B queries are made from smartphones, and that number is expected to grow to about 70 percent in just two years.
Furthermore, the landscape of those working in B2B is continuing to shift, which is relevant to how your prospects are using their mobile devices to make purchasing decisions. According to eMarketer, 84 percent of millennials working in B2B believe that their smartphone is essential to their work. This is a huge increase compared to baby boomers: only 60 percent said that their smartphone was essential.
Because B2B work and search queries are getting done more and more by mobile device, it’s important for B2B companies to optimize for mobile when it comes to local SEO. Claiming the local profiles like Google Maps as mentioned previously has an added bonus in this instance since many users search for local businesses on their phone since it’s with them most of the time.
Mobile and local SEO should always be considered together due to the way they impact one another. Search engines like Google are much more likely to include search results with local information since that is one of the common search types for mobile users. In fact, 82 percent of smartphone users use a search engine on their phone when looking for a local business, according to Google’s research.
B2B businesses can optimize for mobile on the UX site by ensuring their website loads correctly on mobile devices and users are able to access the options that are most useful to them. For instance, a “call now” button would be more useful on a mobile website than the desktop version, as smartphones can dial out. That’s only possible on a desktop computer with some sort of VOIP service, like Google Hangouts.
Content Marketing and Local SEO
Finally, there is another local SEO strategy that ties into content marketing: creating content about local news, events, and offerings for your website. Even if you don’t offer in-person events in your community, you can still cover local news on your blog, which can bring in local qualified leads.
For instance, if one of your company goals is to lower your greenhouse gas emissions, you could write a blog post about the new emissions law that had just been passed in your city.
Similarly, if your organization was recognized locally with an award or commendation, a blog post outlining the honor could get the interest of local prospects who may be impressed with your accolades from the community.
The last content marketing approach to cater to local SEO is creating product pages or additional blog content about how your products and services are used in your local area. A case study about a local business that had success with your service can impress other local businesses who are hoping to create the same improvements for themselves.
Product pages that are optimized for your location can help you cover any variations of local search terms, such as [product type] + [city name] or [city name] + [product name] pricing. It’s also helpful for branded searches that include your location. Creating niche pages for users near your location may help you earn rank for more longtail search query terms.
While it’s easy to forget local SEO in B2B marketing, especially if your product or service can serve an international market, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t beneficial for businesses. Optimizing for local searches through claimed review and directory pages, local website mentions, and more niche content pages may bring in highly targeted customers who just happen to be in your local area.
B2B customers may feel more trusting of companies that are nearby since they are able to meet face-to-face if needed. Other B2B decision makers simply would rather support a local business instead of one that is overseas or in another state. Take advantage of this local interest and create a local SEO strategy for your B2B marketing.