When we hear the term local SEO, we often think about the strategies and tactics that local retail or B2C businesses use to optimize their online visibility and drive traffic to their physical storefront.
However, there are also B2B businesses, which may or may not operate from a distinct location, e.g., a commercial realtor.
These types of businesses have similar, albeit slightly different, challenges to having their customers find and engage with them via organic search.
The overarching goal of a local SEO strategy for any B2B business (much like its B2C counterparts) is to establish itself as the most trusted authority for all topics related to the products and/or services within a specific geographic service area.
As such, businesses must present themselves as active, trusted community participants who create real value for their customers and the community at large.
You can still apply local SEO tactics to improve visibility in local map packs and organic results.
Below are a few best practices to consider specific to B2B.
Start With The Basics
Every SEO project, locally-focused or otherwise, must begin with a solid foundation.
This means conducting a thorough web presence audit or SWOT analysis to identify where to focus on-site and off-site optimization efforts, whether the business is new or well-established.
A comprehensive strategy will include:
- Intent-driven, topical keyword research to identify how customers are searching.
- Local qualifiers such as “ near me” and “ in [service area]” to mimic typical consumer search behavior.
- A technical website audit focused on site/page structure and performance.
- Locally-oriented keywords into primary structural items like page titles, headings, and meta descriptions.
- Internal and external link reviews to establish how search engines lead searchers to the right answers to their queries and which links influence online authority.
- Detailed competitor analysis to understand who stands in the way and what level of effort it may take to unseat them.
The output of each of these exercises should be a prioritized checklist of items forming the basis of your foundational optimization efforts.
One particularly important local SEO tactic is using local business schema or HTML markup to standardize the structure of information preferred by the search engines.
According to schema.org, which governs the use of schema,
“On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web.”
Business schema can be used to structure the business address, hours, departments, and reviews, and translate into a similarly structured display within the organic and mapped search results.
Here is an example of how to structure a local business address and other information:
Another potential use of schema is tagging questions and answers in an FAQ section of a business website, highlighting the business’s area of expertise.
Questions and answers tagged in this manner may display as coveted rich text snippets in search results.