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B2B Local SEO: How Local Businesses Get More Organic Traffic

January 18, 2024

When you think about “local SEO,” you probably think about nearby retail stores, restaurants, service providers, and mom-and-pop businesses.

But plenty of business-to-business (B2B) organizations also work from a physical location. So they need local SEO, too. 

Which B2B businesses need local SEO?

Every local business needs local SEO. This could mean a few things:

  • You have a physical location (e.g., an office) in a particular city
  • You service customers in one location specifically, or in a few specific locations
  • You’re part of a franchise (e.g., as an insurance agent for State Farm)
  • You’re a national company with several local branches (e.g., as a bank)
  • You attend conferences or events in different cities and want to be found in those locations

So, Salesforce would need local SEO in San Francisco, Austin, and other cities where it has an office. That’ll help them attract and hire local talent, reach potential customers interested in its services, and provide a more tailored experience to customers in those areas.

A commercial realtor needs to rank in their particular city/region because they want to attract tenants for their buildings and properties. And they need people to find them when they search for their open listings or are considering partners for new projects.

A 3PL would need local search engine optimization to attract local vendors for consumer products and B2B ecommerce.

Even a SaaS company with no nearby location might need to optimize for local searches. Mercury, for instance, is a business banking platform. It’s going up against all the “local” businesses like credit unions and brick-and-mortar banks like Wells Fargo.

I’ve already written a comprehensive article about the fundamentals of local business SEO (B2B or otherwise). If you’re new to the world of local search, you may want to give that article a quick read first.

What’s different about B2B local SEO?

Well, for starters, the target audience.

B2C businesses are trying to attract nearby consumers looking for a specific product or service, often by highlighting their physical location.

But…

B2B businesses aren’t always looking for foot traffic.

Nobody’s sauntering into a manufacturing facility or corporate office because they’re curious. These businesses are trying to attract visitors to their website.

While local B2C businesses have websites (and, in the case of consumer products, ecommerce pages), they aren’t solely reliant on their online presence to drive sales.

B2B businesses, however, often rely almost exclusively on their website for lead generation and customer acquisition.

The B2B conversion funnel is also much longer.

The average B2B sales cycle takes 102 days to close and entails tons of research.

Nobody’s waiting >3 months to check out a restaurant or shop for a product.

This means you’ll have to capture local leads at different stages of the funnel and provide relevant content for each stage:

  • Awareness — Letting potential customers know you exist
  • Interest — Educating them about your product or service
  • Desire — Helping them find the best solution for their needs
  • Action — Convincing them to choose your company
  • Retention — Keeping them as long-term customers or subscribers
  • Advocacy — Encouraging them to spread the word about your business

So, you need a full-funnel strategy that captures lead gen and demand gen content, lead nurturing and sales enablement, and strategic engagement with your local community.

Customers aren’t always the ones searching for you.

B2B companies also need to be found by potential employees, partners, vendors, and investors. This means optimizing for not just local customers but also local talent and key stakeholders.

Part of developing a winning local SEO strategy as a B2B business is:

  • Getting listed (and reviewed) on local business directories employees use to evaluate companies, like Glassdoor and BuiltIn
  • Participating in local events and sponsoring or hosting meetups to build relationships with current/potential employees, partners, and investors
  • Establishing a strong online presence by creating valuable content and milestone updates and sharing it on social media, through email marketing, and on your website

Basically, you need to show you have a great product, but you also need to position your company as a great place to work and invest in.

Starting with the basics

Every SEO initiative, locally focused or otherwise, needs to start with a nice foundation. Conduct a B2B SEO audit to find out what sort of shape your website is in and where you need to prioritize on- and off-site optimization efforts.

From there, a comprehensive local SEO strategy has the following elements:

  • Topical, intent-driven keyword research to see how customers perform local searches
  • Local qualifiers (e.g., “{keyword} in {service city/area}”) that emulate typical search habits
  • A technical SEO audit to ensure your website is crawlable and indexable by search engines
  • Local keywords integrated across your website in page titles, headings, and meta descriptions (for their respective locally-oriented pages)
  • Internal and external link audits to understand how Google assigns authority and relevance to certain pieces of content over others
  • Competitor analysis (including their link profiles and content) to get a feel for what you’re up against and what it takes to beat them

From there, you’ll have a customized SEO roadmap and a checklist of items to tackle as you go.

Setting up your Google Business profile

Your first step, if you haven’t already, is to make an account with Google My Business. It’s free. It’s easy. You can probably do it in a few minutes.

When you set up your profile, you’ll be able to add the following information:

  • Name, address, and phone number (NAP) info
  • Hours of operation
  • A rundown of what your company does
  • A list of areas your business serves
  • Photos and videos to give people a feel for your business
  • Your website URL and social media profiles
  • How long you’ve been in business

Here’s what a completed profile might look like:

You’ll want to do this for every one of your physical locations — offices, facilities, etc. — so you’re properly listed across Google Maps and Search.

Note: If you conduct business online but compete with local business organizations, you might not do this in every region you serve. Using Mercury (the business bank I mentioned above) as an example, they’d create content tailored to banking in different states and regions, but they wouldn’t set up business listings as if they had physical locations in those areas.

Leveraging local business schema

You’re already doing this by including your NAP info on your website and Google Business profile. You can take it a step further by:

You could also tag questions and answers in FAQ pages or articles. You might be featured in rich text for your target keywords, like this:

Keep in mind that Google removed FAQ schema in 2023 for all but the most authoritative sites (e.g., .edu, healthcare, and government sites).

So, you won’t be able to display FAQs next to your business listing or on search engine results pages like this:

There’s only the potential to be featured in rich snippets for text-based FAQs.

There might not be any point in doing this. But, if you’re an authoritative site, you might catch a few Ws through trial and error.

Managing your local listings

Local SEO citations are really important. They help you build authority, and are a fantastic lead generation tool.

There are tons of ways to be featured on local, third-party websites.

  • Join local business organizations
  • Register on employer sites like BuiltIn and Glassdoor
  • Create a LinkedIn company page
  • Show up on industry-specific directories
  • Find relevant local listing sites
  • Get reviewed by customers on Yelp and other review sites

Some are free. Others are paid.

For example, a marketing agency can list themselves on Clutch for free.

But, to be a “featured provider,” they need to pay $125/month.

Before spending money to list yourself on a directory, look into how authoritative they are. When I look at Clutch, I see they’re prominent and get tons of traffic.

They also have tons of reviews on their site, so that’s a good place to have your NAP info if your company’s products/services overlap with Clutch’s categories.

Now, for the fun part…managing all your local business listings.

This sounds like a nightmare, but it’s actually pretty easy. Use a tool like the Listing Management tool from Semrush.

That way, you can keep your NAP information accurate across the internet (a huge positive signal for local search) and get updated metrics on how much traffic you’re getting from listings.

Becoming the “expert” in your local community

“Content is king.”

The old marketing truism.

I’m here to tell you it’s 100% true.

But, I’ll add a little bit on top of that:

(Good) content is king.

Your goal is to convince Google (and, obviously, your customers) that you’re the best source of information for the topics you’re targeting with your content.

How do you become an expert and create “good” content?

At a local level, you actually have a huge opportunity here.

Consistently publish relevant, high-quality content for buyers in each stage of the sales funnel (top, middle, and bottom, plus retention-focused content). Establish your site, blog, and promotional/instructional content as the go-to resource for local customers.

  • At the top of the funnel, you want to bring new customers in. Cast a wide net with informational content.
  • In the middle of the funnel, your process becomes more sales-driven. Create comparisons, product demos, and in-depth blogs/ebooks your customers and sales team can use to guide the buying process.
  • At the bottom of the funnel, customers are ready to buy. Give them the information they need to choose you over a competitor (reviews, testimonials, use cases, and middle-of-funnel content).

The keywords your content topics should contain local identifiers (like “marketing agency in Dallas, TX” or “commercial real estate trends in {City X}”).

Each piece of content should interlink back to your primary ranking content and service pages (that is, where it makes contextual sense).

Over time, this is how you build a logical hierarchy of content. Readers get moved deeper into your sales funnel and, ideally, convert on a form or call-to-action.

Plus, that’s how search engines read your website and index you for more qualified, relevant keywords.

Engaging with your community

What makes B2B local SEO unique compared to B2B SEO in general is the fact you’re engaging a much smaller community.

That community cares about what’s going on nearby. They want to be involved (or, at the very least, see you’re involved).

On a local scale, you have to differentiate yourself by being a good corporate citizen.

There are so many great ways to be engaged and involved:

  • Participate in or host local charity events
  • Spotlight employees who are involved in the community
  • Sponsor a local sports team or event
  • Host workshops, demos, and webinars for the community on topics you’re an expert in
  • Collaborate with other local businesses to host events or offer promotions
  • Launch an internship or mentorship program with nearby universities and community colleges
  • Co-market with like-minded organizations nearby

In addition to solidifying your membership in the community, these activities can also provide great opportunities to create local content and be featured on other websites.

If you launch an internship program with local universities, for example, you can secure backlinks and features from highly authoritative .edu sites.

Ultimately, business-to-business is still human-to-human…

That’s why working with a B2B local SEO expert is so important.

A local consultant can help you:

  • Develop a keyword strategy that works for your market
  • Plan, implement, and track local campaigns
  • Get more leads from your website’s traffic

That way, you can focus on participating in your local community, earning positive online reviews, and creating great content your audience will actually use.

Brittney Fred, SEO Analyst
Brittney has been working in SEO and digital marketing for ten years and specializes in content strategy for the B2B SaaS industry. She is based in Denver, CO and absolutely fits the Denverite stereotype. You’re just as likely to find her hiking, snowboarding, or doing yoga as reading sci-fi or playing video games.