The complete guide to local businesses

When we hear the term local SEO, we often think of the strategies and tactics that local B2C or retail businesses use to improve their online visibility and drive traffic to their physical storefront.

However, there are also B2B companies, which may or may not operate from a prime location, for example, a commercial realtor.

These types of companies face similar, albeit slightly different, challenges in getting their customers to find and engage with them via organic search.

The overall goal of any B2B company’s local SEO strategy (much like its B2C counterparts) is to establish itself as the most reliable authority on all topics related to products and/or services within a specific geographic service area.

As such, companies must present themselves as active and reliable participants in society who create real value for their customers and society at large.

You can still apply local SEO tactics to improve visibility in local map packages and organic results.

Here are some B2B best practices to consider.

Start with the basics

Every SEO project, local or otherwise, should start with a solid foundation.

This means conducting a comprehensive web presence audit or SWOT analysis to determine where to focus on-site and off-site improvement efforts, whether the business is new or well-established.

The overall strategy will include:

  • Objective keyword research based on intent to determine how customers will search.
  • local qualifications such as ” near me “and” at [service area]To mimic typical consumer search behavior.
  • Technical site audit focuses on site/page structure and performance.
  • Locally oriented keywords in basic structural elements such as page titles, titles, and meta descriptions.
  • Internal and external link reviews to determine how search engines lead searchers to the correct answers to their queries and which links influence online authority.
  • Detailed analysis of competitors to understand who is standing in their way and the level of effort it would take to dislodge them.

The output of each of these exercises should be a priority checklist of the items that form the basis of your foundational improvement efforts.

leverage chart

One particularly important local SEO technique is the use of local business schema or HTML markup to standardize the information structure preferred by search engines.

According to which governs the use of the scheme,

“On-page markup allows 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.”

The Business Blueprint can be used to structure the business title, hours of operation, departments, and reviews, and translate it into a similarly structured view within organic and mapped search results.

Here is an example of how to organize a local business address and other information:

Screenshot of Searching for [commercial real estate Barrie]Google, April 2022

Another possible use of the chart is to mark questions and answers in the FAQ section of a business website, highlighting the company’s area of ​​expertise.

Questions and answers tagged in this way may display as desirable rich text snippets in search results.

Question and answer chartScreenshot of Searching for [what is commercial real estate]Google, April 2022

A chart can be a powerful and often overlooked tool that can elevate a business’s visibility and content to the top of search results.

Optimize Your Business Profile on Google

A Google Business Profile (formerly Sterling or Google My Business) is an important component of local SEO. It enables Google to verify that there is a business within the region you serve.

Every business can claim and verify its location, which must be a physical address, even if its business with customers is not formally conducted at the address.

Sterling allows a business to provide all relevant details, including opening hours, website links, categories, products, services, logos, images and/or videos.

Profiles should be as complete as possible.

Google understands that not all work is done on fixed locations and provides many B2B categories under which these businesses may operate.

Google Business ProfileScreenshot of Searching for [commercial real estate Barrie]Google, April 2022

Sterling also provides an important place for clients to submit business valuations, the importance of which is discussed below.

In addition to initially creating Sterling, it can and should become a channel through which you interact with your local customers.

Ideally, establish a rhythm of posting relevant content at least once a week.

Regular posting of events, promotions or general information helps improve local search visibility as Google naturally favors active businesses.

Don’t nap in your NAP

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, it represents the unique identifier for each business and is similarly important from a local SEO perspective.

Specifically, pay attention to the accuracy of the NAP wherever it appears online, from the company’s website to Sterling and within local directories or other sites that refer to the business.

Google and other search engines review all of these NAP occurrences and reward those companies that maintain a consistent and accurate profile.

professional adviceA quick and free way to start managing your NAP is to simply search for your company name and review search engine results for all references to your business and its NAP.

Manage your local listings

Another important indication of a company’s location is its visibility within relevant local listing sites.

There are a variety of free, paid, locally focused, and categorized directory sites that businesses can maintain.

Here, too, it is important to keep the NAP information consistent.

However, many directories enable enhanced listings, including product or service information, images, promotions, or other features directed to generating lists of leads.

As with sterling, the more detailed and complete your lists are, the better.

Many of these directories also provide consumers with the opportunity to provide reviews, which should be written down and monitored accordingly.

Use the pro tips above to locate clues. Many paid listing management solutions will also find and update all of your business listings automatically and enable you to monitor and manage them on an ongoing basis.

Deeper analysis should include referencing the search engine results pages of your target keywords for any relevant clues.

Those good rankings should be of particular interest because, by definition, they are considered relevant and reliable in the eyes of search engines.

Ask for comments and respond immediately

Online customer reviews have become a very standard and trusted resource in the modern B2B buyer’s journey.

Depending on the study, consumers consult reviews before buying 70%-95% of the time.

I’m sure we’ve all done this in our personal or professional lives.

These reviews, in turn, have a definitive impact on local business search and mapping package visibility.

As such, it is essential to encourage your customers to submit reviews via the platform of their choice, although you can and should direct them to sterling first, as it will naturally have a lot of weight when it comes to Google rankings.

Furthermore, it is important to respond to any reviews quickly, especially when reviews are considered negative.

A company’s ability to respond is reflected in its organization, customer service, and the overall strength of the business.

Some studies have even indicated that consumers are more trusted and more likely to work with companies that have effectively addressed problems.

Be the local expert

You’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king”, and there is no truer place than B2B SEO. As mentioned, the primary goal is to convince Google that your business is the authority in thematic areas related to your products and services.

Google rewards objective authority with higher organic visibility, which is an essential feature of content marketing.

While it is not easy, on a local level, there is a great opportunity to become an expert by producing relevant, high-quality content that meets the needs of your customers at every stage of the buying cycle.

Create your website, blog or other content such as educational or promotional videos, as the go-to resource for customer questions and answers in your service area.

As such, the keywords you use in your content should include local identifiers, for example, “Trends of commercial real estate in [location]or “lease office space in [location]. “

The same content must then be linked back to your core product and service pages, where appropriate, to increase its overall authority.

All content must work together to lead customers from their initial search for a solution to purchase.

Engage with the community

Another way to establish authority within a community or service area is to become an active participant.

Some of the ways a business can interact with its community include:

  • Becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce or other local business organizations.
  • Join and support local service groups.
  • Sponsoring local events or charitable organizations.
  • Host or participate in local events.
  • Partnership and collaboration with like-minded companies.

In each case, publish and promote your participation in these activities via your company’s website and/or social media sites.

Where possible, also look for opportunities to gain inbound links to relevant pages of your website from any partner organizations.

These links are valuable signals to search engines as they help verify your local presence.

Take care of your competition

Before you can analyze your competitors, you need to correctly identify them, which can sometimes come in handy when it comes to online competition.

Once you’ve created the objective keywords you want to search for, use them to understand the competitive areas that consistently appear in search results, especially those that rank higher than you.

You can perform technical audits of websites and content to understand how these competitive websites can outperform yours.

You can also look at your competitors’ backlinks to see if there are websites where they got relevant, high authority links that you didn’t.

Finally, pay attention to the content they create and frequency to steer the cadence of your content marketing.

As mentioned, the goal is to establish your business as a local expert, and this may require some effort if others are on the same path.

B2B Requires H2H (Human to Human)

The ultimate analysis and visibility of your local authority lies in validating your customers through their behavior of searching, visiting, consuming, sharing and reviewing.

The onus is ultimately on you and your business to ensure that you provide your human customers with the content, answers, products, and level of service that will keep them coming back for more and telling their friends and colleagues about you.

Search engines recognize local businesses that offer exceptional experiences, rank them favorably, and build a loyal and trusted human audience.

More resources:

Featured Image: Kachka / Shutterstock

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