Is there an intersection between content marketing and local SEO for B2B businesses? That’s what we want to explore in this piece. Google and Bing have leaned a lot into local SEO on their search engine results pages. It’s become a lot easier for local businesses to get a high placement on SERPs than in the past.
At first glance, local SEO might only seem like a B2C thing. The point of local search is to help the public find things nearby that relate to their interests. For instance, if someone is hungry they can look for restaurants on their phones and get results based on their location.
But the stereotype for B2B is different. It’s all done through phones and emails, not someone walking up to a storefront. Business decisions aren’t decided in an instant either, unlike deciding to look for some food. So why would a B2B business even want to look at local SEO techniques?
- Know how Google defines a local business and what characteristics you share with one.
- Doing Local SEO right gives you a lot of visibility on search engines.
- Give a local flavor to your content, wherever you have or want to build brand presence.
Local Content and Search Advantages for B2B Businesses
There are plenty of tactics that you can use in the quest to raise brand awareness. Some choose to use paid advertising, others want to pay for billboards, and still others engage in email campaigns. Local content is another tactic. Local content is content that talks about something relevant to the local business area.
This kind of content is great for improving local SEO results because it gives search engines the confidence that your business is located in a region. If you would advertise locally to acquire new clients, then you can utilize local content.
The process of creating local promotional content is very similar to creating content for a national brand.
- Find something which resonates with your local residents
- Create a piece of content that encompasses that + is better than what you’ve encountered up until then
- Promote that piece of content using social media channels and platforms.
- After assessing the results, repeat the process.
A catering company for business events might write something like “Top 5 convention centers in Spokane,” assuming they were in the Spokane area. Local content goes above and beyond general articles to provide information relevant to that area. Articles about local festivals and events, weather conditions, and the like are all possibilities.
On its own, local content marketing will only push you up so far, but if you can combine local content marketing with local SEO techniques, they’ll reinforce each other. Local SEO techniques are an easy way for small businesses to get noticed quickly across search engines. They start by registering your business with the search engine so they can tie your business to a physical location, a website, information about your business, and your keywords.
This is the information that search engines use to tell people where the nearest pizza is, but why couldn’t it be used to help find local tech companies, or temp agencies, or caterers, or other B2B businesses? If you can get registered, more local content will further cement your business to the region and help push you up the rankings.
Unfortunately, registering your business isn’t always an option.
What Is A Local Business?
Not every business qualifies for Google’s local business guidelines. Before Google will consider you as a local business, you need to have a real-world address and some sort of face-to-face interaction with your customers. Bing has similar guidelines.
Let’s take a medium-sized reprographics firm as an example. Reprographic companies do large-format copying and document management. They are mostly used by architects and building contractors, all businesses. However, most have a physical storefront for pickups and are willing to do large copies for the public for things like signs and banners.
Thus, our hypothetical company meets the guidelines. There is a street address that people can go to in order to do business with you and the company does work face-to-face with customers. If our fancy copying company only took online and phone orders and mailed all the finished copies out, that would make them ineligible for local SEO features. However, they could still use local content.
Tapping Into Local Search by Getting Listed
If you qualify, the next step is to get listed in the business directories of the search engines. We will assume that you’re a B2B business that wants to leverage local SEO, and not a B2C company that’s looking to branch out into B2B services (e.g. a restaurant that wants to start catering), but the process is largely the same.
Bing Places: https://www.bingplaces.com/
Google My Business: https://www.google.com/business/
This is a pretty straightforward process, but it does take some time to verify the business. Once verified, the search engines will be able to tie your business’s physical location to your website and local searches.
Leaning into Content
The next step is to start making content that appeals to local searches. Businesses who could not qualify for a local business listing can still use content marketing to try and gain local recognition, though it is far harder to do so. But it’s not impossible!
Once you decide that content marketing will be the strategy for your local brand, it’s time to start doing your research. Keyword research is important to see how locals are looking for things like you, but even more important are the keywords that your local competitors are using. Local SEO really narrows the pond of competition, even more so for a B2B company. This means you can really focus on 1-3 companies and craft a strategy to beat them out.
Take the keywords you’re interested in, then run a search on them. Take a look at the results and ask yourself:
- Are there platforms my competitors aren’t using?
- Does the competition even use content marketing?
- If so, what topics are doing well on my competitor’s blogs?
Promoting your content afterward is just like promoting any other piece of content. Find where the audience is and share the information. The catch is that you’ll want to narrow down your audience so the piece reaches those who are in the target area. If you’re using Facebook, for instance, there are a lot of tools to push posts to a geographic region.
If you’re keen on promoting your business in a particular area, you can’t do it with just broad content. Find out something about your area and write some local interest pieces. You’ll show the readers that you’re engaged with the local community and you’ll show search engines that you’re active in that area. If you can, use local SEO features to cement the bond between a location and your offices. The combination is great and it helps your content team come up with more ideas because they can narrow their focus to the local region.
With little downside, why wouldn’t you throw in some local content marketing and check out your eligibility for local SEO?