Many B2B companies are business service companies and professional service firms that largely operate on a regional basis. Also, many manufacturers and distributors serve a limited geographical region because transportation costs prohibit economically shipping their products to locations further away.
So how do you capture geo-specific B2B search traffic? You know, search phrases for what you sell that also contain some geographical term, like a city, state, or region. You can use some other methods, but SEO seems to be the best alternative.
Google Local and other local search tools work great, but you typically have to have a physical location in the stated geography. You won’t show up in the local results for a search phrase that includes “Chicago” if you don’t have a physical location in Chicago. That makes it tough if Chicago is one of your key markets, but your business is in a nearby city.
You could use geographical terms in your PPC campaign, but research shows B2B purchasers overwhelmingly first look at (and first click on) organic results. So while you may show up, your chances of getting click-through are not as strong as if you ranked highly in the organic results.
In my most recent article in the Strictly Business section of Search Engine Land, I give some practical tips on how B2B companies can best use SEO to capture more traffic and leads from geographically based searches.