BtoB: What search considerations are important for companies with a local focus?
What we're finding is that where one lies on the map is much more relevant these days. Google, for example, recently rejiggered its search algorithm to deliver more locally relevant search within its main organic results. Now, if you do a search for a generic name in New Orleans, for example, you'll get New Orleans results. Google knows where you are.
For us, we've always focused on location as a qualifier, but Google has made it more relevant.
BtoB: How is geolocation impacting paid search?
If you add geolocation to your AdWords campaigns, not only will that more-specific targeting likely lead to better conversions but it also may lead to a lower cost per lead.
Geolocation is important for closing deals. Say a printer is researching overhead cranes, such as those used with large printing presses. We've found that if this type of prospect is within a 90-minute drive of what he's searching for—if he can find a way to be present at the source during his time of need—he'll have a greater close rate. So for our targeting, we do our best to make sure the target radius is no greater than 90 miles from a physical office.
BtoB: It sounds like local search can inform lead-scoring as well?
Yes. Another aspect of geolocation is intent to buy. As a searcher uses a “long-tail search,” adding geo and other parameters to his query, that indicates a greater intent to buy. Long-tail searches and geolocation are important buying-intent signals.