With large budgets and often an already booming reputation, it can seem like small businesses could never compete with the big companies out there. Feeling tiny and ineffective against large, looming competition, it might seem like SEO is a waste for the small business. After all, a small business will never outrank a big business, right?
The solution to this dilemma requires the right perspective, but it is untrue to state that small businesses cannot benefit tremendously from SEO. While you might not outrank a major corporation outright, SEO may in fact prove more helpful to your smaller company than to a larger one. Here’s how:
It’s All About That Niche
No matter your industry, there will always be a company that is bigger, badder, and has been around longer. The point is, you can’t necessarily become the top dog in an industry with a major stronghold. As much as you might try, you will never outrank those massive corporate entities. No small business is going to jump into first position in front of a well-known, powerful business, no matter how much you stuff a certain keyword into your content or how much social sharing you do.
So how can you gain traction?
Big companies might have a leg up with massive SEO budgets and established reputations, but even those large businesses can’t possibly dominate every niche of a given industry. These companies won’t be able to have the most relevant page of content for every single keyword phrase in their field. This is where small businesses have the chance to step in and take stage. Even in competitive markets, small businesses can experience SEO success by securing and ranking in a niche.
Your business might not be able to rank highly at all for a generic term like “computers”, but that needn’t deter you. You first must consider the market you’re selling to, your personal brand, and even your location. Working with a longer, more specific keyword phrase can make all the difference here. So while you may not experience gains with the keyword “computers” you might make major strides with a term such as: “Sydney laptop computers” or “Melbourne computer repair.” Focusing on one aspect of your business, or emphasising a geographic location can give you a much greater visibility (particularly if you consider ranking for the most frequently searched terms.)
Content, Social Sharing, & Backlinks
To get the most out of your SEO keywords, your business will need to create high quality web pages with exceptional content that utilises your specific phrases appropriately and effectively. Experts worldwide agree that “content is [still] king” and focusing on this element has shown to be of utmost significance when it comes to building those rankings. More and more businesses large and small have blogs, updated regularly with relevant, unique, and interesting content. This builds your business as an authority or a unique voice in your field and attracts site visitors, creating a steady stream of traffic and furthering your rankings.
Small businesses have another advantage over big businesses: social media. Sure, it may seem like these large companies have a massive following, and this is often the case. But this gigantic following removes the personal layer of online social interactions. Big companies often become faceless: small companies have an easier time connecting on a human level. If your business is consistently active on social media, you can engage with your target demographic in an authentic way, building your brand reputation tremendously. Consumers choose brands and businesses they trust, so if you can engender trust from your customers, your following will gradually build. It may not be a swift process, but it’s tough work growing a small business. With dedicated application, your efforts will pay off.
Building quality backlinks is another element of competing with those big businesses. Although such companies may already be established and have countless backlinks, smaller companies have a great opportunity of building these too.
Why? A personal touch and quality content. When reaching out to other businesses and sites, you have the advantage of the personal, individual touch, while large companies often do not. This earns you trust and respect with other organisations and builds a real relationship. As far as the quality content piece, other websites will want to link to your site if you offer valuable content that they are anxious to share. That’s most of the battle. Essentially it all comes back to content. Others will provide you backlinks if the link leads their site visitors to high quality, relevant content, because this simply adds value to their own website as well.
So, what can small businesses do right now?
It’s no good to concern yourself with “beating” the big businesses. It’s a different realm. But right now, you can take action to find your unique niche, figure out where to focus, and start generating amazing content. On the business side of things, just keep pumping out incredible work, service, or products. Quality always gets recognised, and by emphasising the best in everything you do, eventually customers will take notice.
Perhaps most importantly, remember this is not an overnight process. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take months or years to fully reap the rewards of your SEO practices, but in the end, the result will certainly be worth it.