Small businesses struggle competing with larger competitors every day. We constantly try to compete on technology, breadth of service offerings, and options we can provide for our clients/customers. However, being successful with SEO can help guide overall success in business when competing with some big boys!
The topics are focused on SEO, but as you read through each, think about how they translate in so many other areas of marketing your business.
1. Niche Focus
Instead of trying to be everything for everyone, find a niche. You don’t have the budget to offer everything from internet, phone, security, online marketing, etc. (like AT&T), but you can be one of the best security providers or one of the best custom wood refinishing companies in your area.
FOR SEO: Niche focus allows you to narrow down the target keywords you focus on in blogs and general site content. You limited (and face it, your time is always limited) focus can be put on a select group of keywords instead of a list of 200.
2. Long-tail Keywords
Once you focus on a certain niche, you will find yourself excelling deeper into your niche. Instead of a general focus on “home improvement,” you can find yourself promoting “custom living room wood installations.” Yes, fewer people are searching for a custom wood in their living room, but those who are, typically, are ready to buy!
FOR SEO: Long-tail keyword strategies typically come from a niche focus. You will find ways to be more specific with keyword targets and content creation, because you are now focusing on a smaller subset of keywords.
3. Rule Your Location
Small businesses can’t compete on the same broad level and span of geography like a large competitor can, but that can be an advantage for the small business. The larger competitor has to spread our staff, marketing, and budgets across many other areas, not just where you compete. You can focus your efforts and budget on your location.
FOR SEO: The search engines have long given preference to local businesses. You must optimize for your location, but a localized, niche focus is highly relevant when a buyer is searching for your product/service.
4. Event Attendance and Community Relationships
This piggy-backs on #3, but it extends the local focus off of the web. One of the first benefits of local event attendance/sponsorship is the community relationships. As you focus primarily on a certain area, members of that community get to know you. Local events give you offline attention and brand-awareness, and it gives you online opportunities.
FOR SEO: If you sponsor an event, you typically get a logo, and hopefully a link, on the event website. Take advantage of this link for external link-building. Next, think about post-coverage on your website and press releases. Local keywords will naturally be used because of the localized nature of the event, and you are related to that since you were a sponsor and in attendance.
5. Personalized Social Media
Social media has been an element of a successful SEO campaign for quite some time, and we see social media successes for all types of businesses. The benefit you have as a smaller business versus the big-box company is personality and localization. You can be more personal, because you have a smaller focus and know more people in your target area.
FOR SEO: Since social media is an important element of SEO, you have to use it in some way. There are many different approaches to social media, but using localized content and keywords in your social efforts ties niche and location-based keywords back to your company for ranking purposes.
6. Staying in Front of Trends
If your business is truly focusing on a certain niche, you have the ability of learning new techniques, new buzzwords, and other associated trends that your larger competitor may be slow to discover.
FOR SEO: The search engines, especially Google, are all about relevancy. In fact, examine Google’s Trends tool, and can see where an “industry-accepted” term has less searches than a new topic. Searchers want to find the company who understands all of the latest and greatest, and a hyper-focused company like yours will know all about it and can be there in the rankings.
7. Link-Building Opportunities
You probably notice a pattern here from one point to the next. Because you are focused on a niche and locality, you begin to build relationships online and offline that will lead you to link and content opportunities. Using these relationships to get your content shared, company featured, or services reviewed can go a long way in competing with not only the big boys but any competitor.
FOR SEO: Link-building is one of the most challenging parts of SEO. Everyone has a different opinion on the hows and whats of link-building, but one thing will always be true. Real links back to your website because of a review or company feature are what the search engines really want in order to prove credibility. Links from sites that don’t have a habit of selling links outweigh those that are sold!
Reviews are finding their ways deep into the search engine algorithms, which makes them increasingly important. The more positive reviews the better visibility. Naturally, the more positive reviews, the more new prospects will trust your company when trying you out for the first time. Reviews are hard to get, but your niche focus and local-based strategy will lend itself to obtaining more reviews than the big guys.
FOR SEO: Search engine optimization isn’t just about shoving a bunch of keywords into your website title and page content. SEO has grown to incorporate much more, and reviews are very important in this growth of ranking factors. Utilize your unique and niche position to find raving fans who are more than happy to leave you a review on your social channels and business directory profiles. These go a long way, especially in the decision-making process of a new prospect.
All small businesses struggle with competing with the much-larger competitor. We feel we have to compete on all of their service offerings and area of coverage. However, the internet and search engines are showing us there is another way. Because you can get in front of so many people online, reach such a deeper target audience, and ultimately, sell to hyper-focused customers, you can compete with any number of companies.
Take a stab at a few of these tips, but I recommend you consider #1 as the highest priority.
What are some ways your small business takes on the big boys?