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Small But Mighty: Tips for Competing with Big Companies on SEO

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Small But Mighty: Tips for Competing with Big Companies on SEO

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Small But Mighty: Tips for Competing with Big Companies on SEO

Small businesses face a significant challenge when it comes to competing with big companies on SEO.

Big companies have more resources, bigger budgets, and established brand recognition, which gives them a natural advantage in SEO, as it does in other areas of marketing and digital. However, this doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t compete and succeed.

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In fact, SEO is one area where small businesses are often able to overcome the big players. While a small local store isn’t going to rank higher than a major household name for popular products, they might be able to compete on particular niche search areas, including local search or for specialist products.

Doing this successfully is partly down to having the right strategies and knowledge, and partly down to having (or being able to grow) a loyal customer base who can provide you with plenty of the online credibility that Google loves.

Understanding the Importance of SEO for Small Businesses

SEO, or search engine optimization, is crucial for small businesses. It’s the primary way for you to increase your online visibility and attract more customers. And while it’s not the only way, the other options (such as Google ads and social media), are expensive, time-consuming or both.

It might be that you started your business before the online marketing explosion. And so you’ve developed systems (such as referrals and word of mouth) that means you don’t need to get all your work online. Or it might be that you have a business (like a bricks and mortar store) that means you don’t have to rely solely on online.

But even if one of these applies to you, your customers are online. And if you’re not visible, you’re almost certainly losing out on revenue, even if you don’t realise it.

By implementing an effective SEO strategy, you could improve their chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) dramatically, driving more organic traffic to your website. This means more visibility, more leads, and ultimately, more sales.

But what does an SEO strategy actually look like? And is it really possible to win at SEO if you’re trying to compete with much bigger brands than yours?

These are the steps we use at Traffic Radius to get great results fast for our small business clients.

Identify Your Niche and Target Audience

One of the first steps in competing with big companies on SEO is to identify your niche and target audience.
Big companies often have a broad target audience, which makes it difficult for them to create content that resonates with everyone. They can counter this to an extent with a bigger budget, that gives them the ability to experiment with more generalised content, and also to produce multiple pieces of highly targeted content. But this isn’t always credible.

As a small business, you may be more naturally niched and specialised. For example, you might be a local toy shop specialising in wooden toys. Whereas a big online toy store will sell toys like yours, but they’ll sell everything else too, to anyone. If the big toy shop starts creating lots of content about wooden toys, they’ll get customers, but they’re not likely to be as appealing than a specialist local shop.

Even if you don’t have a natural specific niche, you have the advantage of flexibility. So if you choose to focus your marketing on a niche and cater to a specific target audience, you can.

This makes SEO much easier and more effective as you can create relevant and engaging content that speaks directly to their needs and interests. You’re likely to be working in an area in which there’s less competition, so you can rise up the results pages faster. And by being niched, you can create a reputation for your business in that area, which you can build on to broaden your appeal later.

Conducting Keyword Research and Analysis

Keyword research and analysis are essential for small businesses to identify the right keywords to target in their SEO efforts. It can feel like a confusing minefield, but it’s not as complex or hard as it might sound.

Keywords are simply the words and phrases that people type into search engines when looking for information, products, or services. So if you’re a carpet fitter from Melbourne, people will probably find you by searching the words ‘Carpet fitter in Melbourne’ for example.

That’s the easy part. The more complex bit comes when you’re trying to differentiate yourself from all the other carpet fitters in Melbourne, and the big companies who will have the budget to try and override your SEO efforts.

For example, a national carpet fitting chain might pay for Google ads that appear whenever someone searches for ‘carpet fitter in Melbourne’, carpet fitter in Sydney’ carpet fitter in Brisbane’ and so on. So even though they’re not actually a local company, they get the clicks over those that are.

One way to overcome this is to also target more specific or specialist keywords. For example, you might be more likely to convert people who don’t want to use a national company, so you create content that includes keywords around why using a local firm is a better choice for fitting your carpet.

And you can also focus on your niche or any specialist services you have, particularly if they’re things your bigger competitors don’t offer or don’t do well. For example, you might be an expert in fitting boat carpets, and be able to write content around that.

There are several tools available that can help you conduct keyword research and analysis, such as Uber Suggest. Most of the better ones can be fairly costly to subscribe to, but you can often experiment for free before you commit. We have subscriptions to the major tools at Traffic Radius to use with our clients.

It’s pretty much impossible to do keyword research without access to tools. They provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and related keywords. They allow you to identify high-value keywords that have a good balance of search volume and competition. And it’s these keywords that are likely to bring you the most SEO success.

Create High-Quality Content that Resonates with Your Audience

Getting found on search is the first part of the battle. But it’s only the first part. Because there’s little value in getting people to visit your site only to find that they are turned off by poor quality content. If they are, they’re likely to leave fast, meaning your bounce rate increases. That’s bad for your SEO performance and will help undo your hard work.

High-quality content not only improves engagement but also increases social shares and attracts more backlinks. All of these factors contribute to improved SEO performance too.

When creating content, it’s important to focus on providing value to your audience. This means creating content that is informative, relevant, and engaging. By addressing the pain points and needs of your target audience, you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche and attract more organic traffic.

Backlinks are crucial for small businesses to improve their SEO performance. A backlink is a link from another website to your website. Search engines consider backlinks as a vote of confidence in your content, which can help to increase your domain authority and improve your search engine rankings.

Building a strong backlink profile takes time and effort. It involves reaching out to other websites in your niche and asking them to link to your content.

You can also create high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks from other websites. If people love what you write, they’re much more likely to want to share and link to it. There’s no extra effort involved on your part, beyond creating the content in the first place.

While people might be more likely to link to content from big companies as they assume it’s credible, they’ll often be really happy to find a hidden gem from a small company and be please to link to and share it. And your audience might well assume you’re a bigger business than you are if they see your content linked elsewhere.

Leverage Social Media

Social media can play a significant role in improving your SEO performance and is a brilliant and fun way to compete with bigger brands. People share things that interest them, and often don’t much care who the creator is. If your content resonates, they’ll share and comment on it, regardless of how big you are.

By leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, and attract more backlinks. Essentially, social media can help support all your other efforts.

To make social media work for SEO, keep your focus on creating engaging and shareable content. This can include blog posts, infographics and videos – but think about what will work best and resonate most with your target audience.

Optimise Your Website for Mobile Devices

This is crucial and it’s a point that many small businesses forget about, or don’t realise they need to do. Whereas most bigger businesses are pretty good at mobile optimisation.

Given that around 60% of searches are on mobile, if your website is not optimised for mobile devices, you’re missing out on a significant amount of potential customers. It could be lower for your business (for example, if you’re B2B or your customer base is older than average). But any business will have a significant chunk of mobile searches.

Your website might already be mobile optimised, especially if it’s relatively recent, depending on the platform that you or your designer used to create it.

If it’s not, then you’ll need support to create a responsive website design that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions. When we take on a new SEO client, this is one of the things we check and fix.

How to Monitor and Measure Your SEO Performance

Image keywords: SEO Performance Monitor, SEO Reports, SEO Metrics
Monitoring and measuring your SEO performance is crucial. It’s how you identify areas for improvement and optimise your strategy.

Here’s how we do this – and you can too (most of these are freely available tools).

  • Use Google Analytics:

    Integrate Google Analytics with your website to track important metrics such as organic traffic, bounce rate, average session duration, and conversion rates. This will provide insights into how users are interacting with your site.

  • Google Search Console:

    Set up Google Search Console to monitor your site’s performance on Google search. It provides information on search queries, click-through rates, and more. Use it to identify keywords that drive traffic and optimise your content accordingly.

  • Keyword rankings and backlinks:

    Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and others can help you track your rankings for specific keywords over time and monitor backlinks.

With regular monitoring, you can identify areas where you’re losing potential customers and make the necessary changes to improve your search rankings and conversion rates.

You Can Compete with Big Companies on SEO

While big companies may have more resources, small businesses are able to compete. SEO is a key way to level the business playing field.

Remember that you have all the same tools available to you as any big company. You’re able to do all the same analyses as they are. While you may lack budget and time in comparison, you’re able to take advantage of your niche or specialist services.

This doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s very possible.

Get in touch if you’d like to see how other small businesses have thrived after overhauling their SEO, even if they have heavyweight competitors.

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