How Can Small Businesses Stay Competitive in SEO?

You might think that an SEO campaign for a small business has little room to succeed against larger competitors, because big businesses have so many resources to dedicate to their SEO efforts. Before you give up on ranking well within your industry, however, you should keep in mind the advantages that small businesses have over the big guys in the world of search marketing. In the corporate world, everything moves a little more slowly, because even the smallest changes to a marketing campaign must pass through many stages of approval before launching. Conversely, small businesses are more adaptable and flexible, so they can keep an edge in their SEO strategies. As this Whiteboard Friday presentation from Moz.com explains, the nimbleness that small businesses have in their marketing is one of the ways that they can stay competitive against their larger rivals. Keep reading for a closer look at the other advantages that small businesses can utilize in their efforts to stay relevant, fresh, and highly ranked in organic search results.

Target the strong suits of your business

Big businesses tend to cast a wide SEO net. They target broader iterations of keywords, and they will not dedicate substantial energy to focusing on any one subject area. This helps to level the playing field for small businesses, because they can specialize their content in the ways it matters most to them. Here’s how:

  • Target unique keywords – Your big competitors may always outrank you for certain keywords, but quite frankly, they will end up with a substantial amount of traffic that would not be beneficial to you. With the right keywords, you can hone in on the specific services your business offers—and pair those with relevant content—so you keep a higher proportion of site visitors who stick around because they’ve found what they’re looking for. Long-tail keywords, for example, can target more specific buyer intentions, which may be more in line with what your business can feasibly do.
  • Utilize the notoriety of bigger brands – It is possible to piggyback on the success and instant recognition of bigger brands in your own content. Writing an article comparing the services of your larger competitors is one strategy that big companies will not pursue, but it can provide potential customers with valuable information, so it’s worth putting on your own site.
  • Build personal relationships – Small businesses are relatable, and that charm can go a long way when it comes to networking. As a small business owner or marketing professional, you may be able to leverage stronger relationships with important figures in your industry, providing opportunities for backlinking, social engagement, and featured profiles on your site.
Don’t be afraid to take risks

Your bigger competitors are likely taking a conversion-first approach to their content marketing, because they are trying to maximize the number of customers they receive while driving down the human interactions needed to close each deal. Alternatively, you may find that your customers prefer a more tailored, methodical approach in which they do more research before making a purchase, receive more information about how to use your products, or engage with your brand more frequently on social media. These goals leave room for more varied types of content that your competitors likely won’t touch, and that means plenty of room for you to grow.

Avoid the drag of a corporate process

In many ways, bigger businesses can get in their own way. There may be several different departments all taking part in the same SEO goals, and each may have a unique vision for how those goals should be accomplished. In addition, it can take time for new content and campaigns to get a stamp of approval. Small businesses do not have to deal with these corporate roadblocks, and they can choose to change their strategies or try something new at any time.

Identify what makes your business stand out

The adaptability of small businesses is particularly powerful when you take the time to listen to what your customers have to say about your business. Use social media, surveys, review sites, and feedback forms to learn what it is that people love about your business and what they would like to improve. Use the positives to emphasize to potential new customers what they have to gain by doing business with you. Negative comments can shape future changes in your process and create new paths for customers to find you.

At Pennington Creative, we specialize in content marketing for small- to medium-sized businesses, because we are one! Where larger marketing companies may try to fit your business into a set SEO package, we will take the time to understand your business and collaborate with you to create a bundle of our services that works for you. It all starts with a discovery call, so contact us today to schedule a chat with our team.

About the Author

Marissa - Digital Marketing Manager, Account Services
Marissa Storrs

Digital Marketing Manager, Client Engagement

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