If you are starting or have already started a small business, trying to draw attention away from the big brands in your field can feel like a continuous and sometimes impossible uphill battle.
Giant companies that are already so well-known and popular that they dominate every conversation do have weaknesses, however.
Not only are more and more customers starting to prefer the personalized attention they get when working with small businesses, small businesses are often able to offer better services at a better price, because they have lower overhead and fewer middle men.
If your small business is going up against a giant, here are ten ways you can use SEO to get ahead:
1. Make sure your content is focused on your niche.
One of the biggest challenges of competing with a big company is the inability for small businesses to offer as many services in as many niches as big businesses can.
Instead of trying to suck away all of their traffic by being as general as possible, start tailoring your content to be as niche-specific as possible.
Big businesses have to keep their content generalized to attract generalized traffic.
If your content is more specific and valuable to your niche, you are more likely to be able to rise through the search results and get a good ranking in results where your specialized knowledge will be more valuable than that big company’s general content.
2. Make sure your keyword plan includes a long-tail strategy.
This will help you with your goal of niche specialization.
Because long-tail keywords, while eliminating much of your potential to be ranked in generalized search results, make it much more likely to achieve a high ranking in specialized search results.
General keywords give you only a limited ranking ability in any set of search results.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, give you the ability to achieve a higher ranking in, yes, a small number of searches, but in higher-value searches.
3. Don’t forget to optimize for your local area.
Google still gives preference to local businesses in geo-targeted search results, so don’t shy away from mentioning where you are where you do business, even if you are able to provide your products and services to the entire country or globe.
Leverage local review directories and get involved with your community so your name shows up more and more related to your local area.
Don’t be afraid to make your content location-specific, too.
While you might want to keep things more general if you do offer your goods and services to international customers and clients, having at least some content that talks about your local area can help you beat out big business in your immediate vicinity.
4. Make sure your social media interactions are speedy and personalized.
One of the biggest advantages a small business has over a big business is the time and ability to answer questions, comments, and concerns voiced on your social media pages in a personal way.
Customers will love knowing there is a human behind your brand name.
Big businesses usually do not have the same opportunity to get personal with their customers or clients, which can mean much higher social signals for your small business—which is ideal for SEO.
5. Make sure your blog is authoritative and useful.
There’s nothing better than having a blog that is full of interesting and helpful information—this can be a huge attention grabber and a great way to set yourself apart from big businesses who do not think that they need the same level of authority or consistency in their content.
Additionally, be willing to guest blog as often as possible, to help spread your name and message.
6. Make sure your website is in top SEO shape.
If it’s been a while since you did a SEO audit, now is the time.
Make sure that your website is free of any black hat techniques and that all of your content is accurate and valuable for readers.
7. Leverage popular content.
If you have a social media or blog post that has been popular in the past, you can leverage that content again, this time in an attempt to make it viral.
Nothing can help a small business compete with a large one like viral content.
Whether it was something controversial, funny, or just extremely helpful, revisit that content, update it, and start marketing it.
8. Make sure content marketing is the focus of your SEO campaign.
Yes, having keyword-rich website content is important, but nothing will bring you more traffic and help suck attention away from big businesses like a consistent and valuable content marketing strategy.
Once your website is built and your webpage content is posted, it’s time to turn your focus to creating high-value, readable, genuinely relevant content for your blog.
This gives your website a personal touch and gives potential customers, clients, or patients an insight into your business—something that they will rarely be given by a big company.
9. Focus on linking to juicy websites.
Having great content is an awesome start.
You also want to make sure you are borrowing juice from other authoritative websites in order to help establish your authority.
While you probably don’t want to link to your competitors, link to hubs and other locations that improve your website’s trust ranking.
10. Realize that Daniel defeated Goliath.
It can feel like an impossible uphill battle to go up against a big business in the search results.
The truth is, however, that these big businesses cannot possible cover every keyword and every niche satisfactorily.
This leaves plenty of chinks in their armor.
Leveraging these weaknesses makes it possible to get a great search engine ranking in niches and for keywords that those big businesses couldn’t dream of covering as well as your small business can.