Inventive SEO for small businesses: 3 ways to take on the big guys
Although on the surface it may seem like there’s only one set of SEO rules, pushing your site’s standing further looks different as a small business than as a major corporation. There’s the issue of scale, of course – the big guys have seemingly endless budgets for SEO and other marketing functions while your small business might handle SEO from your home laptop – but sometimes, scale works in your favor as well.
As a small business, you have the opportunity to run more finely calibrated SEO campaigns and use your close relationship with customers to your advantage. Here are 3 ways your small business can beat the big guys at their own game. You might be surprised how much being small works to your company’s benefit.
#1: Taking The Long Way Around
The reality is that you can’t compete with big businesses on the major keywords – whether that’s athletic wear or email platforms or printing services. Where you can dominate, however, is in the specifics. Take a closer look at your company and name your niche. Maybe you make “sustainably sourced bamboo clothing” rather than just t-shirts or even bamboo t-shirts. Once you can name your niche clearly, you also have a long-tail keyword phrase to focus on.
Long-tail keywords are several word phrases rather than just a word or two that can help you stand out from the bigger competitors who are focused on dominating the main term or two. These longer terms should be incorporated naturally for maximum benefit. Clunky add-ins stick out and cause more harm than good.
#2: Superior Social Media Strategies
Everyone is using social media as part of their marketing and SEO – it produces more accounts for your business and generates links – but as a small business you have the opportunity to use your social media presence differently. One way to really personalize your presence is by tagging or featuring loyal customers or prize winners on your account. By naming specific individuals, you make it more likely that they’ll share your page and posts with friends and family, and there’s no better way to increase your popularity.
Also, don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website. It’s important to keep movement between your formal site and social networks fluid and this helps customers share and shift between the two.
#3: The Power Of Local Language
Whether your company is only located in a small town or you have branches in several areas (or even if your presence is exclusively online), using local language can help improve your SEO standing. Google is currently very enthusiastic about local SEO and using local tie-ins allows this major search engine to connect people in the area to your business.
If your business is primarily online, it doesn’t mean you can’t play the local SEO game…you just have to be creative. Run some blogs that acknowledge the special benefits your business can offer to people in a certain area – can you provide web support for small businesses that want a more personalized touch? Target small but thriving towns that place a special emphasis on community and be sure to namedrop these towns. If you’ve successfully worked with clients in a particular area, featuring these clients is another way to make your local SEO more relevant.
Remember that the concept of relevance and authority changes when you shift to a local SEO approach. Local SEO is bolstered by other links from the community. Don’t be afraid to feature relevant links because they might be considered “low authority.” If they tie you to a specific community, these links actually improve the authority of your site and can benefit your ranking.
SEO doesn’t have to be exclusively the territory of big business – there are plenty of ways small companies can get in on the game. But to really succeed, you’ll have to take a more nuanced approach to the ranking. Know who you are, what you do, and stay connected to your customers.
These are the keys to SEO success for the smaller business.