Big businesses may have the advantage over smaller ones because they are more established and may have a larger website (more content). However, this does not necessarily mean small businesses will be left in the dust. There are many small businesses that have out-ranked larger ones. Why? Because they have targeted the correct keywords, created engaging and relevant content, and paid attention to what their clients demand!
There is a lot of competition for the best keywords. For example, a bakery will have trouble competing with other bakeries by using ‘baked goods’ as their keyword. They are just too established. The larger companies have thousands of rands and a larger workforce to spend on SEO, giving them an advantage here. As a result it will take a long time for a small business to rank in the top 5 for this keyword. But all is not lost for ‘the little guys’. Make way for KEYWORD PHRASES. The big answer for little companies!
What are keyword phrases and how can they help?
These are sentences with keywords in them, and they get thousands of hits per month. Using our bakery example, instead of adding just the keyword ‘bakes’ one could say ‘top quality baked goods’ or ‘gourmet baked goods’. Be creative and brainstorm what you offer. Don’t stick with what you know, but rather what your clients are looking for.
The reason you can topple big businesses with phrases is because Google ranks webpages, not the entire website. They are not going to give a high rank to a website just because it’s big. They are looking for a specific webpage query that returns exact results. Remember, your website is made up of webpages and if you have good keyword phrases for each webpage, you are going to rank higher. Don’t forget that your content needs to relate to those keyword phrases, and don’t just pop them in randomly so that they don’t make sense. Your content still has to make sense and be relevant. Refer to our article on ‘Content is King’.
The star of high rankings: Backlinks
Backlinks are also hugely important if you want to outrank your competitors. People need those links for your content to be promoted, and Google uses these links to look at the quality of your webpage. Don’t forget to have backlinks that are of a good quality. Backlinks to ‘dodgy’ or irrelevant websites can damage your business, and Google will not believe you are an authentic website. A study has shown that a small business website needs to gain 10-30% more links from 3rd party websites in comparison to their larger competitors.
So reach out to people who are linking to your page by building relationships with them. They are probably really interested in your content. They also don’t need a big business to link to, but rather content that is relevant to their business. It is a win-win situation – in the end you are helping each other.
Look for websites that are:
• Related to your business
• May require your business
• Are in touch with social media
• Are happy to engage on a personal level with you
This does not need to take money, but it does take time. Be patient and use your best resources in your company to do this.
Make your company unique
A great way to topple big businesses on the World Wide Web is to have your company offer unique products or services. Larger companies may have clout, but do they offer something unique and valuable to the consumer? Let us use the bakery example again. Do you offer low-fat or full-fat ingredients? Are your products organic? Do you deliver? All of these small things can make a big difference to your average consumer. Banting products are all the rage now, think of something that the larger companies can’t offer, but you can. In this way you will definitely outnumber them with unique keyword phrases, and ultimately a better service.
To sum up how to topple big businesses:
• Use keyword phrases as well as keywords
• Brainstorm unique keyword phrases
• Make sure your content is distinctive and well written
• Get personal to get great backlinks
• Offer something unique that you as a small business can have a competitive advantage
• Get active on social media
We hope that by now, after Part 6 on our topic of ‘Your Small Business Guide to SEO’ you are well on your way to making BIG money! Following these guidelines with patience and care and some of your own research will guarantee success in making Google your friend. Our last topic will be on ‘The Pros and Cons of doing SEO In-house’ where we will tackle costs, time and skills in order to achieve this.