Online searches have become part of consumer’s daily lives, which has led businesses to focus on various search marketing techniques to capture audience attention. Virtually all businesses regardless of industry and size have an online presence of some kind, all competing for the same few slots on SERPs.
Larger companies already start at a position of advantage owing to the large number of in-bound links, having established their online presence for much longer and attracting a loyal following of online content consumers. This would place them among top ranks for searches related to their target keywords.
In every industry, you will always find a competitor who has been around longer and who is much bigger than you are. If you are a new business hitting the Internet with limited resources and knowledge, the following are a few ways to make your SEO efforts more effective. You can still beat the giants by becoming more relevant, because that is what search engines focus on today.
Give your small business a very specific niche to focus on. You don’t need to diversify to as many areas as you can in order to gain better search visibility. For instance, if you offer general works, you can rank for queries looking for painting, cooling, heating, roofing plumbing and other home improvement works you are involved in.
However, for every category, Google and other search engines will look for the most relevant content. Targeting multiple audiences reduces the likelihood of high relevance for any specific line of work. You can instead secure higher visibility by narrowing your focus to a single and two lines of work, which target a smaller set of keywords.
- Long-tail keyword targeting
Similar to targeting a smaller niche, you can trade in low relevance for a large number of keywords in favor of high relevance for a handful of highly specific keywords. Long-tail keywords allow you to increase your high ranking potential by using keywords that have less competition. They are extended phrases, rather than the common two or three word phrases that have higher competition.
It’s much easier to rank for long-tail keywords, making it a valuable avenue for a small business to attract the smaller but more highly specific demographic of consumers. It’s also easy to optimize your site with long-tail keywords, which you can research and follow on Google Webmaster Tools. After that, create lots of high quality content around those keywords.
- Leverage location
You can also narrow your niche by location rather than line of work. The importance of local searches is increasing, meaning that it’s better to be the best salon in a small town than a good salon within the country. Even where the business exerts its presence on a large location, you can edge out competitors by focusing on one main location and optimizing for it.
Once done, focus on increasing relevance within your given location in the following ways:
- Local event presence – get actively involved in community projects e.g. town meetings, fairs and festivals. This gives you a chance to build networks and generate more business through discounts and promotions. You can also talk about the event on your online page, improving SEO. Upload high quality content optimized with specific local keywords and do a press release to earn you some high-authority quality backlinks.
- Local reviews – get your business reviewed and listed on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which is essential to improve local optimization. The Pigeon update from Google gives these sites high ranking priority, hence getting listed and garnering a large number of positive reviews increases your chances of ranking highly.
- Local content – if you are battling a larger competitor in the same city, create highly specific local content to make your page more relevant for local-based searches. Google’s algorithm is now better able to identify locales within larger cities hence you can take your keyword research and targeting even further to your specific locale within the city.
- Customize social experiences
In addition, leverage the ‘personal’ factor in the brand strategy. Every big brand sacrifices some level of personal customer care once they grow to certain levels. Being small enables you to reach out to your target audience, followers and fans and engage them on a more meaningful level. Build relationships with your social media crowd to attract even more followers, which improves your Google ranking.
- Build content authority
In order to create thought leadership and brand loyalty, you must regularly publish highly relevant, fact-rich and quality content. You can have an on-site blog, publish an e-book and distribute it, upload webinars, videos, podcasts and other content using different channels. A content strategy should be about consistency and quality.
Increase the impact of all content published by raising awareness on your social media and other locations in order to maximize ROI.