Building an SEO optimized website is an excellent way for a small business to gain visibility. But how do you outrank big competitors and make sure your site can be found? Read on for expert SEO and content marketing advice.
How to Compete with Big-Budget Companies
If you're a newly established company, it may seem impossible to compete with industry leaders in your space. But it's not! A recent Moz article offers five SEO tactics small businesses can leverage to be competitive. Let's take a closer look.
Identify the right keywords
Optimize your site content using keywords your big competitors are unwilling to bid on. How do you find good keyword opportunities?
Though not an exhaustive list, Moz gives three examples. You can look for long-tail keywords with moderate-to-low traffic, use keywords that focus on competitor brands, and focus on content topics competitors avoid because they could damage brand relationships.
For example, Moz says, "Expedia has business relationships with a lot of different hotels. Therefore, it is not in their interest to rank hotels in a particular locale from 1 to 10 or from 1 to 100. As a small website, you don't have that constraint, and you can go after those types of keywords that your bigger competitors bias against doing, and that can be very powerful..."
If you're new to keyword research and are unsure where to start, check out this handy how-to guide.
Target a very specific niche
Knowing your audience is a critical element of any successful marketing strategy - but it's especially important when it comes to SEO. By knowing your audience and understanding what problems and questions they have, you can optimize your content in a way that helps you reach your target customer.
For small businesses, the more granular you get, the better. Moz uses Travelocity - a company that focuses broadly on all things travel - as an example. They suggest a smaller competitor would be well-served focusing their marketing on a specific niche. For example, focusing content and SEO on city-specific destinations that are popular among target leads.
Go after harder-to-monetize content
Though a direct path to purchase may lead to more immediate sales, an indirect path to purchase can help you establish your brand as a thought leader. Content and SEO can also result in better brand visibility and engagement.
Spend your time creating SEO optimized content and assets that help your ideal lead. Blogging regularly can be an excellent way to accomplish this. Use content to answer your target lead's questions, share customer stories, offer free downloads - and above all, offer quality content that's helpful and informative.
Your ultimate goal should be to give people a reason to like and trust your brand. Doing so may mean it takes longer to convert, but it also means your lead is more likely to tell their friends and family about how great your brand is. As an added bonus, the more optimized content you produce, the faster your organic traffic will grow!
Provide more value with content
The real key here is to focus on quality over quantity. There are a handful of big brands that do content really well, but a majority of them just scratch the surface.
Be deliberate with your topics, make sure all your posts are well-researched and well-written, avoid fluff, use personality, and make people want to keep reading. Make it a goal to drive engagement by publishing content that's so good; readers won't be able to resist sharing it.
Do Your Own Research
Don't hire a consultant to interview sources and leads, do it yourself! One of the biggest benefits of being a small business is that you, personally, can develop valuable relationships.
Talk to your potential customers, find out what questions they have, and get invaluable insight. And if you're blogging, talk to people who have first-hand experience and use their stories to create irresistible content.
Take advantage of the freedoms that make owning a small business great, and create a level of authenticity that big companies can only dream of.
Ultimately, success lies in developing a thoughtful keyword strategy and focusing on quality and authenticity over quantity. Do these things, and you'll be outranking your big competitors in no time!
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