How to Beat Mega-Corporations and Rank on Page One
As a small business, the task of competing for a spot on the first page of search rankings is daunting. Giant corporations like Target or Lowe’s have not only been around for a long time, but also benefit from inbound linking from millions of sites around the internet. With an organic audience coming to them both from links and from general name recognition (as well as all the budget and resources they’ve devoted to SEM), they have a natural place at the top of the rankings.
So how can the smaller fish in the ocean of businesses in the world hope to compete with the whales of e-commerce? There’s one secret ingredient to include in your marketing strategy that will give you a real shot: Relevance. Modern search algorithms apply a large amount of attention not just to how old or how many inbound links a company has, but also to how relevant your content or product is to the searcher. Let’s dive in and discuss effective strategies for becoming more relevant to searchers.
1. Establish yourself in a niche
Many online retailers suffer from trying to appeal to too many people with too many things. Pick one thing that you can focus on, and grow yourself through those specific keywords. Make sure to select a segment of your business that is profitable, and that appeals to a large enough audience to gain traction. For example, if you run a home improvement service and offer all kinds of options like kitchen remodeling, plumbing, roofing, chimney sweeping – choose one and make it your goal to make the first page for that one item.
2. Start using long-tail keywords
This is the keyword version of establishing a niche. This focuses your SEO strategies on building relevance with longer phrases instead of short one or two keyword phrases. This makes for a smaller number of searches that will apply to you, but those who are searching will be looking for you specifically. An example of this would be focusing on a long-tail keyword like “how to restore hardwood in 1900s era home” rather than just “restoring hardwood”. The latter may have more people searching for it, but you’ll increase your relative search ranking for those using a keyword phrase like the former. Webmaster Tools is great place to start putting together a long-tail keyword plan.
3. Tie yourself to the local area
As search becomes more and more dependent on localized marketing tactics, one great way to get ahead with search is to target the audience in your immediate community. It’s much better (and easier, and more profitable) to be the best home remodel company in Columbia, MO than to be the highest ranked home remodel company in the nation.
One hugely important thing you can be doing to build yourself up in local search rankings is to create a strategy to get more online reviews. Whether these are reviews on Google, Yelp or another platform, good reviews will help you make an impression in search.
4. Be a human online.
Many large companies struggle with online and social engagement because of a loss of personality. Their brand becomes corporate and sterilized, and loses much of the character they had in their early days. As a small business, you can still be who you are personally. Make your posts show off the personality of you, your staff, and your customers. Find ways to reach out and engage with local clients and nurture your social audiences with fun content. These interactions will develop your presence in those communities as well as in search rankings.
5. Commit to a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the practice of building valuable informational marketing pieces, and essentially giving them away! This strategy may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually a highly effective way to generate high quality leads within pools of potential clients that are already looking for your services. By creating blog posts, podcasts, e-books, whitepapers, or contributing to online or print publications, you’ll be generating goodwill with your audience, as well as establishing yourself as an authority in your industry.
In the end, there are no shortcuts! All of these tactics present their own challenges. But, they will work to give you a higher search ranking, and generate more business for your company. By committing to a niche, focusing on long-tail keywords, and developing content and interactions specific to your local community, I know you can make huge improvements in your search ranking. Contact The Chase Design for help on this.