Let’s be honest – small businesses are typically considered the underdog when it comes to local SEO. They’re often outspent and outnumbered by businesses who have an endless arsenal of resources. With almost every business competing for those precious few spots on top of the search engine results page (SERPs), competing with multi-million dollar marketing campaigns may seem impossible. So how do small businesses go head to head against mega-corporations? Fortunately, we’re here to lay it all out for you.
1. Specialize in a Niche
Depending on your competition and resources, it may be difficult to dominate for multiple niches on Google. Although you may want to cover as many areas of your expertise as possible, specializing in a niche is one of the best things you can do to take down your competitors. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, focus on being a small company that’s best capable of meeting a specific demographics needs. This can be achieved by pouring your efforts into a small handful of keywords. Although your business may offer several products and services, there should be one product or service that your business is known for. For example, if you focus on heating and air, you may be missing out on other home improvement keywords, but you’ll be the authority in heating and air. The more niche you are, the less competitors you’ll face.
2. Target Long-Tail Keywords
After identifying and establishing your niche, it’s time to focus on a keyword strategy. Forget about getting loads of traffic from the most obvious keywords. Instead, focus on longer and more specific phrases that point to a specific product, service, or question. These hyper-targeted phrases are known as ‘long-tail keywords.’ For example:
Head term: SEO
Long-Tail Keywords offer several benefits:
Higher Conversion Rates – Short and generic keywords can often return results that are irrelevant to the searcher and less conversion-likely. On the other hand, visitors coming from specific search terms are more likely to convert into customers because they tend to be further along in the buying cycle. In short, the more focused your marketing is, the better your leads.
Less Competition – Long-tail keywords generate less searches, and as a result, are less competitive. Even though these more specific terms may bring in less traffic, they can be more valuable for small businesses to go after.
Easier Rankings – It’s easy to get caught up with ranking for highly competitive keywords. However, ranking for long-tail keywords is much easier and more beneficial than ranking for short generic keywords. You’ll achieve maximum relevance in a smaller volume of topics.
Optimizing your site for long-tail keywords is easier than it looks. You can use Google Keyword Plannner to research ideal keywords and phrases to go after. Then, start publishing a ton of great content.
3. Provide Valuable Content
Brand loyalty is a staple in every successful marketing campaign. It requires providing rich and consistent content. A steady stream of high-quality content on your website shows your customers that your company is a valuable and credible resource. Maximize your return on investment and become a recognized, authoritative content publisher by investing more effort and time into a single piece of content than any other large brand.
When creating a high quality content piece, consider using:
Longer Content – More and more small businesses are investing their time and talents on lengthier content. Stop creating brief, vague, and pointless pages. If you want to compete with the big boys, you must be willing to write a ton of in-depth, informational content. Think 1,000+ word blogs. Your audience (and Google) will love you for it.
Image and Video – With billions of new content being generated online every day, brands need to be more creative than ever. Including a powerful image or video in blogs, emails, and other written content can attract new customers and motivate them to act. The best thing about images is that they can be used to bring in organic traffic. But first, they need to be optimized correctly. Install the WP-SmushIt plugin to cut down your load time. The plugin compresses your images without sacrificing quality.
Outbound and Inbound links – As the cornerstone of SEO, local link building is absolutely necessary in order for your business to succeed online. It requires hard work, determination, and time to perfect. Don’t know where to begin? Fortunately, we lay out effective ways to build SEO links for your local business here.
4. Leverage Local Relationships
In addition to the element of high-quality content and link building, small businesses have the advantage of local relationships and partnerships. Mega-corporations will never be able to invest in these types of relationships because of their size. Here are a handful of strategies you can use to build local relationships.
Community Building – Get your name out there by attending community events, including conferences, festivals, meetings, etc. Go even further by sponsoring the local event to get brand recognition. Then, get networking.
Local Reviews – When it comes to SEO, people tend to focus heavily on websites. But let’s not forget the power of social proof. As an essential part of SEO, positive reviews may provide people with the extra push they need. Sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, CitySearch, and SuperPages are a great place to start building citations and rank in the positive reviews.
Social Media – This is another great way to foster personal relationships. Believe it or not, social media marketing and SEO are two interwoven strategies. Not only does social networking provide further social proof, but it can also help build links which improves rankings.
There’s no shortcut when it comes to rising to the top of the search engines, especially when you’re going up against the big boys. It’s a process. But if you start taking advantage of your nimbleness and locality, you’ll be able to achieve the results you want.
If you’d like to get help your local SEO, click here to give us a call and schedule a free strategy session to see if we’re a good fit.