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How do small companies compete with bigger rivals? It’s a commonly asked question by smaller businesses who are trying to remain competitive in an ever changing market. We discuss how you can use SEO to help level the playing field with your larger, deeper-pocketed SERP competition.

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How to Compete with Big Companies using SEO

A big problem smaller companies face when competing for real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs), is bigger organisations dominating. However, both smaller and larger companies in this situation, have different advantages which can help them make grounds in different ways.

For smaller companies, it’s good to be aware of the advantages larger companies hold, so you know your competition. Some of these advantages include:

  • Their budget

A bigger site is likely to have a bigger budget to focus on overtaking any SEO competition. This means they have the resources to push a lot of areas of their sites at once using multiple forms of digital marketing.

  • Brand image

Big companies have often spent huge amounts of time, money and other resources on building their brand so that it is instantly recognisable, trusted and sought after. This improves the click-through rate in SERPs, as well as encouraging people to seek out the brand in a brand search. In addition to these advantages, Google tends to favour established brands in search because it knows people are already seeking them out.

  • Domain authority

Sites that have been going longer and have historic value in their domain have a much higher domain authority and are seen as more authoritative and trustworthy.

  • Link profile

Bigger sites (Amazon, for example) are likely to have far more links from a broader range of sources than a small independent shop and consequently have a much stronger link profile.

  • Trustworthiness

Using Amazon as an example again, often people are more likely to visit them over a smaller business online, as they have a long history of being a trusted brand that can be relied on.

  • Ability to act fast

A bigger, higher budget site has the resources to quickly react to events and stay on-trend.

Advantages of Smaller Businesses

Team working around a Table

Although the cards held by larger companies can seem daunting, small businesses have a lot of advantages they can use to compete with their bigger rivals:

  • Agile

Smaller businesses can move quickly and easily through frequent reassessment and adaption of plans when necessary! This means that smaller businesses are able to get impressive amounts of work done as they can avoid the many layers of management that larger businesses face to get concepts approved.

  • Authenticity

Although a smaller brand may have a smaller audience, they can focus on attracting their very specific niche through being truly authentic. This, in turn, will help build brand awareness and positive brand associations.

  • Passion

As a small company ourselves, we can safely say that successful small businesses have no shortage of passion! The type of people who work for a small business are motivated by a deep love for what they do, so they will invest in their customers.

  • Custom approach

Smaller businesses are able to take the time to actively listen to their customer base and develop a solution that’s perfect for their potential customers. Large businesses tend to have a “one size fits all” outlook with regards to their services, and small businesses can use this to their advantage and overcome their larger branded SEO competition!

How do Small Companies Compete with Bigger Rivals?

Team Working around Table with Laptops and Notepads

What seems like big, almost insurmountable issues could put some businesses off investing too much time into their SEO strategy – but should that be the case? We think it shouldn’t! Here are some great SEO techniques for you to try so you can rank higher than your SERP competition:

1. Focus on local

Targeting a local market can help out with the way your business is portrayed in search results. Regardless of whether you operate on a national level, you can still work on local SEO to beat your SEO competition in that area.

2. Develop your niche and focus on it

This is the crucial one and the underpinning philosophy which should drive all of your marketing. You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t take on a big company across all of their business areas, so focus on a small area or niche market that you do well, and your bigger competitors don’t do quite so well.

Then, work really hard on becoming the key player in that niche. Taking on rivals by focusing on this niche of your business will help you gain traction, which can ultimately be leveraged into other areas or niches. Say, for example, that your business offers a bespoke service that makes it different from a bigger business selling similar off the shelf products, or you offer a particularly great service to a specific demographic within your market. Then, emphasising this can help you to build a niche online service around it.

3. Make use of long-tail keywords

This is a case of being more realistic with who you want to be facing for your SERP competition and focusing on the less common keywords that have high volumes of searches and are difficult to rank for. So, rather than “shoes”, you could aim for “winter shoes buying guide” as a keyword to be found for.

4. Make social more personal

This clearly depends on what it is your business does as to how much people will interact with you – for example, a boutique-style shop may have more people wanting to engage than say an engineering company. However, if you are engaged with your customers, you can help your website’s ability to be found by potential customers. You can get important links back to your site, as well as a reputation for being personable and helpful.

5. Become an authority

A lot of bigger brands have sprawling sites packed with product. However, they can often miss the chance to be an authority on subjects. A smaller business can jump on this, creating well-informed, accessible written and, perhaps, video content on the industry and related topics that can help make you an authority against your SERP competition. This also significantly helps with the niche and long-tail ideas already mentioned.

How to Compete with Big Companies – Zelst’s Digital Growth Services

At Zelst, we specialise in developing unique digital growth strategies, which will make a website a leader in their marketplace, as a number of these case studies illustrate.

In this construction industry example, by developing a carefully thought out digital strategy, well-executed keyword research, contentoutreach (which achieved prominent positioning in key industry journals), a laser targeted PPC campaign and painstaking technical optimisation, our client became far more visible than their size would suggest for big keyword terms within their industry.

Alongside this, by creating content in a field where information had previously been scarce, this allowed our client to become the leading authority in their field. Also, in conjunction with all of our other strategic digital marketing activities, enabled the company to become the undisputed market leader within their sector, pushing aside much larger operators.

If you have any more questions regarding SEO competition and how to compete with big companies, please visit our SEO information page. At Zelst, we believe that smaller organisations can compete with larger organisations in search by using SEO and developing unique, bespoke strategies to achieve this. If you want your company to be more prominent in the SERPs and your marketplace, then contact Zelst today!