8 Ways Small Businesses Can Stay Competitive using SEO

Running a business is never easy.

“I started a couple of small businesses in the past but always struggled to generate traffic, leads and ultimately sell my products” - This can be the worst nightmare for any new business.

SEO isn’t dead, for sure, and it can generate quality traffic and leads for your services. But can SEO for small businesses ever capitalize on this vast potential when there are so many big fish in the market?

Small businesses face two problems - one, most businesses have an online presence and are competing for more of it; two, large companies invest more and more in online strategies, which give them far better rankings.

These two parameters make it difficult, if not impossible, for small businesses with limited resources to compete with the reputed brands. However, they can compete with larger corporations if they use the following strategies:

1. Choose Specific Niche/Products and Specialize in them.

As a small business, it’s important to find your place as this will give you a specific focus. You can get much higher-visibility online if you specialize in a few key areas which can give you relevance for specific keywords.

In short, it’s better to be a specialist than a generalist. This can reduce the competition you’re up against and enhance your relevance for your specific niche area. Eventually, you’ll work with a low search volume, but consequently, you will rank faster on search engines and become more relevant for your customers.

2. Give your online reputation a lot of importance.

Once you gain a considerable amount of visibility, it’s highly likely that people are already talking about your business online. And this is what you want.

After all, when you start with an SEO campaign, you are making sure that people find all your official information when they perform a search on you and don’t lose themselves in a multitude of reviews.

3. Use long-tailed keywords

Start using long-tailed keywords that are specific to your business. These are beneficial for you as they give low search volume and correspondingly low competition. By using these keywords, your site can be ranked depending on how focused they are on your business.

Modify your keyword marketing strategy so that they include long-tailed keywords too. It is easier for you to rank highly using long-tailed keywords rather than for two- or three-word keywords, even if you get less traffic.

Despite this, it is well worth pursuing for small businesses like yours. And lastly, optimizing for long-tailed keywords is relatively easy. You can put up a lot of content on your site using long-tailed keywords which should appear naturally in your articles.

4. Make your site easy to navigate.

Internet users are spoiled a lot, and they know if they don’t get a memorable experience on any one site, they can always get it on another. So, they will leave your site at the first instance and move perhaps to your competitors.

Don’t allow this to happen. You can do this by offering them a really good quality experience of using your site.

5. Rank high on local searches

One sure-shot way of beating the competition is to target your local audience and create a niche for yourself locally. It’s important these days to be more relevant in local searches, so aim for a high ranking there. For advice on this, speak to a local SEO company.

For instance, it would help your business a lot to be known as the “best auto garage in Ottawa” rather than the 15th in Ottawa. Whatever ranking your business captures nationally, if it gets a good slice of the local market, it means you’ve edged out your local competition by optimizing for it. This will bring in relevant traffic to your site.

6. Leverage your personal brands

It helps to use your personal brands to push your site’s visibility rather than corporate brands. For one, they’re more trustworthy, and two, they stand a better chance of being published by offsite publishers. If you use your personal brands apart from your local business, you’ll get an additional deluge of traffic and extra visibility for your corporate brand.

For best results, use your key leadership as your personal brands and make them visible through content they generate on social media platforms. Next, link those personal brands to your core corporate brand and see how much traffic that generates.

7. Set yourself up as an authority on your niche business area

By generating high-quality content, set yourself up as an authority on your niche business subject. Use this route to build loyalty, awareness, trust and credibility to your brand. Start a blog on your company site, or you might choose to distribute e-books on certain aspects of your business, or even create podcasts, webinars and videos and distribute them through the relevant channels.

8. Use local publishers to build up your reputation.

To be known locally, use local publishers to build up your reputation. So, have a column in the local papers, or set up a blog or join a forum where you can discuss people’s problems. This will give you the visibility you need at this stage of your business growth. The more connected you are with local developments, the more search visibility you will get.


So, you can see that setting up a business is no child’s play. There’s no shortcut to business success, particularly if you want to top search engine rankings in the face of massive competition from the big boys who are already ahead of you in the game.

However, if you come up with the right strategy that gives you the best localized advantages, you can beat your competitors in certain key areas to some extent.


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