Long established Marketing paradigms have conditioned Marketers to associate a strong marketing channel presence with a big investment that only a BIG company can make (or a startup going kamikaze). Today, when we see repetitive ads on TV, for example, it’s almost always for big established companies with big budgets. The prevailing concept, therefore, has been the larger the company (or at least the larger the investment in the channel), the greater the opportunity for channel presence. Put another way, small to medium-sized companies cannot play in those mediums.

Newcomers to search marketing could therefore be forgiven for assuming the same holds true in search. Assumptions about what drives search visibility are often made based on outdated “bigger is better” paradigms and on the belief that the largest companies can somehow spend their way into dominating natural search visibility. Our data (and many of our customers’ data) have proven this wrong …non-enterprises can, in fact, dominate natural search if they take it upon themselves to act like an enterprise when it comes to SEO.

Search as the Great Equalizer
The reality is that search has been the great equalizer. Sure, a robust link profile can be easier to come by for mammoth companies, but the nature of search is that the opportunity is open to those who diligently pursue it. And, if Conductor’s recent research on the growing demand for SEO professionals is any indicator—people with ‘SEO’ in their job title/description grew by 112% year over year—companies of all sizes are indeed recognizing the opportunity and pursuing it.

To put some empirical findings behind this, our industry leading research team collected several examples of search results for medium to high volume keywords across multiple verticals that highlight the opportunity available to companies of all sizes that focus on natural search. To ensure we were evaluating keywords that large companies could be ranking on page one for, we verified that large companies operated in the space in each instance.

In our first example, we looked at the search results for ‘costumes’. The results page had a good distribution of small, medium, and large companies with equal chances of appearing in the SERPs with diligent effort. In addition, the following large companies carried costumes on their websites and could have outranked the small and medium companies for the keyword but did not:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Target
  • K-Mart

Next, we looked at the term ‘web hosting’. The following large companies serve as website hosts and could have ranked on page one for the keyword:

  • Rackspace
  • Hostway

The opportunity in the SERPs is not limited to appearing in the SERPs while larger competitors do not. Focused attention on SEO means you can also outrank competitors on page 1, capturing a higher percentage of clicks the higher up the page you rank.

Search as the great equalizer: Outdated “bigger= better” paradigms are no more

In the next example, we looked at the term ‘CRM system’ which had a number of small and medium companies ahead of the large companies on page one of the SERPs:

Shifting Paradigms:
Old Marketing paradigms used to mean that to operate as an enterprise in many mainstream channels, you needed an enterprise-sized marketing budget, enterprise-scale resources, and enterprise-sized ambitions. For example, you cannot truly advertise on TV without being an enterprise sized company.

Search has been the great equalizer in leveling the playing field, creating opportunity to drive traffic and brand exposure for small, medium and large companies alike. The implication is that small to medium sized companies can invest in enterprise SEO resources and technology and reap the benefits in the search results.

Indeed, while some of the world’s largest brands from the Fortune 500 and Internet Retailer 500 leverage Searchlight, Conductor’s enterprise SEO platform in their natural search efforts, we also see many small to medium sized companies that have made the investment in SEO budget–resources, headcount and technology–and reap far more SEO traffic as a result.

You don’t have to be an enterprise to practice enterprise SEO.