Small vs. Big Business SEO

Courtesy of Dennis Jarvis

It seems large companies have the “virtuous cycle” advantage — they have higher traffic, which leads to higher search ranking, which leads back to higher traffic, and so on.

But smaller businesses can achieve higher ranking by implementing the right SEO techniques.

The methods below, some of which come from Google’s Matt Cutts himself, can help smaller businesses beat the big guys in online search.

Use small to your advantage.

Smaller sites can update more quickly and put out new ideas much more quickly than large, lumbering sites. Google rewards such agility, Matt Cutts explains in a recent video:

Small businesses can better focus on user experience and create a loyal, engaged following that bumps up their search ranking.

Apply the “Katamari philosophy.”

Katamari is a Japanese word for “clump,” referring to a group of things clustered together.

Cutts urges small businesses to apply Katamari to their content strategy: concentrate on smaller, niche topic areas. Cover them well to build a loyal following, and then start to expand into other areas. Soon you’ll form a Katamari of topics in which you or your business has influence.

Be active on social media.

Social signals (comments, shares, hashtags, etc.) contribute to the overall organic success of websites. Angie Pascale explains that SEO and social media overlap in the following ways:

  • Link potential. Social media increases brand awareness, which in turn leads to links and more site visitors.
  • Personalization. When you’re signed into Google, you’ll see personalized search results that include your search history and Google+ activities from accounts in your circles. Bing employs the same approach with friends’ Facebook activities.
  • Search query volume. More conversations about your brand leads to more people searching for your brand. Increased search query volume leads to better rankings.
  • Authorship. Business bloggers can build authority by tagging their work with Google Authorship. All work, no matter the site it’s published on, helps build your authority and ranking for certain queries.

Don’t be pressured into buying ads.

Google ads will certainly get your name in front of the eyes of potential customers, but they do not help your organic ranking, Cutts asserts. Your ranking won’t suffer if you avoid AdWords. It’s better to spend resources focusing on how you can elevate your organic search ranking.

Don’t trip a Google spam filter.

Google has a lot of rules when it comes to spam and link schemes, and breaking those rules could mean a punishment of a “0” Page Ranking. P.J. Fusco identifies a list of don’ts to avoid tripping Google’s spam filters:

  • Don’t target demographics on social media and spam people with ads.
  • Don’t use the same title tags and metadata on multiple pages, or use tags irrelevant to the content on the page.
  • Don’t use hidden or small text on Web pages just for search engine spiders.
  • Don’t stuff content with keywords
  • Don’t use keywords as anchor text.
  • Don’t invite or allow comment spam.
  • Don’t introduce new keyword phrases into the body copy of old articles.
  • Don’t participate in “link farms” and other link exchanges that have a large number of unrelated topics directing visitors to different URLs.

Bottom line: in the search arena, small businesses can compete with big businesses. To do so, they need to stay informed with Google’s best practices and update their SEO strategy accordingly.

This article originally appeared on the CyberAlert Blog and can be found here.

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