Size Doesn’t Matter – Why the Little Guy CAN Beat the Big Guy in the SEO Arena
When it comes to SEO, many small to medium players can get discouraged by the bigger players. They have more resources, so why should the smaller businesses even put forth the effort with SEO? Simple – because they can actually compete with the larger companies. Here’s why.
One thing to remember is that the big guys have resources, but because of that they often focus on the more traditional avenues for gaining traffic to their sites and stores. Take the diamond engagement ring business for instance. While any number of us can probably name a dozen national chains off the top of our heads (DeBeers, Zales, Kay Jewelers, and Jared to name a few), not a single one of them shows up in the top 50 for the term “diamond engagement rings”. In fact, only Kay is in the top 100 and Jared isn’t in the top 500. Why? Because they don’t have to be thanks to brand recognition. How does this help you?
Because they rely so much on brand recognition, most of your larger companies never bother to engage in SEO. For example, the #5 result for “diamond engagement rings” is Danforth Diamond, who’s home page title has the words “diamond engagement rings” in it, where as Jared and Zales both have only their company name in the title. Probably why Danforth Diamond is ranked #5 and Jared and Zales are both outside the top 50.
When it comes to writing copy for your website, you usually have one, maybe two writers, and yourself to answer to. When a big corporation decides to write copy for their website, they have to have one of their writers come up with copy that is SEO friendly, then that copy has to be worked over by the marketing people to make sure it works with the brand message, then it has to go to the legal department to make sure that they aren’t making any claims that can’t be substantiated, then it can go back to the writers for more edits, then back to…well I think you get the picture.
Smaller companies have the advantage of not having to deal with the same red tape that larger corporations do when deciding to make changes to their website. While you only answer to yourself, larger companies have to answer to their CEO’s, board of advisors, stockholders, and anybody else that has a corner office with a view.
SEO takes work, especially on your website. Between changing titles, adding products, adding content, installing a shopping cart, there’s a lot going on with your website. While smaller companies can handle having systems that are SEO friendly and perhaps take a little longer to make changes on, larger companies need changes made over night, and that typically means a content management system (CMS) that is less than SEO friendly.
Because the larger companies use CMS that aren’t SEO friendly, many of them don’t bother engaging in SEO and instead rely on brand awareness (which I mentioned earlier) to help drive traffic to their sites. Going hand in hand with this is the fact that since the larger companies don’t engage in SEO, when you do find them you’ll find their home page and have to search through their site for what you’re looking for, whereas with smaller sites you can have focus on internal pages to take customer to exactly what they’re looking for. This helps conversion rates, which ultimately means more profits for the little guy.
Reporting to Everybody
As I mentioned when talking about red tape, larger companies aren’t just answering to themselves. Zales might do a lot of business, but they have to report to their shareholders, board of trustees, and everybody else. When the little jewelry store down the street has a good quarter, the only person they’re answering to is themselves.
Because of having to answer to shareholders, larger companies need to be able to quantify their numbers into something that is easily understood, and that usually means time, energy, and resources channeled into producing these reports, as well as a system in place on the website that can easily produce the numbers needed. Those systems are often not SEO friendly. So while Zales might be able to tell their shareholders how much money they sold in the 3rd quarter of 2005, the small jewelry store down the street can figure out how much money they made, how many of each product they sold, and still rank in the top 10 for their big keywords.
Keep on Fighting
Sure, it can be discouraging to look at big companies and the money they can spend, but in this digital age with more and more people finding the products and services they want online through search engines, smaller companies can compete with larger ones through quality SEO and user-friendly websites. With a little work your company can get more internet exposure than those that spend millions of dollars on commercials, radio spots, and billboards. That’s the beauty of quality SEO.