SEO for Small Businesses: 5 Ways to Outperform Your Competition

How can your small business compete in Google search results against brands, major media companies, and other major players?

One of the primary benefits of internet marketing – and specifically SEO – is that it enables businesses of all sizes to compete more effectively, reducing the impact of budget disparities.

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or enterprises should strive to gain a competitive advantage over larger competitors in the same digital space and capitalize on the advantages of being a smaller entity online.

Take a practical look at SEO for small businesses in this post, as well as 5 ways an SMB can punch above their weight.

1. Establish Yourself as the go-to expert in your field

As an SMB, you have an excellent opportunity to position your expertise at the forefront of your company through yourself and other key personnel.

You can provide a credible, trusted, and real-world face to an often colder perceived online approach of many larger brands within the online community.

Smaller entities are frequently perceived as being closer to their target audience, so when SMBs can pivot, identify, nurture, and share their offline ways of operating online, the benefits can be enormous.

An SMB has several advantages over a larger corporation, including:

  • Less red tape and internal barriers to allow for faster access to the conversation.
  • Smaller brands frequently require established people-oriented ways of working in order to function.
  • Genuine offline community experience can be adapted for online gains.
  • Genuine viewpoints and opportunities for open commentary sharing
  • With data-supported trial and error, you can be more agile in adapting approaches and taking more risks.

It is extremely difficult for larger organizations to have an authentic voice in the online community, and this provides an excellent route to market for SMBs.

2. Do The Basics Well

I understand that the term “basics” can have a variety of meanings. However, when it comes to small business SEO, it is critical to stay focused on the fundamentals of success.

Your time, resources, and budget may limit your ability to experiment, so focus on the known factors that influence SEO and the success of your website visitors.

Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics or success measurements that prevent you from reinvesting your gains in more SEO and digital marketing.

There are many fundamentals to prioritize, and they will vary depending on your SEO starting point, but keep it simple and consider:

  • Access to important content: How easy are your content cornerstones for people to find, digest, and convert from?
  • User Interaction: How quickly does your content load, and are there any unnecessary distractions that prevent the user from progressing?
  • Technical stumbling blocks: Do you make it simple for search engines to understand, index, and rank your content?
  • Page comprehension: How can you strengthen the signals you send to search engines based on headings, URLs, internal links, and other signals on the page?
  • Hierarchy of content: How intuitively and easily can someone get to your most important pages when you look at your website navigation and supporting content access elements (sub-navigation, footer, etc.)?
  • Do you make it easy for your content to rank for all types of relevant search results (images, video, and so on)?
  • Comprehensive content coverage: Is it possible for someone to gain a thorough and complete understanding of a topic without leaving your page? Are there any better examples of content that should perform better than yours?
  • The local advantage: Can you use your location to boost your SEO success claim more than other national, regional, or global brands?

Read An Introduction To Python & Machine Learning For Technical SEO.

3. Establishing Authority Through Credible Content Creation

Smaller businesses are more likely to have a thorough understanding of their target audience. When combined with SEO and an evidence-based mindset for content creation, this can support significant marketing benefits.

The creation of high-performance digital content does not have to be entirely dependent on the business or only available through agency outsourcing.

There are frequent combinations of both to investigate to provide maximum capturing of the moment without overstretching resources or budget while making the most of both.

Once you’ve committed to a content strategy, you’ll want to focus on the value to your audience versus the commercial value to your company and adjust your course as you go to strike the right balance.

Typically, credible authoritative content will include the following:

  • Inherent and palpable value to the audience.
  • Separate purpose and greater usefulness than competing examples
  • Opinions, data, and unique insights that are closely related to your expertise and niche.
  • Public relations and media value, particularly for local publications.
  • Authorship that can be trusted when it comes to content creation and ideation.
  • Impact layers for various persona types.
  • Repurposing mixed content to target various user preferences.
  • Messaging that is simple to access, digest, and promote.

To begin, I would recommend that your first key content items be created based on the areas you are best known for within your business niche.

Consider the factors that necessitate your company’s service or offering the most, as well as why people will choose you over the competition.

From here, you can use this meaningful differentiation to impart many of your lessons and advice into a truly valuable content asset that will work hard for your link and authority-building exercises consistently.

To realize its full potential, great content necessitates expertise, energy, and ongoing effort.

Try free Plagiarism CheckerParaphrasing Tool, and Website Reviewer.

4. Make Use of Local Optimization

To outperform your competition in SEO, you must extract every ounce of value from the time you invest online.

Local optimization for small and medium-sized businesses will always provide an opportunity to increase your return on investment.

The reason for this is that you have a legitimate claim to your local community’s visibility, and in many cases, a more genuine claim than other competing sites, regardless of scale.

You won’t find an SEO post for SMBs that doesn’t mention local SEO, and that’s because it works.

There are key activities you can engage in to advance your local SEO for small businesses. These are some examples:

  • Creating, updating, and sharing your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).
  • Creating location landing pages on your website that are rich in local content.
  • Local updates and associated information are seeded into your services (where applicable).
  • Participating in local media and publications.
  • Running location-based marketing and incentive programs.
  • Creating local testimonials, reviews, and case studies.
  • Participate actively in community websites, forums, and question-and-answer sites.
  • Sharing your knowledge and opinions on major social media platforms.
  • Whenever possible, use the LocalBusiness schema.

Here’s a comprehensive local SEO checklist to help you vary and prioritize your efforts in this area.

5. Take on the role of problem solver

One constant in all industries is the desire for people to have their questions answered as well as their pain points addressed.

Prioritizing problem-solving is a common strategy that helps businesses get in front of their target audience online at times when they are most needed.

Take a look through your Google Search Console data on a monthly (ideally weekly) basis and find all the terms that include who, what, why, where, when, and how.

Then consider related pain point queries and phrases such as issue, problem, and others.

You can then add triggers, cost/price, and other areas such as evaluation and comparison type terms to this location.

You will almost certainly come across many new terms and topics on which your audience is looking for advice, as well as opportunities to position yourself and your SMB at the forefront of answering them.

This type of value-based support and audience-aware content creation can add layers of value and business impact to your online presence.

Many of the rich content you create with this method will have multiple layers of potential.

As an example:

  • You can host FAQ content in a community hub.
  • From this hub, you can create destinations or content that appeals to a broader audience and drives traffic and conversions to your site.
  • You can promote and share this content in snippets on social media and on external sites to help answer repeat audience questions and drive new links to your content.
  • The content can be repurposed into other types of content, such as video and image content, allowing for ranking and SEO gains in new search verticals.
  • As your visibility grows, you will attract a slew of new and unanswered questions, which will feed the above-mentioned cycle.
  • You can always add to the queries by performing competitor content gap analysis in their question and answer visibility, as well as by using free tools like Answerthepublic.


In conclusion, smaller businesses have a great opportunity to outpunch their perceived weight online.

You will be able to grow your small or medium business SEO success in a meaningful and value-based way by focusing on the five key areas discussed in this post and following up with the suggested tactics to support these.

Learn more from SEO and read How to make an Effective SEO Strategy: 15 Ultimate Checklist 2022.

John Harper

#1 File Information bestselling author John Harper loves to dispel the myth that smart men & women don’t read (or write) romance, and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch him winning the $77,000 jackpot. In 2021, Netflix will premiere Bridgerton, based on his popular series of novels about the Why Files.

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