With the economic downturn as of late, businesses are forced to be more careful with their marketing budget. The dichotomy however, is that small businesses need SEO more than any other type of marketing platform to keep afloat, reach a more targeted type of consumer and achieve a healthy ROI on dwindling margins due to inflation.
Not having deep pockets to throw away on ineffectual websites that exist soley for branding like the colossal corporate counterparts (the big brands that are publicly traded) means being more adept to identify advantage and moving quicker to secure a niche.
Most enterprise clients have a plethora of red tape and legality that even if they could make a push for specific keywords or market segments, the bureaucracy alone would slow the process to a crawl vs. their nimble and fleet footed small business who are competing for same market share.
So, what can a small business do to turn the tables on the competition large or small?
1) Tone down the PPC Spend Per Month- and focus on creating organic rankings. Sounds simple enough, as you know PPC (pay per click advertising) is addictive and can be like crack in the sense that once you start using it, your hooked.
Why pay for 100% of the traffic when only 2 out of 10 people executing a broad match search actually click PPC links anyway? Just do the math and invest a few months in the less competitive phrases to wein yourself away from the clutches of PPC.
Most keywords can be acquired for $500-1,500 organically, unless they are competitive, which takes more time to chip away and produce the same results.
It is the same traffic/visitors clicking your link ultimately with organic rankings, the advantage is, that you do not have to pay every time they do, so it is an aggregate value amortized over time.
2) Specialize instead of brand – instead of thinking broad and attempting to optimize a series of competitive keywords. Focus on ROI and target dozens of topical long tail keywords instead.
By targeting less competitive terms, you establish a foothold and can start building an organic link profile that indicates that your website is a go to source for related products, services and information. Granted it is an investment in time (to build authority) but the takeaway produces long-term effects that put money back in your pocket 10 fold over time.
3) Plan for the future - Start putting future tense landing pages with supporting content in the index so that when they mature, your website hedges itself as a result of diversity.
The competition is not going to decrease, so thinking about it will only let them dig in further, you need to take action and take action now to secure your place in search engines tomorrow. Whoever says rankings and SEO are dead are failing to grasp the adage of supply and demand. Consumers will always have a need to consume and as the methodology shifts (yellow pages to search engines, traditional search to personalized or mobile platforms), positioning is imperative across a variety of sectors which have the potential for conversion.
The lines of marketing and SEO are becoming mere facets of the other. To embrace one without the other is pointless. The conversion medium has evolved and necessity dictates that all businesses interested in achieving a higher / more efficient return on investment should also.
SEO is a great alternative to simply broadcasting your message through traditional (muted) channels. Just consider it a cost-effective opt-in method for consumers already searching for your targeted keywords and long-tail key phrases. It all boils down to exposure and opportunity, both are prevalent with SEO.