Small businesses should create SEO campaigns with an eye toward competition

Online marketing and search engine optimization can act as extentions to traditional advertising.  In many ways, this makes the job of raising brand awareness easier for small businesses. It has been shown that a growing majority of consumers utilize search engine-based web research to make an informed purchase. The entire process of directing consumers toward an online presence is much more cost-effective than marketing with newspapers or radio commercials was.

However, it is important to note that despite being cheaper, online marketing efforts are more labor-intensive. That is, those efforts may be simple, but they require dedication and awareness. Small business advertisers need to understand not only how to navigate the algorithms that search engines use, but they have to know what the organizations that compete for the same search terms are up to.

Search engine optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and for every spot that a company moves upwards on Google’s search results page, another must either move up as well or drop a spot or two. The currency of the modern advertising age is visual space on a search engine’s page, so sometimes it’s necessary to check in on the competition.

One way to accomplish this is by researching the page rank of competitors. First, a marketer must discover which websites are highly-ranked for the same search terms or phrases that that business wants to exert influence over. Regular searches should be performed to understand the breakdown for desired words and phrases. Companies should always be aware of the environment in which they operate.

The next step is to see how popular competitors’ web sites are. Google Analytics, AdSense and other page-ranking services can be used to compare one site to another to get a sense of the ground that needs to be covered with SEO tactics. From there, it is simply a matter of viewing the websites of those competitors and understanding what it is that they do better than another company. Keywords, link sharing and blogging are first steps to take in pursuit of this objective.

It is also important to note that while it is crucial to be on the first page of search engine results in order to proclaim an SEO campaign successful, the number one spot does not have nearly the same influence that it once did. Consumers are more willing than ever before to hunt around, so it is often helpful to simply offer better products and services than competitors. Discounts, regularly-scheduled money-saving events and promotional product giveaways are all valid tactics to pursue when SEO efforts have only helped an organization to break even with another company.

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