Small Businesses Can Still Have Big SEO Success

SMS Text

Small Businesses Can Still Have Big SEO Success

image credit: ShutterStock

Many small business owners feel like they can’t compete with the “big” brands simply because they don’t have the money or the manpower to achieve real SEO success. But comparing your SEO success against those bigger brands might actually be selling your own campaign short! Small businesses can have just as much SEO success as any other company, the key is knowing where to focus your limited resources to get the most bang for your buck.

Here are 3 ways small businesses can still achieve big SEO success:

1. Build one quality link at a time.

Links are still the bread and butter of SEO. And although the Google Penguin update has many small business owners running scared from link building you can’t afford to ignore this crucial component of SEO for too long. They key to link building is to build one quality link at a time and to vary up the link sources as much as you can. This helps keep your link profile looking natural and can protect your website from future algorithm updates. Don’t set arbitrary link count goals for yourself as this can often lead to last minute scrambling at the end of the month, which usually means you’re building links you would have otherwise passed over. If it wasn’t a good link then why is it now that a deadline in hanging over your head?

Remember that no quality link needs to be justified! The minute you have to look at it through rose colored glasses to make a link look like a good idea is the moment you know it’s time to walk away. Relevancy and authority determine a quality link, not how easy it is to build!

2. Create content that serves your audience’s needs, not your ego’s.

In a recent interview Elisabeth Osmeloski of Search Engine Land said;

Small businesses who connect with their most loyal customers on a regular basis, through simple interactions can be more agile and responsive to customer needs. Content marketing doesn’t have to be a massive investment of time or even intense amounts of writing. Just quick announcements on G+ or pictures/comments on Facebook might be enough for their audience.

Your content marketing campaign has to be about your audience and what they need; it should not be about how awesome your company is. What kind of information is your target audience looking for? What problems are they trying to solve? Your content should become a resource for your audience and over time you authority and online brand presence will grow. Great content can also earn you high quality links, which is like killing two birds with one stone! The key is to figure out what your audience needs and to give it to them. A company blog, a strong social media presence, and an ear to the ground can help your small business build its online presence over time.

Just remember that building authority through content marketing takes time. It could be months or even longer before your company blog starts getting much traffic. But you have to be committed to the long haul for your SEO program to work.

3. Focus on the niches your competition has overlooked.

If you run a small floral shop in Boston chances are you will never have the same online brand presence that 1-800-Flowers does. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dominate your own local market with a strong SEO program! Your shop can cater to wedding parties, high-end hotels that throw events, gardening enthusiasts, local restaurants and more. The key is to figure out what niches your competition isn’t in or has overlooked and claim that space for yourself. SEO is about positioning your website so that when visitors come looking your site is ready to go! The goal is to not interrupt their online experience with ads and banners, but create enough touch points so that when they need you they can easily find you and do business with your brand.

Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service Boston SEO firm. With nearly 13 years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry,... Read Full Bio
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis

Latest posts by Nick Stamoulis (see all)

Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Nathan Whitaker

    Also targeting long tail keywords is an extremely powerful strategy for small businesses who want to achieve quick wins. This relates to point number 3.

  • Phanindra

    Link building is wrongly taken by many people when they are building their blogs or sites. Manual link building , even though takes time is the best one according to me because we can choose to get high authority backlinks and they also look natural to the google. Good points mentioned in the article.


  • Mohnesh Kohli

    SEO is getting costly day by day What I feel Small business man can optimize site for local business keywords. For
    example ” flower shop in Greenwich London” , Local keywords and easy to work SEO on this

  • Charles Crawford

    Hi Nick,

    Thank you very much for sharing this great post. I also really believe that links are the bread and butter of SEO. The key to link building is to build one quality link at a time and to change up the link sources as much as you can.


  • Alvin Brown

    Nick, this article for sure is a value-add resource. Getting customers to focus on #1 in conjunction to #2 can be quite a challenge for those fly-by-night customers wanting instant success, conversions and rankings. In addition, I find that #3 is the most overlooked, yet can offer substantial ranking, traffic and conversion opportunities; however, it’s convincing the customer of this that can be a challenge at times. Thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking resource.

    • Elroy van Ouwerkerk


      When you work with small businesses it’s always difficult to convince them to invest in optimizing their website. Because you can’t (or shouldn’t) guarantee them anything.

      That’s why the SEO industry should work more based on a “No Cure, No Pay” method. It’s transparant and small businesses can’t really burn their hands . That’s how I work at least. So only when you achieve something, you actually get paid 😉 .

      @Nick, Nice post. Like you said, you will have to look at things the competition has missed or isn’t giving enough attention to in your niche. That is where you can make a difference.

      Besides that I think local SEO is one of the best things that could happen for small businesses. Even the smallest businesses have a change getting on the first page when people search on their mobile phone in that specific area.

      • Alvin

        @Elroy – I totally agree with you. 🙂 I have a few customers who started as pay for performance but now have moved into a monthly agreement based on the results achieved.

        As for guarantees, in some instances I think you can guarantee certain things seeing you’ve perform thorough due diligence. I’ve had customers that were in less competitive niches and I knew without a doubt I could get their website to the first page of major search engines. While in very competitive markets, I make no such guarantee.

        My main focus is being 100% transparent with the customer throughout the entire process. It’s imperative that customers go into SEO efforts with their eyes wide open before the first check is ever written or agreement is signed.

  • Shashank Gupta

    Hi Nick.,

    You suggest that we can have a smaller link portfolio with more quality links than quantity,. and this link portfolio may include links from a variety of areas, yet relevant. Plan and have a fairly grant social audience to share with. Sounds like the perfect process for businesses. Just one point I’d like to add; clients of seo services providers do not have an 8-10 months of patience to find results. So there are this very small but powerful set of businesses (SEO’s ) always finding it difficult to go by the rules.

  • Solomon Kleinsmith

    I gotta say – I totally disagree. If they did what you said, it would be far too easy to just buy all the links you need, and the site willing to spend the most money could just bribe their way to the top of rankings. Makes zero sense.

    • Solomon Kleinsmith

      Crap… that comment was supposed to go on a different tab, hahaha – feel free to delete it 🙂

      TOTALLY agree with what *you* said. The post I was disagreeing with was arguing that sponsored posts should be accepted by Google and company.

  • Sumit Dass


    Nice post
    it will help a lot to grow my small business
    Thanks for sharing nick..

  • Matt Coffy

    Great post, Nick. Small businesses really need to step up with their strategy on how to communicate and engage with their audience. With the right SEO approach, any business will become a success without needing to compete with the “big” brands. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Cheers!

  • Ammy

    I think Guest posting and infographic activities are best for quality links buildings. Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly, So i think this will never be wrong impression to harm sites rank in future