Is it possible for a small business to compete in search?

How can a small business rank well when competing against larger organisations that have a lot of resources, money and people to throw behind their SEO?

It is super-hard. But small companies have a lot of advantages, especially online.

It’s a lot easier for them to shift, adapt and move quickly compared to bigger organisations. Especially when something shifts in the ecosystem, such as new trends or when something significantly changes – they can act really swiftly, almost immediately, in search.

We see this all the time with larger businesses, where they have lots of really cool ideas that they want to implement, however it takes one or two years for them to deliver those ideas. Whether that’s down to other priorities, various teams and sign offs, etc. With smaller companies, however, the same idea can be delivered in the next few weeks.

For example, we see this in our industry with small SEO tools. They often release features that Google Search Console doesn’t have – and that may be for policy reasons, legal reasons or it is built into the platform years later. This gives these SEO tool providers a little bit of a head start and chance to grow a relevant user base, even in a market where Google is the dominant corporation.

Sometimes with a small company it also makes sense to be active in areas that are just not interesting to large companies. Where the smaller organisation has the ability to focus on a smaller segment of the market and do something really unique there, the larger company may decide that it’s too much work to set up for only a couple of million pounds or concerned that they may get distracted from their day-to-day. With a small company, a couple of million can make a real difference.

This means that small companies have the ability to focus on these small areas and do something really unique, especially online. Over the last few years, we’ve particularly seen this around sustainable and environmental products and services, such as sustainable venue finding for events across a particular city versus these huge venue finding platforms that covers all venues across entire countries to recycled sunglasses made from plastics taken out of the ocean for the environmentally conscious versus huge stores like Sunglasses Hut.

We find if these smaller businesses pick up, maybe a larger company will do something similar a couple of years down the line, but they have that headway at least, to move ahead of all these big companies during that time and dominate those topics through great products, content and relevant PR and links.

So yes, small companies can compete. Although, large organisations have a lot of power, talent, a strong brand and resources, they can’t move as quickly and may not satisfy users intent in specific areas as well as smaller businesses.

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