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I often talk to small business people who lament at how the marketing deck is stacked against them. The big guys have the connections, the money, and the brand name. "How can I compete?" I hear them asking. I always have the same answer--Internet marketing, especially organic search marketing. But when I tell them this, often I get disbelief. These small business owners have painfully learned over the years that marketing is for big companies, not for them. They're wrong.
A few weeks ago, I ran across a report on SearchEngineLand about a report from Conductor, saying that Fortune 500 companies are "woefully unrepresented in natural search." Just 8% of those companies got high grades for their search rankings.
So, if the big companies aren't there, guess who is? That's right--small-to-medium size companies. Paid search still goes (mainly) to companies with deep pockets, but organic search goes to the relevant. If your business has the relevant answer for the searcher, you can get that high ranking, too.
I've seen it over and over again--big companies getting outranked by their own, distributors, partners, and affiliates for their branded keywords. This shouldn't happen, because clearly the manufacturer should have the best answer for that product's search. It happens because the smaller companies do a better job on their information.
And because large companies find search far more difficult than small ones. For organic search success, every piece of the equation must be in place. If you fail to do any one piece, you organic search results suffer. Because large companies have so many more people to coordinate, organic search becomes far harder for large companies than for small ones. So, small companies take note: for organic search, more resources makes the job harder, leaving an opportunity for you.
Sure big companies always have some kind of edge in anything. But big companies have far less of an edge in earned media than they do in traditional marketing channels. If you've been making excuses about how you're doing in search marketing, maybe it's time to realize that any small business that wants to succeed in search has the opportunity.
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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