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Nearly every business in the world has a website today, and that means small businesses have to overcome nearly insurmountable odds to claim one of the few spots on the first pages of search engine results.

Big businesses already have a lock on most of the top slots. They have advantages you can’t possibly have, starting with enough content to fill a library and inbound links from every site on the web, from mommy bloggers with an audience of family members, to the front page editorial sites.

That’s pretty hard to compete with if you have limited resources and you’re new to the game.

Unless your product or service is a brand new invention, you’re going to need an impressive strategy to cut through the noise

Here are 3 tips to help level the playing field

1. Own the local market

  • Some 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. So, although you may not be able to come up first in a search for your product, local search means you can claim the top spot for “special products” in your area.
  • Respect the Pigeon. In 2015, Google started rolling out a new algorithm (Pigeon) that refined local search. Basically, local search is even more local now. Top listings are not just within a city, they are within a suburb.
  • Monitor listings. Dominating the local market requires paying close attention to details. Make sure your listings are detailed and up to date on all local and industry search engines and review sites, such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Trip Advisor.
  • Be a part of the community. Join and sponsor local events, participate in charity drives, donate branded merchandise for giveaways, and make sure your website is mentioned in the event advertising and print it on your swag. Participating in local events boosts your visibility, gets people talking about your business, and earns organic backlinks from local news outlets, bloggers, and magazines.

2. Be the voice of authority

  • Why do people search online for businesses? The Web is not merely a telephone book with a handy map attachment, it’s a new source of information for consumers.The information they find determines whether they can trust you.
  • Building authority builds trust, and trust is essential to an ongoing customer relationship. Your customers want to know where to turn to for reliable information in your areas of expertise.
  • Post great content. If you’re a local business and you’re not providing content, then you’re not giving your audience what it’s looking for. They want to patronize businesses they know and trust. You can be the business that answers all their questions online, tells them which products are best for their situation and why, and offers tips and reasons why they need to buy.
  • Almost every business has a local angle it can draw on to build authority. Know your local customers, and you’ll know their concerns which means you can address those concerns.

3. Go mobile

  • An alarming number of small businesses seem to think they don’t need to build a mobile-friendly website. It’s something we hear all the time, and it’s mind-boggling.
  • Consider the stats. Google recently changed its search algorithm to exclude sites from mobile searches if the sites are not mobile-friendly. Considering that 60% of all searches are performed on mobile devices, and 40% of customers will go to a competitor’s site if yours won’t load properly, not having a mobile-friendly website is the equivalent of just giving your business away.
  • Test for mobile-friendliness. Just because your website looks “fine” on your smartphone doesn’t mean it’s actually mobile friendly in the eyes of Google. To determine whether your website is mobile-friendly, simply use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Consult with an experienced digital marketing team. There’s more than one way to go mobile: you can choose to design a responsive site, a hybrid-responsive site, an adaptive site, or a separate mobile site. There are also all kinds of reasons not to rush into getting your mobile website set up. A full-fledged mobile-friendly website should be built to serve your marketing and sales objectives. Do you want your website to be a lead generation machine? Do you want to encourage visitors to hand over their email address?
  • There are many factors to consider when going mobile, so be sure your marketing and development teams have a solid strategy in line with your company goals.