By Anita Ginsburg


When it comes to SEO and online marketing, the rules of the game are different for small businesses than they are for large corporations. While this might seem obvious to most people, many small business owners who are novices when it comes to online marketing make the mistake of simply trying to emulate what they see the big dogs do, erroneously expecting the same results.

While this “monkey see, monkey do” approach might be nice in theory, in reality, it will get small business owners nowhere in expanding their reach and growing their brand. When it comes to SEO for small businesses, a few of the rules are the same, but most are different. Here’s what you should be doing differently from large corporations.

What Corporations Do: Create multiple marketing campaigns to target different demographics

What You Should Do: Focus your energy on localized SEO campaigns

A large corporation is most likely trying to target hundreds of different niches and regional markets. You, on the other hand, should be focusing on one streamlined SEO campaign. If you are a brick and mortar store, then you should be focusing on topping the search results for your category and town name. For example, if you own a hardware store in Milwaukee, WI, you want to be the first result when someone searches “buying tools Milwaukee.”

If you are an online storefront, then you don’t need to focus on regional searches, but you should focus on streamlining your efforts. Pick one search term relevant to your business and really focus on it. For example, a life coach who offers Skype sessions and specializes in working with recent college graduates would get nowhere trying to top online search results for “life coach,” but may have much success with “life coach for college grads.” Your efforts should always be focused and concentrated.

What Corporations Do: Maintain their own in-house SEO teams

What You Should Do: Work with a professional SEO firm

You probably don’t have the expertise in-house to really launch a successful SEO and online marketing campaign. For this reason, you should seek the help of SEO professionals who work with small businesses. You can get professional results without having your own dedicated SEO team working for you full-time and in-house. Experts who specialize in St. Louis SEO can create custom search marketing services built for your business. Small businesses each have their own unique needs and strategies, and professionals can help you get the results you want.

What Corporations Do: Use a lot of embedded video, Flash and special effects on their websites

What You Should Do: Focus on streamlined text and design

A company like Apple can get away with a website that is entirely Flash and Java, as they already know that people are going to find their website. You, however, should avoid this flashy technology. To search engines, these elaborate codes appear as essentially a blank page. While it might not be as aesthetically exciting, the best web design for an emerging small business is a streamlined one that features well written and keyword-dense text.

Your SEO consultants will be able to help you determine the specifics of how you want to lay out your website, in addition to helping you to craft some truly effective and compelling SEO text. Remember, your goals as a small business should be to be recognized on search engines so that you can climb the ranks in search results relating to your industry.

Conquering SEO for small businesses can be a challenge, but the results are wholly worthwhile. Since you are not a large corporation, never approach your SEO or marketing strategies as if you were. Instead, focus on a streamlined keyword campaign and create a search engine-friendly website. If you follow these tips, you can enjoy SEO success and watch your business grow.

Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about business, finance, education and home. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2004. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.