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Small Business SEO: Do you stand a Chance?

Small business owners have always seemed to have the odds stacked against them. Starting a business from scratch is hard enough without big players siphoning a large portion of your business away.

Right now I’m talking to you, Plumbers, Locksmiths, Pest Controllers, Electricians, and Landscapers. You might be asking yourself, “Is SEO worth it?” You may not have a lot of extra cash, but it actually doesn’t take a fortune to dramatically boost your online presence.

The big players that steal business and Google rankings are reviews-oriented sites like Yelp, Thumbtack, AngiesList, and the like. In some search queries, HALF of the results are these types of companies, leaving legitimate small businesses to fight for the remaining space. In a search for “Pest Control Salt Lake City”, we get these organic results (commentary in red):

As you can quickly see, over half of these results are not from actual pest control companies, but from review sites. So is SEO a waste of time for a small business owner?

In short, no.

While it may be a losing battle to go after larger terms at the beginning, even the huge companies had to start somewhere. The key is to grow tactically, and at the right pace. Sure, if you have lots of extra cash laying around, throw it into a solid internet marketing company with a watertight strategy. However, most business owners start with nothing, and starting with a simple website and online presence is nothing to be ashamed of.

Your Search Engine Optimization should consist of extremely specific terms, including geo-terms and long-tail keywords. Once you start to see success with that, you can upgrade to terms with higher search volume and so on.

As a small business owner myself, I have to keep in this mindset as well. If I want to grow my Boise SEO firm, Morningdove Marketing, I need to be able to target keywords that others have overlooked. To go after the money keywords from the beginning is fine, but expecting to dominate the market in 3 months is overreaching, to say the least.

So where does that leave us? We see that the big terms are extremely competitive, especially with the giant domains that aren’t actual local companies. This might become the norm in the future, but at this point, it’s still possible for small businesses to compete. With a little tact and a lot of hustle, SEO can be a great long-term investment for the growth and success of your business.

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