It’s a common problem that many small businesses and many new start up websites experience online. How can I ever possibly compete with the big guns in Google, Bing and other search engines for ranking?
While having a large, established website gives big businesses a possible advantage when it comes to getting to the top of Google, it doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t compete with them.
You may not have the big SEO budget and the dedicated web design team. But the truth is, you don’t need those things to make your mark. What you do need is focus, consistency and intention.
You need to know exactly what you are gunning for and how you are going to go about getting it.
There are countless examples of small business websites ranking higher than big, brand name websites in Google. This is a great encouragement all of us, the little people.
If you are starting small there is plenty you can do that the big boys often can’t. In a recent Webmaster help video, Matt Cutts answers the question,
“How can smaller sites with superior content ever rank over sites with superior traffic? It’s a vicious circle: A regional or national brick-and-mortar brand has higher traffic, leads to a higher rank, which leads to higher traffic, ad infinitum.”
Cutts points out a number of sites that started small, Facebook, Instagram and Google among them, but which grew through superior content. By superior content, Matt means content that people wanted to read, found useful, and were willing to share.
A Definition of The Katamari Principle
Nikki Walls, Managing Director of successful online jewellery retailer Bling Rocks believes attempting to compete on the same terms as a bigger business is a waste of time.
“When we set up in business, we decided that there was no point in trying to compete directly with larger businesses,” she says. “Our primary focus is to provide exceptional customer service, and sell bespoke, high-quality costume jewellery products that are not available on the high street. We source products from niche suppliers, normally overseas ones, who will not be supplying to larger businesses.”
Matt Cutts goes on to confirm what we really knew all along in the marketing world. Matt refers to this as his “Katamari philosophy”.
Katamari is a third person video game by Namco for the PS2. The story in Katamari deals with the aftermath of the King of All Cosmos’ binge drinking spree that wiped out all the stars and other celestial bodies from the sky.
The King charges the Prince to go to Earth with a “Katamari” – a magical ball that allows anything smaller than it to stick to it and make it grow – and collect enough material for him to recreate the stars and constellations.
As you roll it over things (in the video game), the Katamari picks them up. It starts as a small, sticky ball that can only pick up small items. It will pick up a paper clip, but roll right over an eraser. As you pick up small items (paper clips, thumb tacks, etc.) the ball grows larger.
As it grows larger it can pick up larger items (erasers, juice boxes). It grows larger still, and you can pick up even bigger items (buckets, dogs houses). And as you pick things up, the ball grows larger, and can pick up houses, and factories, and elephants (who are never injured).
The idea behind this concept is a basic truth in small business web marketing.
Start by going as deep and precise as you can in to one niche. Start small. Grow it. Master it. This is particularly important regarding keywords. Go for long tail keywords to begin with.
When that niche and it’s keywords are making clear ground in Google search engine results, widen the circle slightly. Attach your next project to the first. Rinse and repeat.
Work in layers. Don’t start will “ball”, start with, “beach ball”. Better yet, start with, “Giant red beach ball”. Better still, start with, “Giant red and white beach ball”.
Matt goes on to say that smaller sites with better content are the websites that end up becoming the larger sites because they did a better job of focusing on user experience and delivering value. And as they grew, they began to dominate the first page of Google.
5 Steps to Katamari Marketing to Improve Search Position
1. Focus on one niche. Target it, kill it, clean it up and own it.
This involves a paper, a pencil and a process known as chunking. The idea is to categorise your product or service and then move up and down the vertical until you find the best starting point for your marketing efforts.
Here is a quick example.
You will find another example in this article here.
In this example, you would be writing a series of articles, posting images to Pinterest and developing other resources in order to gain traction for the keywords, “Caribbean Hook Bracelets”. If your work is good, it will move up the ranking over time.
Once you begin to get a foothold in this market (and keyword phrase), you would then be ready to develop another layer to your marketing plan (something, for example, that would sit in the same position under Pendants).
2. Create Clean, easy-to-read Content
Make your content readable, informative and enjoyable for the user. When you write, write simple sentences. Use plenty of paragraphs and keep your lines across the page short to improve readability.
Ideal paragraphs are around 3 lines.
Try not to use jargon or unnecessary words just to fill up the page and use headings. Most people won’t read the whole article, they will scan for headings and if nothing jumps out at them they will move on.
So make your headings count!
3. Publish your Work on your own Site First
Make your own universe bigger by stages instead of making someone else’s universe bigger. Sure, you can always go back and grab snippets of your content to share on other sites. You might even score a back link or two.
Make your own site great. Build your own spaceship. I regret the dozens of articles I wrote for article sites. Not because I was ever penalized, but because I was not discriminating enough. I gave my best work to others.
Don’t make that mistake.
4. Avoid Getting Lost in the Big Social Ocean
Is anyone likely to click on a link they found on a Facebook Page with zero followers and buy your service or product? Is anyone likely to even find it? No.
Forget all the Social Media Marketing Hype. Find the Social Media outlet where your prospective clients already exist and start talking to them. And when you talk to them, start by sharing your wisdom, help and experience – not your sales pitch.
If you own a sports related site, Twitter can be a gold mine. Think about it, where do sports celebrities share their guff? on Google+? Nope. If your niche is Green and Clean, join one of the Google+ Social Communities or hang outs. Meet people.
5. Spread the world Among those Closest to You
Ask yourself this: Where are your prospective customers gathering on the web? In Forums? On eBay? Chat rooms? Meet ups? Write to them. Go there. Share some of your content with them. Offer them assistance.
Not only will this create a conversation, it will help you refine your own marketing skills.
If you find an unsatisfied customer belonging to a competitor, offer to help them out with your own product or service for free. Just find one customer. Satisfy them. Stay connected to them and don’t be afraid to ask them to refer you to any other likely customers.
If a small business is authentic and personable in reaching out to people, if they are writing consistently good material then those people, some of them at least, will respond.