As search continues to get more and more personalized and localized, small businesses need to appear for key search terms when people are looking for them. But big businesses are also working to connect with local consumers, and they have budgets to outpace any competition.
Ready to give up? Don’t! As a key part of the community, local businesses have a much better chance of connecting with people than a bigger company with less of a local footprint.
When dealing with aggressive competition, here are five search strategies a local business can use to best big business:
1. Bid on your own name and variations when building your AdWords campaign.
Your brand name will have the highest quality score of any bidder. In case you didn’t know, quality score is Google’s way of rating the quality of your ads and the landing pages attached to them. By bidding on your own name, you’ll get valuable insight into who also bids on your terms, which could help you choose stronger keywords when building your AdWords campaign. For example, bid on ‘your name’ or ‘your name near me.’
2. Ensure that your map locations are set up and running on Google Map results.
Google maps are a valuable asset, used constantly by people in your community. Make sure that people looking for options can find you and your correct information, rather than a competitor.
3. Be very specific with your keyword basket.
The keywords you choose should reflect your brand, your product or service, and your budget. Start small and test very specific phrases that might be used in conversation (these are called Long-Tail Keywords). For example, a florist might want to bid on a keyword like ‘carnation bouquet’ and they might reserve funds to test a phrase like ‘mothers day bouquet pink’ to appear for this very specific search term. Doing this allows you to easily observe competitor behavior, and to test new and different keywords.
4. Enable messaging extensions.
A big company working with a call center might not be equipped to receive text messages for direct response. But you can. The ability to communicate with your community can make all the difference in the world. When your message appears in a search result, being able to send and recieve text messages quickly gives you an advantage over a call center organized for phone conversations. A small bistro with a fast lunch counter, a plumber or even a seasonal tax office can make great use of quick texts for orders, services and appointments. Connect your mobile phone to your ads and start testing!
5. Use your budget strategically.
Focus your attention on keywords that actually perform and always test to ensure you only spend on phrases that connect you with your customers. When dealing with limited funds for search advertising, start by pruning your own habits. Are you bidding on a keyword because you like it, or because it performs? Do your landing pages contain the keywords you want to be known for? How are people searching for your services, and are you bidding on those phrases? Working with the budget you have, focus on what really performs and build on your success.
In any search campaign, no matter the size, start with the fundamentals and build momentum. You’d be surprised how much a local business can do in the long term with steady progress over time.
For more on how to kick start your search marketing success, as a local business, download our Local Search Marketing Success Kit for free!
Julia is a Search Strategist with Mediative. She's been doing search strategy for nearly a decade and is excited about the new ways in which we reach one another - apps, video, shopping, and the way online and offline behaviours merge and work together.