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 of HuffPo and Forbes.
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 three tips and tactics 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 gourmet cupcakes, local search means you can claim the top spot for gourmet cupcakes in your area. Walmart might sell tasty cupcakes, but you specialize.
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 neighborhood.