For many small businesses, getting great ranking on the SERPs, even for competitive keywords, has always been possible. However, SEOBook’s Aaron Wall, has today posted about the rise of big name brands on the Google SERPs.
Google’s aim, if what Eric Schmidt said about brands is correct, is to try to remove some of the dross which haunts the top SERPS for far too many terms. However, correcting this problem by making the assumption that big name brands are going to provide the quality content seems to be a tad short-sighted. Many of the real gems on the Internet, whether products, services, insightful content, or brilliant discussions, are not found on the big brand name websites.
This appraoch leaves the small businesses, start ups, and many non-top level brands down in the second or third (or below) pages of the SERPS, making their content ever harder to find, and the SEO job that much harder. Yes, we can all go after the long tail terms, or increase our budgets to those of Fortune 500 companies, but the reality is that this latest Google update may be depriving many Net users of the quality content they are actually seeking, and therefore access to some of the providers of that quality content. Has Google perhaps taken its eye off the ball on what users really want?
It is potentially funnelling customers and prospects into those companies large enough to be seen as ‘brands’ or household names, and depriving customers of the choice to buy from or research easily the many smaller players.
If your client is a brand name, then you should already be pleased to see an increase in ranking on major keywords, but if you are an SEO whose clients are amongst the millions of SMEs in this world, it could be a tough time ahead. Or if you are an SME hoping to break into the ranks of the top SERPS pages.
Our thoughts at the moment: start building a brand for yourself, and hope that you are in a sufficiently unique niche to maintain your rankings. And if your niche is highly competitive, then it may be time to consider more than just basic SEO to market your business. There are thousands of other techniques for online marketing which are often overlooked in the rush to satisfy the search engines, and now is the time to investigate them, practise them, and gain results from them.
We would also recommend taking a long hard look at your conversion rates once you have attracted visitors to your website. Even a few percentage points increase in conversions can make a phenomenal difference to your return on investment.