If you have a small business and a smallish website, can you ever compete with bigger brands?

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You might think that a small business could never compete with a big store or a big chain store’s internet presence. Let’s suppose you have a hardware store with a local clientele that has been buying from you for many years. Can your website compete with those belonging to big national chains? According to Matt Cutts, it can.

We’ve talked about Mr. Cutts before. He is the “Face of Google.” He appears in an apparently endless stream of informal videos on behalf of Google, answering questions, explaining changes and updating the public on the way Google operates. Truly, Google is such a complex machine that a little explaining is required for most of us.

In a video posted on April 23rd of this year, he addresses this question about small websites. He claims that a small site can indeed compete with larger sites. Large companies often develop multiple levels of approvals for any sales or marketing campaigns so they are notorious for becoming slower, lumbering dinosaurs when compared to small companies where the CEO or owner is in direct contact with the people running marketing or the website.

The key to competing is to have quality, relevant content. In some instances, the company that can activate the most relevant, quality content the fastest can win web visitors, interest, sales and steady customers.

Let’s go back to our hardware store. Let’s look at the owner of that store who has a person right in the hardware store office who maintains the website, creates online flyers and specials and adds content that the customers might find interesting. And now let’s imagine a media event that relates to the hardware store – like a major celebrity gets interviewed on a large cable network and says that next week, he is going to go work on a couple of Habitat for Humanity houses. (This is an organization that builds or renovates homes for charitable purposes. People who live in substandard housing or can’t afford a home can receive an affordable home courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.)

In a small, nimble company, the CEO and website engineer can have a promotional campaign worked up in an hour and posted in a couple of hours. They can announce a donation of building supplies to the celebrity’s project or offer to match donations from their customers. The nimble store might also get some media coverage by calling a local television station and getting them out to interview the CEO and shoot some footage of customers donating to the charity.

It might take the large store a week to plan and launch an online campaign.

In that intervening time, if the local public looks online for information about the celebrity’s project, they are likely to find the small store’s information.

Mr. Cutts recommends focusing on a specific aspect of your business that might give you an edge in your corner of the business. Just do a very good job of providing superior content that relates to the products or services you provide.

This is, of course, a service that Visual Edge Design can provide for you. You should be thinking of updating your site with relevant information about your field on an ongoing basis, answering questions your potential customers might have and providing tips that help people understand the best way to utilize your products or services. Your site will be rewarded for having valuable, timely, relevant content. Now, the way that Google figures out that your content is valuable, timely and relevant – we’ll have to take that up at another time, in another blog post.