Do small sites still have a chance?

John Mueller was asked if search results are piled up on small sites, creating a situation that gives large companies an advantage. Mueller acknowledged that big companies are tough to compete with. But he also showed that the advantage is not exclusive to firm size.

As you will see, big sites have drawbacks that a small site can exploit for a competitive advantage.

Do small businesses stand a chance?

The person who asked the question asked John Mueller if small businesses are at a disadvantage compared to large businesses because of the way displayed advertising for certain search queries pushes organic search results further down the page, obscuring increase the search visibility of small brands.

The person in the Google hangout during office hours asked:

“In some industries, would it be unfair for Google Shopping ads to appear next to ads displayed at the top of search, as this pushes organic search results and small organizations further and further down the page?

Do small organizations stand a chance of competing with large companies? »

Competing with large companies is difficult

The question was very specific, but Mueller’s answer approached the issue from a more general perspective, as his answer didn’t even mention the situation with advertising driving down organic rankings.

Mueller’s response also touched on the idea of ​​whether Google favors big brands.

Jean Mueller replied:

“I don’t know…I think it’s almost like a philosophical question.

From our perspective, it’s definitely not the case that we’re trying to focus on big websites or something like that.

But from a purely practical point of view, obviously if you’re a small business and you’re trying to compete with bigger companies, then it’s always going to be difficult.

Competition is not a question of size

Mueller then used actual search ranking history to show that the competition has always been about effort to create an optimized website and user experience, not site size.

What he said is true. Small brands have easily outperformed big brands because big companies have taken years to recognize the value of SEO.

The big brands’ infatuation with Macromedia Flash didn’t help their SEO, but it was great for smaller sites that knew better.

Muller continued:

“And especially on the web, one of the things that I’ve noticed over time is that in the beginning a lot of big companies were basically incompetent when it came to the web and they were making horrible websites. .

And their visibility in search results was really bad.

And it was easy for small websites to come in and kind of like say, well, here’s my little website or my little bookstore, and all of a sudden your content is visible to a lot of users.

And you can have that moment of success very early on.

But over time, as big companies also realized the value of search and the web in general, they grew their websites.

They have really competent teams, they work very hard to create a fantastic web experience.

And this kind of situation means for small businesses that it is much more difficult to establish themselves there, especially if there is a very competitive existing market.

And it’s less about big or small companies.

It’s more about the competitive environment in general.

Small businesses should focus on their strengths to be competitive

While it may seem like big brands have insurmountable advantages, that’s not really the case.

One of the common reasons I find a small business can’t rank is because the SEO person basically only knows “instructions” for how to do SEO. But they don’t really understand how search works.

While knowing instructions by heart like “put your keywords in the title and headingsare a starting point for SEO, it’s just not competitive against a company that has a more advanced understanding of how search engines work.

It’s like the difference between knowing a recipe and understanding how to cook.

The person with a recipe will create their pork roast using cream of mushroom soup and a can of cola.

With their limited experience, they will feel like they can cook.

They know how to follow a recipe. But they don’t really know how to cook.

And that’s the situation some smaller sites that struggle to compete tend to find themselves in.

Sometimes (not always) it is because there is a lack of knowledge that prevents them from realizing their competitive potential of small sites.

John’s advice on how small businesses can be competitive is helpful.

Muller continued:

“And that’s something where you, sort of, as a small business, you should probably focus more on your strengths and the weaknesses of the competitors and try to find an angle where you can shine where others don’t. don’t have the ability to shine too.

Which could be specific types of content, or specific audiences or anything along those lines.

Kind of like how you would do that with a normal physical business as well.

Small sites have competitive advantages

Mueller is right, small sites can have advantages and can do things that big brands don’t always have the speed or inclination to try.

Speed ​​is a small advantage of the site. But it’s only useful when there’s a good plan behind it.

Another advantage is the audacity to create links.

Big brands don’t always have the nerve to ask for a link. The reluctance to take risks is a big disadvantage for the brand.

Having built small sites that quickly overtook big brands, I know firsthand how bold is an advantage. There are top-ranking sites in a variety of industries that started small.

Do small sites have a chance to compete with large organizations? Yes, they do.

But competition in 2022 is tougher regardless of company size.


Can small sites compete with big brands?

Watch at 38:15 minutes:

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