For any small or large-sized business, SEO is an aspect of marketing that simply cannot be ignored. Whether you are a small company or large enterprise, if your website does not have the right search engine optimization strategies, it will be hard for their potential customers to find what they’re looking for.
However, no two SEO strategies are the same and that different types of companies need different types of SEO techniques. Let’s differentiate enterprise SEO and small business SEO in this Truelogic DX Podcast episode.
Berns San Juan:
Hi guys. Welcome to another episode of Truelogic DX Podcast and today we’re going to talk about the approach to doing SEO for large enterprises versus SMB. Let’s get started.
Small Business vs Enterprise
So I think the headliner for this conversation begins with what are the major stark differences between the approach to small business marketing in general and enterprise level marketing also in general.
Most of the people will immediately think of is of course budgets because an enterprise has way more resources at its disposal than SMBs. Not to say that they are not mindful of how that money is spent, but it’s just that the sheer volume of resources available to one versus the other makes their approach starkly different.
The other difference is bandwidth or manpower. An enterprise will simply have more warm bodies to throw at a problem than a small business. In fact, it isn’t uncommon in small businesses where the owner, the partner are part of their marketing team.It’s just one of the hats that they wear.
Whereas in enterprise level business, the owner is rarely involved in terms of the marketing itself. And most of the time they just get top level reporting because of the differences in resources, the differences in bandwidth that they throw at it, the strategy becomes different. And so this is what we’re going to try to break down and deep dive in today.
For me, always, SEO becomes free traffic. You do it once and so some people might be wondering, wait, don’t I pay for SEO month on month? Yes you do. But you do that to capture more opportunities. It’s just that the volume of opportunities an enterprise level business can capture versus the amount of opportunities a small business can capture are different.
One just simply has the ability to cast a wider net. The next one is dominance in a product or service category because again enterprise level businesses have the ability to just throw their weight at a problem. And so the ability to be market dominant, to gain market share becomes super easy for enterprise. Another one is, I would say, on page. Small business usually has the advantage because they don’t have to go through all the nitty gritty of 12 approvers, three months worth of this bureaucracy, and global governance. I would also say small businesses tend to be less brand rep sensitive because they can afford to be more end goal focused. They can afford to be more, how many leads did I get? How much was the cost of the lead? They can afford to be flexible that way.
Whereas with established brands, they do have to strictly keep to branding. Their brand bible, their messaging house, and so on and so forth. When I bring them up, we’re going to cover a couple of different things.
Difference of SMB SEO vs Enterprise SEO
In terms of technical SEO, SMBs tend to go with off–the-shelf technology, which I am such a fan of, by the way. Just full disclosure, I am a fan of people not having to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to build something from scratch when there’s something off the shelf that you can buy.
When it comes to web technologies, I’ve encountered a lot of businesses where they built their website on very proprietary, very captive technology only to be left behind by their developer and then nobody in-house knowing how to operate that technology. That’s problematic.
I think when you’re an enterprise, you assess how much automation you need, how customized your customer workflows are, what your operational processes are like, what data points you want to monitor. But when you’re a small business, you don’t need all of that. When you’re a small business, you need leads. And the simplest technologies have the ability to deliver that.
The other advantage of off the shelf technologies is having it on WordPress, doing it on Shopify, for example, even on Square Space. When you use off the shelf technology, not only are the people in your organization highly likely to be able to manage your website in the absence of a developer, but it’s unlikely to have those little quirky features where something prevents Google from scanning your pages and remembering your content.
I remember clearly in the earlier part of the year, we went through like four major site audit exercises where the clients had revamped their website. Sure enough, three out of four, when they revamped all of the value they created from the previous years just disappeared. And I think a lot of people tend to think, oh no, my developers will take care of that. No, your developers are not SEOs. So we had to spend months trying to help them recover the traffic, trying to get Google to scan the pages again, trying to get Google to remember the pages again.
In terms of technical SEO, SMBs usually have an advantage because they’re predisposed to taking off the shelf technology because off the shelf technology is cheaper to develop. They wind up with websites that are not very complex in terms of performance, when it comes time for Google to scan and remember the pages.
Whereas with enterprise businesses, they have to integrate it to this CRM, that inventory management tool, that database, that ERP and so on. So technology wise, there is a nimbleness that is available to SMBs that is usually not available to enterprise businesses.
When you are an enterprise, you have the ability to go after thousands and thousands of keywords. There have been situations where we work with one of the largest banks in the country. We targeted 75 keywords on the first page and we got over 270 keywords in the first three months on the first page, majority of them on position one.
In terms of keyword selection, it tends to be easier for enterprises to pick out their keywords because enterprise level businesses usually have really old domains, usually have PR behind them even before you do your SEO on it. If you guys are curious what I’m talking about, you should see this when you use tools like MOZ or let’s say even HFS where there’s an authority score, that’s attributed.
The MOZ data scores will tend to be higher on enterprise businesses, especially if they were somewhat active, even if they didn’t really know what they were doing. They tend to have very high authority scores and these higher authority scores make the lives of SEOs really, really easy because you can make a website to rank for wet cap, if you wanted to.
Whereas with small businesses, chances are there hasn’t really been any active PR going on. There’s not a lot of mentions on the web. They don’t have a lot of connections in some situations. There is that rare situation where they do. For example, hey got a grant, they’re a Filipino business. They went through their rounds of funding. They get publicized.
But as a general rule, when you work with enterprise level businesses, most of the time the off-page, the backlinks are already there and so when you focus on your own page, when you do the audit, you realize I could be significantly more aggressive when it comes to gunning for keywords.
I’ll give you two examples here. I would say pick your favorite online makeup store. There are a few that will come to mind like Watsons, Beauty Manila, these are things that will come off the top of your head.
And these businesses have already been around for a while. They’ve been doing e-commerce for the longest time. They’ve been mentioned in a lot of publications. And so the authority is there. If these guys wanted to rank lipstick, hair gel styling, they could. But if you are The Body Shop, you probably couldn’t gun for those keywords immediately. You would have to pick a niche. So you do have to be more discerning when it comes to your keyword selection when you are a small business versus when you are a large enterprise.
I’ll give you another example of where keyword selection really matters. SEO companies, digital marketing companies, may not necessarily be enterprise level businesses, but the keyword selection you have to do needs to be discerning because everybody you’re competing with knows how to do their SEO.
The point is you do have to find your niches and you do have to be more selective because your keyword selection is make or break for a small business. For enterprise businesses, throw a wide net, see what sticks and then work on the ones that do stick. For businesses with limited resources, you have to be selective about which keywords you want. You have to understand how your users are actually performing searches and then begin with those keywords.
The customer avatars enterprise level businesses will usually have is a wide swath. hen you are Unilever, you’re a P&G, it’s something to say that your customer is everybody. But in reality, your customer is not everybody.
If you are a Body Shop, you’re not competing with Unilever and you’re not competing with Procter & Gamble. At least, I hope you’re not because you will not win because what you are looking for are those people that are enthusiasts with products and service, with the products that you have.
From what I’ve observed, enterprise level brands tend to have matured their customer personas way further than small businesses. And in reality, the customer personas are more important to the small businesses than they are to the enterprise. They’re universally important, but because picking out a niche and knowing where you compete and where you don’t compete is more important to the small business than the enterprise. Logically, the small businesses ought to know who their customers are better than the enterprises do. But I would say most of the time it’s the reverse. I guess because enterprise level brands have the ability to support the research, have a marketing team and all that jazz, their customer personas tend to be more mature. But if you’re the owner of a small business and you’re listening to this, I hope you take your customer personas super seriously, because it’s what determines whether you make a few quick wins, especially in the beginning.
Now, one of the things that I mentioned earlier is taking a niche. And one of those niches that you can do is geotargeting. Let’s pretend you’re a national real estate developer. If you are an enterprise level real estate developer, it’s easy to compete for condos for sale. It’s easy to rank for them, or it’s easy to fight for those.
Let’s say you’re just a particularly enterprising real estate person or you’re a particularly enterprising real estate agent and you wanted to compete, then, knowing where you ought to compete best matters. Knowing that the most inventory you move tends to be in BGC means you don’t have to rank condos for sale.You can just gun for condos for sale in BGC or condos in BGC, two bedroom condos in BGC, BGC studios, but you can geotarget. And what I would recommend is when you pick out particular niches, do it based on where your inventory moves.
Pick your targets, not all targets are created equal. Some targets are easier to hit than others. One of the ways that you carve out a niche for yourself is by geo targeting or fencing where you’re doing your marketing. This, by the way, is not only true for SEO. This is also true for your social media. This is also true for your AdWords simply because you don’t have as many resources to throw as an enterprise means you have to be pretty discerning about who and where your ads are seen.
I think enterprise level businesses sort of have their hands tied when it comes to what kind of content they can put out there. I’ll give you guys a great example. Let’s take one of the standard banks like BDO, BPI, and Security Bank and then let’s compare them with Maya. Look at the content that Maya gets to produce. How come they are so prolific at being able to create content, how come they’re hitting so many topics that other people would not even dream of hitting.
And that’s probably because the big players, the bigger they are, the more afraid of regulation. They probably have either consultants on regulation or they have legal to consult or whatever like there’s just a ton of things that enterprise level businesses do. Meanwhile, Maya thinks like a technology company, not to say that they’re not an enterprise. But they surely behave like small businesses. And I mean, as a bank, they’re small. But if you think about it, take a look at how prolific these guys are with their content. They will just produce content for the Wazo. And the advantage of smallness when it comes to producing content is you don’t have to be super sensitive to all of the content that you produce.
You understand the search motivation, you talk to that search motivation. You help the user understand how you fulfill that promise, that service, that product. How do you ease that friction? How do you help them fulfill that opportunity? Enterprise businesses tend to be a bit slower, in this aspect.
And I think if you are a small business, you ought to take advantage of the fact that, sure you’re competing with Goliath, but they move like Goliaths. They don’t have the agility that you will have. Their decision making will not be as fast as yours and so I think in terms of content production, small businesses are at an advantage. As long as you’ve got a disciplined X number of hours every week dedicated to creating content, that solves your customer’s pain points, that identifies an opportunity or that eases a friction for your customers.
I think there are a lot of enterprise brands that really get their design like, wow. But I would say the better, more fun designs that I’ve seen tend to come from small businesses right now. Why is that? I think it’s probably because in enterprise level businesses, there are 12 cooks in the kitchen. And not to say that in SMBs, there are none, right.
In SMBs, there’s not necessarily one, but there might be? And getting consensus with two decision makers is significantly easier when there are four stakeholders and 12 lines of business owners. So small businesses have the advantage of coming up with edgier designs.
They have the opportunity to create more engaging content. They can compromise more on the design than on the designs that they create in order for them to be able to hit a target.
Now the last bit of images, I’ve got so many nightmare stories about enterprise level businesses obsessing over 1080 quality images on their website, which is insane. You’re not going to publish that image on a billboard. It’s going to be on a website and let’s face it 60 to 80% of the time, it is going to be on a viewpoint that’s the size of your hand.
And so I think when it comes to image use, I think enterprise businesses have the production capability and they can come up with really beautiful image outputs. But for small businesses, I will say, you’re dynamic, but don’t rip off somebody else’s image and don’t just stick to the low res images. Put some quality into it. So I think in the use of imagery, enterprise businesses have the advantage. However, the advantage that small businesses still have here is speed.
Creating a Market Niche
Creating a market niche is more essential to a small business. It’s probably a go-to strategy for small businesses, more than enterprises. Take advantage of it.
SMBs, you’re likely not gonna have thousands of SKUs. You’re likely not gonna have thousands of products. You’re gonna have a couple of dozen to a few hundred. Focus your energy and your resources on the inventory that influences 80% of your sale, 60% of your sale. You don’t have to do blanket optimization on all of your products.
The next one is an approach to strategy. I would say small business pivots are an advantage, whereas with enterprise level businesses, it’s a bit slower so it’s harder for them to pivot again, So it moves like a Goliath. I think small businesses should use that to their advantage.
You usually have the advantage of size and history on your side. Leverage it. I have worked on so many enterprise level businesses where we were able to double the traffic. And when I say double the traffic, we’re talking a few hundred, a few hundreds of thousands. We were able to double the traffic in like three months, six months because the business itself was not leveraging its history. It wasn’t leveraging its popularity. And in SEO, you have a way of leveraging.
So I would say for small businesses, you don’t have this. So avoid this metric. Don’t try to fight your enterprise level competition with history, with the size of a footprint with popularity, you have to fight them on a niche. You have to pick the ground where you pick your fight.
I hope that sort of gave you guys a good understanding of where the differences are between enterprise level SEO and small business SEO. This will be it for this episode of the Truelogic DX Podcast. If you’ve got any questions, comments, topic, suggestions up, let us know you can reach us on Facebook and on YouTube and subscribe to our Spotify, Google, and Apple accounts.