How to Outrank Contractors When They’ve Got Bigger SEO Budgets
No matter what trade you’re in, you’ll always face competition to rank your website. And when you’re facing bigger companies with bigger SEO budgets it can feel impossible to see results. But bigger isn’t always better.
There’s more than one way to improve your Google rankings (hint: it’s about putting your customers first) and we’ll show you how.
SEO looks great on paper.
You pump out helpful content, you direct backlinks to your site, and you make your website fast and easy to use. These are the business competition strategies you need to use when it comes to SEO. In return, Google rewards you with higher rankings. But it’s never that easy in reality…
Whether you’re looking to get more leads in your local suburb, or you want to rank for customers nation-wide, there’s always going to be competition.
If you’re new to the SEO game, competing with well-established businesses feels impossible. It’s tough to win a race when everyone else has been running for ages and you’re still waiting at the starting line.
Here’s the good news – SEO isn’t about who has the deepest pockets. It’s about who can show they’re the most trusted, relevant and helpful website for any given search.
In this article, we’ll show you why it’s not the size of your competitor that matters, explain how to outrank someone with an SEO budget 10x bigger than yours, and provide a few business competition strategies to help you with your SEO.
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Common SEO problems
You’re here because you know a little about SEO already. You know it takes a site with no technical problems, the best content, and a handful of strong backlinks pointing your way. But you’re STILL not ranking on Google.
And that’s frustrating as hell. If you’re going up against a national brand with a million dollars to go towards their SEO, what chance do you have?
Turns out you have a pretty damn good chance.
The problem is you’re picking the wrong battles. You can’t outgun the biggest brands by targeting keywords they’re already ranking for. But you CAN outgun them by changing your approach and attacking their weaknesses. Because big brands aren’t perfect. It’s true they can swallow big keywords with thousands of monthly searches like ‘kitchen renovation’ – and that’s fine. You don’t necessarily want to be competing for a broad search term like that anyway. (although if you’re ambitious you might want to target these too).
People searching for ‘kitchen renovation’ might browse pictures to kill time, or for their kid’s school assignment. They might want to see how much it cost their neighbor Dave who claimed he got mate’s rates on his last reno. Or they might want to read about kitchen design choices without wanting to spend a dollar.
The goal is to target a range of keywords. Especially the keywords that people search when they’re about to splash the cash on home improvement
The point is, big brands often swallow broad keywords. But there’s no guarantee those broad keywords are driving customers. You can tip the odds in your favour by targeting keywords with less competition, but with more likelihood of leads. The more niche you go, the more chances you have to secure leads while the big boys waste their time.
For example, instead of targeting ‘kitchen renovation’ you target “luxury kitchen renovation in (your suburb)”, or “affordable granite kitchen benchtop installation”.
Instead of competing with the big boys for a broad keyword, you’re focusing on a niche keyword with less competition, but is more likely to lead to new business. After all, who do you think is closer to making a purchase, someone who Googled ‘kitchen renovation’ or someone who’s on Google looking for “luxury kitchen renovation in (your suburb)” or “affordable benchtop installation,” specifically in granite?
You can outrank your competition by working to your strengths. Being a small trades business makes you nimble, and here’s how you use that to your advantage.
To help you appear in local searches you’ll need to optimise your site to include local keywords. You can also add specific location pages for all your suburbs so anyone searching will feel like your business was set-up to help them.
Let’s say you’re a Sydney plumber. By adding a page for Penrith 24 Hour Plumbing, Parramatta 24 Hour Plumbing and Blacktown 24 Hour Plumbing you’ve made it easy for Google to see you offer a service in the areas people are looking for help.
Step #2 – Focus on long tail keywords
Alright, quick SEO recap.
Your customers use keywords to find business online, for example ‘Melbourne Builder’. This is known as a short tail keyword. If you want to outrank your competition you need to ignore these broad, short terms.
70% of keywords searched come from long tail keywords, typically 4 words or up. Instead of trying to rank for ‘Melbourne Builder’ which will see you go up against Metricon, Lend Lease and other giants who can outspend you ten times over, you want to rank for longer, more niche keywords.
Think ‘best bathroom renovator St. Kilda’.
Going a long tail will deliver less site visitors but that’s a GOOD thing. Because the people who end up on your site are more likely to be looking for help with their renos, and they’re looking for local businesses in St. Kilda.
With this approach you stop competing with the big boys, and start snapping up long tail keywords with significantly less competition – with the added bonus that site visitors are more likely to become customers sooner rather than later.
#3 – Focus on the quality of your content
SEO isn’t a direct result of who spends the most, but who provides the best experience for search engine users.
So the big boys aren’t ranking because their brand name is more well known, it’s because they can afford to pay for SEO experts who know *exactly* how to provide the best experience for search engine users.
It’s possible to spend $10,000 a month on SEO and see zero results if your agency has no clue what they’re doing, so don’t let someone else’s monthly spend scare you. If you, or your SEO agency, knows how to find low-competition keywords and create content that makes people go “wow, this has helped me solve my problem AND answered questions on the topic I didn’t know I had” then you’ve got a shot at outranking anyone.
Once you’ve found low-competition topics, it’s a matter of making sure your content is the best available. It should be in-depth, full of practical tips, look professional, include videos, pretty much anything that’s going to help someone solve the problem they have.
This is called ‘creating a high barrier to entry’. And this is how you crush your competition!
Google wants to give people the best possible content, and if you make your content the best then you make it tough for anyone to outrank you. You’ll have made the barrier to entry too high for them.
Will I need an SEO agency to help me implement these strategies?
Not necessarily, but it does help.
Every piece of content we provide at Tradie Digital (like this article) is created to help you manage your own SEO if that’s what you want to do. The problem in this case is you need to understand how to find the right long tail keywords to save you wasting time.
Eye-catching blogs and articles are easy to read, but not so easy to put together. Creating quality content requires in-depth keyword research and thought about what’s going through your customer’s mind. Then answering their questions effectively at each stage of the buying cycle.
It’s not as simple as picking a random keyword and stuffing it into your articles and blogs. You’ll need your own keyword research tools and the time to master them, but if you’re keen to get the ball rolling you can play around with free tools like Google Trends, Answer The Public, and Google Keyword Planner for example.
If you take one thing away from this guide only, let it be this – there’s no reason to be scared off by competitors with bigger SEO budgets. By staying nimble, nailing your local SEO, and targeting the right keywords, you can improve your SEO without spending millions.