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12 Strategies for Small Business Owners to Improve Online Visibility in a Crowded Marketplace

6 Mins read

To help small business owners stand out in a crowded online marketplace, we asked founders, CEOs, and other industry leaders for their best tips. From leveraging user-generated content to maintaining a modern, attractive site, here are the top twelve insights these experts shared.

Leverage User-Generated Content

A great way for small-business owners to improve their online visibility is by leveraging user-generated content. If you sell products, especially products where visuals are engaging, in my case, it’s dog-related products, then UGC works great.

I encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media and to also use a unique hashtag for my brand. This makes it easy to track posts. From here, you can feature the best UGC on your own social media and website. This type of content is great if it also supplements a review!

UGC is a great way to stand out as it builds social proof, trustworthiness, and credibility. It also extends your reach without extra marketing spend.

Luka Maric, Founder, Dog Friendly Co.

Maximize SEO with Backlinks

It’s going to sound a bit self-serving as the owner of an SEO agency, but for dollar-spent value, there are few activities that will get you more benefit in improving online visibility than optimizing your SEO. This includes the basics such as optimizing your keyword rankings using tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, updating your meta descriptions and headings, lowering your loading speed, updating your mobile-friendliness, and general UX. 

But what you really want to ensure you have is high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your industry. This might be tricky to secure, especially if you’re looking for sites with a high DR, but in many ways, this is the most important step for ranking high in most search engines.

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind

Create Hyperlocal Content

Creating “hyperlocal content” is a unique strategy that has been deployed to enhance online visibility. This involves creating blog posts, videos, and even podcasts that focus intensely on local issues, events, or news, linking them to a product in a relevant manner. 

For instance, if there’s a local tech fair, content would be produced around it and subtly link how a software solves problems that local businesses at the tech fair might face.

This approach does two key things: it boosts local search rankings and profoundly resonates with the local audience. By mastering the art of hyperlocal content, one becomes more than a service provider; they become a community resource, gaining unique visibility that broadens their edge in a crowded marketplace.

Madhurima Halder, Content Manager, Recruit CRM

Monitor Competitors’ Online Presence

I made sure to monitor my competitors’ online presence to stay competitive in the marketplace. I stayed informed of their offerings, their pricing, and their online presence, and continually worked to stay one step ahead. By analyzing and understanding their market strategies, I was able to stay ahead of the competition and gain more visibility for my business.

Adil Advani, Digital PR and Marketing Director, AnySoftwareTools

Optimize Google My Business Profile

The biggest and easiest tip is to fully optimize your Google My Business profile. The way I see it, being lazy with getting all of those basics fixed and as clear as you can make them is a good way to leave a lot of visibility on the table. It doesn’t take that much time, but the consequences of not doing it can be pretty immense. People may have a hard time finding your business or, even worse, they might find your competitors instead, since they have similar keyword rankings.

Onno Halsema, CEO, Contentoo

Utilize Local Directories and Reviews

Leverage the power of local directories and review platforms. This will not only increase your online presence, but also make it easier for potential customers in your area to find you. 

For example, with my plate-number-making business, we claim our business listing on popular directories, like Google My Business. This helps our potential customers find our business when they search for plate-number makers in their area. It also boosts our credibility with positive reviews.

When you leverage directories and review platforms, you can encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on these platforms and respond to any feedback, whether positive or negative. This will show that you value customer opinions and are actively engaged with your audience.

Steve May, Owner, Number Plates 4 You

Provide Real Value in All Outputs

Make sure that everything you’re doing provides real value. Too often, small business owners looking to stand out are frustrated because they feel like they’re doing everything that they should but they aren’t seeing real results. What’s usually happening is that they’re making social media posts, writing blogs, and the like, just because they feel like they “have to.” 

Everything a business puts out there has to have real value for anyone who consumes it. Everything you do has to have a real strategy behind it. By focusing more on what you’re doing as opposed to the frequency with which you’ve been told to do it, you give yourself the best chance of standing out.

Danny Star, CEO, Websites Depot Inc.

Generate Video Reviews 

One highly effective tip for a small-business owner to improve online visibility in a crowded marketplace is generating and publishing video reviews on the website. Engaging and authentic visual testimonials capture the viewer’s attention, offering a genuine insight into a customer’s experience with a product or service. 

Reflecting the importance of this, in 2022, Google announced a new algorithm where video reviews became one of the major ranking factors. Products and services with authentic customer video reviews now have a significant advantage in achieving higher search rankings. Satisfied customers, moved by positive experiences, will refer the business to peers and share video testimonials across social networks. 

Each share multiplies the reach, organically boosting the company’s online visibility. Finally, video reviews have much higher conversion rates and engagement times than written testimonials.

Irina Poddubnaia, CEO, Founder, TrackMage

Differentiate Content and Engage Consistently

Navigating the vast digital landscape has been a learning journey. One invaluable tip I’ve embraced is the power of content differentiation and consistent engagement. Rather than simply following industry trends, we prioritize understanding our unique value proposition and then create niche, value-driven content tailored to our audience’s needs. 

By consistently sharing insightful blogs, engaging videos, and leveraging user-generated content from satisfied honeymooners, we’ve been able to build a distinct online presence. Furthermore, integrating this content with targeted SEO practices and regular engagement on social media platforms boosts our visibility.

In a crowded online marketplace, it’s not just about being seen; it’s about being remembered, and offering unique, quality content is the key.

Jim Campbell, Owner, Honeymoons

Publish Short-Form Videos

My best tip is to leverage short-form videos. These videos are engaging, easy to consume, and highly shareable on different online marketplaces. They’re also easy to go viral, which can help businesses stand out from the competition.

Small businesses can use platforms like Instagram Reels or TikTok to create fun and informative videos about their products or services. Additionally, as a small-business owner, don’t forget to optimize your videos with relevant hashtags, CTAs, and captions to reach a wider audience.

Daniel Willmott, Founder, Shortformvideo.co

Conduct Keyword Research and Split Testing

Two strategies are vital to keeping content updated and fresh for new audiences: keyword research and split testing. Keyword research helps brands understand and monitor what searches are trending and gaining popularity, as well as how much they relatively cost to bid on. 

Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method for optimizing content performance that asks audiences to choose the best option out of two or more to determine which is the stickiest. To optimize SEO and website performance, it is recommended to include relevant and popular keywords in content regularly and to update that content regularly as your site and popular keywords change. 

Split test the blog content you release, for example, or the visuals you use, etc., to determine what branding methods resonate best with your target audiences. Conversions depend on making a solid impression, and both strategies extend visibility and optimize content performance, securing that first impression.

Kevin Miller, Founder, kevinmiller.com

Maintain a Modern, Attractive Site

Improving online visibility for small-business owners in a crowded marketplace can be achieved through a modern, attractive site. Customers have high expectations today—to the point where if a business doesn’t have a solid website, it might as well not have one. Wordstream reports that about 75% of customers judge a company’s credibility based on the design of their website. 

It’s advisable to hire an expert to create your website. Doing it yourself can result in spending a lot of hours, and you might still encounter many glitches and end up hiring someone to complete the project. A website that functions the way you want it to, without the frustration that often comes with doing it yourself, can be completely worth it.

Aaron Winston, Strategy Director, Express Legal Funding

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Featured, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.

Online visibility stock image by Leszek Glasner/Shutterstock

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