Competing With Larger E-Commerce Big Brands If You Are Small Online Retailer

Competing with big brands is indeed a big deal. It is one of the most frustrating things whilst working with e-commerce SEO. These retailers include John Lewis and Amazon that stocks almost anything and everything and ranks on top of the SERPs for any commercial term. If you are a small retailer, then outranking such big brands at the top of the SERPs can have such an impact upon sales.

If you are a small retailer, then there is no denying the fact that outranking or beating these brands in terms of topping in the SERPs is quite tough and the impact it will have on sales. It’s probably too easy to give in and assume that it’s never going to be easy to knock them off the top spots, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

The concept of offering is a hot debate and also one of the most common discussions amongst SEOs and ecommerce retail shops. Stores that are smaller usually offer a diverse range of high quality products within a particular niche with far better experience and services that are quite good. Such smaller brands are known to be experts in their field, but these big brands are known to outrank them and acquire sales by stealing it from them.

Even if this is the bigger picture, it is still possible to rank well in the SERPs above these retailers and you just need to understand why they are ranking well and how to get there. Chalk out a plan and get to work!

Bigger brands are known to get away with the fact that they do SEO differently than others. They are reaping benefits from very high domain authorities. Ecommerce giants like Amazon, eBay, John Lewis, and many other brands will regularly appear on TV and all over the press. This would mean that, it would be easier to rank them for even the most competitive terms, regardless of an optimized title tag, optimized H1 tag, a best practice URL structure, optimized page content and high quality links pointing directly towards the ranking of the page.

But what they don’t have is niche relevancy. You can prove this just by looking at domain authority in comparison to the relevancy of sites ranking on the SERPs. If we do a search for ‘silver cross dolls pushchairs, we will find top two ranking search results. They return – and as we see that ‘play like mum’ is a smaller brand that has outclassed a brand like ‘Tesco’. ‘Play like mum’ has a smaller domain authority than ‘Tesco’, but still ranks higher than the brand. Why?

The ranking page is just a general category rather than one of the dedicated retailers at Silver Cross dolls’ category as the is. Retailers like Tesco, stocks thousands of product ranges from groceries to gadgets and everything else. Although it might not be able to rank on domain authority, but it is a specialist retailer who can provide you with the opportunity to develop some kind of niche store that can outrank big brands at all times by building a store that search engines would recognize as an authority.

So what is your plan of action going to be to beat these big brands? Here are some steps to what you can do to stay on top of your game and crawl way to the top in terms of rankings besides such big brands.

Do Not Focus On Wrong Keyword – if you are a big brand, then you can get away with targeting high volume head terms due to the fact that you have a higher domain authority and thus stands a higher chance to rank higher, plus you will be able to generate a higher CTR or conversion rate in comparison to a smaller brand. If you are a small ecommerce store that wants to remain in the market and do business, then you need to focus on important terms and this will not disappoint you. In order to rank well on the SERPs, you have to understand that you need to have a higher domain authority, especially with head terms even if your site is content heavy and is relevant to your business. You have to work around this and there is nothing much you can do anything about it. That’s how SEO works – bottom-line.

For competitive and broader keywords, it will take at least a year to rank on the SERPs. Focusing on long tail keywords is the trick to get ranking. You need to allocate a lot of resources to rank for broader keywords. With long tail keywords you will be able to take on the bigger brands, and attain a higher conversion rate. Isn’t that sounds good for small time marketers?

Do Not Use Stock Product Descriptions – Do not use stock manufacturer product description as it is a bad practice.You won’t be drawing any SEO benefits from that. It’s probably not possible; to always write down product descriptions for bigger brands to make it look unique and quite engaging. Where there are hundreds and thousands of products this would take even the largest teams than the typical lifespan. This is where you can gain some ground as a smaller retailer. Do not use product descriptions supplied by manufacturers. You might want to use them as a base, but take some time out to rewrite these descriptions.

You must also think a way out as to how to add value to the present content in a way that it is unique and useful to others. Use a 360 degree product view. Also use images including buying guides, case studies, and videos. Think outside the box and think of something more than content.

Turning Category Pages Into in-Depth Guides – Your categories and sub-categories page is an opportunity to educate and let people or your audiences know about your product. You will want to read more than just 50 to 100 words. You will want to get the bigger picture. So do that. Write for your audience. If you are practicing SEO like old times, like keyword stuffing, then you are simply wasting time. Think ways to add value to your users through in-depth, engaging content across your major categories. You must concentrate on the user intent and build your page accordingly. Knowing the intent of the user landing on the category pages form the SERPs will help you solve the problem. It takes a lot of time, investments and ample resources to get something in return.

Content Marketing Campaigns – Thinking Outside The Box – Big brands need to pass content marketing campaigns through different layers of red tape which may lead to loss of innovation. Content marketing is not advertising – just so you know. There is no need to create any content marketing campaigns around your products. This way you are reducing the reach that way. also, if you are doing it for link building purposes, then chances are you will be losing the interest of the journalists.

Here is an example – if you are a small retailer operating in women’s fashion nice, you will probably struggling to provide much traction, in terms of links and coverage from different top publications so that you can let users know about different style guides through your blog every day. Do not bother them with such news as they can create such news on their own without much hesitation. Are they really going to link to you, if you are beginning from start. Chances are probably no.

Learn to think outside the box. You should take some time to come up with a good concept and develop something that is not only engaging but that will interest the journalists but won’t be able to recreate easily or quickly. For example – ‘You vs. the kardashians’, is a perfect example. This lets you enter your annual salary and see how quickly Karadashian Jenner clan earned this. This works perfect with target market for e-commerce shop for the campaign including retailing clothing to millennium females. This is not exactly advertising.

Using People To Build Links – Your Top People I Meant! – Assets that are linkable and of great value, do not necessarily have to be content and could be anything. In case you are working on a small budget chances are that it is time consuming and costly. It might be true that you may have a hard time building links if you don’t use content. That may be true to some extent. But then there is other news.

If you are a marketer with a small retailer, there is a good chance, that you will have direct access to brains of your business experts in the industry with many years of experience under their belt. They can be your best asset and even help you earn links. Take time to build great relationships with key publishers and journalists, who can help you with expert commentary. A quick phone call or even an email would help provide a quote. This way you could request a link back and contribute without any problem.

Developing such relationships directly is the way to go. But also keep track of HARO and #journorequest for any kind of request and can jump into them and benefit from them. Bigger brands have a harder time to quote when there is an opportunity, and this way you will be cited time and again over such key players in the industry.

Conclusion – Do not lose focus. It will surely take time to knock off big brands and climb to the top spot in the SERPs,but it is doable with the following mentioned techniques above. Just think outside the box and things will fall into place.These companies are known to perform SEO a little differently than the rest of us.


Udit Khanna is a Digital Marketing Course professional at Expert Training Institute, an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Social Media, etc. who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Udit worked as a marketing professional for various startups and tech companies. He graduated with B.Sc from IGNOU with a dual degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Finance).

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