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Is it easier to be an SEO for a small business or a big business?


David Bain is Head of Growth for (formerly Analytics SEO), with over 10 years of  experience in SEO. David is also Founder and Host at Digital Marketing Radio.


Advantages of small businesses:

  • Can make decisions more quickly
  • Can change their websites more quickly (fewer decisions and approvals needed)
  • Can multitask between all aspects of digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, technology, etc.).


In a small business, SEO specialist is content marketer and vice versa. They have to know what the other is doing. A recent poll has showed that most of top-level CMOs have no focus, background or training on SEO, while it is time to marry the two practices back together.


For big businesses, this represents a challenge – SEO and marketers do not communicate enough. Although SEO is more technical, and content marketing is more artistic, they should work together.




  • Can leverage live events: report, broadcast, comment on live niche events (through Twitter, Periscope). Such reporting might bring even small blogs to top search results on certain news in Google. Smaller business can be more opinionated and controversial – take this straight to social media; this might bring more ranking by Google.
  • Can be more seasonally focused and strategic: while big businesses want to be ranked for big keywords that bring big traffic all year-round, small ones can choose less popular keywords that are more visible during certain months (look at stats!).



Small businesses need to take advantage of every single advantage that they’ve got. Partner up internally (with offline marketers – good in writing content), and externally (partners, affiliates, your network members, who can assist with driving traffic to your website).




How we do SEO (example of a radio show):

Move from link building to link fostering → produce content based on a show:

  • after the show, upload a video of it to YouTube;
  • transcribe the show (several blog posts of the whole one-hour talk);
  • submit the show to iTunes/UK podcast websites;
  • ask the guests to mention the show on their resources and involve their friends;
  • get social shares.


Below are stats of what happened without much link building, only due to content, shares, and links (stats in blue compared to competitor’s in red):





Advantages of big businesses:

  • Re-optimize existing, authoritative pages (change keywords to get more ranking on your most visited pages);
  • Build with future in mind (you have to take time to make decisions, so use this time to strategically plan your future SEO – e.g., your next year’s 1,000 keywords you want to be ranked for, 100 pieces of content you want to publish, work with your content writers) – plan on big scale to overwhelm what a small business does;
  • Integrate SEO with other marketing activities. Explain it simple.




  • Optimize your website for keywords that your competitors rank for;
  • Relate with your audience – e.g. speak of SEO benefits, not technical, to content marketers, and involve content marketing to reach your SEO goals;
  • Optimize what’s done in different departments of the business to take full advantage of SEO;
  • Explore ‘unknown unknowns’ – something big businesses don’t know they don’t know, e.g. search for new opportunities in realms that are only slightly relevant to the business. Understand related nature of the marketplace.




  • Explain the value of big data to in-house marketers: decisions should be made based on relevancy for the business and ROI:




  • Find your strong competitors – recognize you’re not going to be #1 for long, but as long as there is demand, your supply would be relevant as #2 or #3 as well. Start benchmarking yourself against competitors;
  • Look at what you can optimize of existing keywords & maintain your traffic you already have with your highest-ranking pages;
  • Optimize those keywords you’re not ranking for.




  • Big businesses have bigger budgets – use it!
  • Big businesses are less reactive – they can plan for future.



Irina Titova



  • David Bain

    Thanks for having me on Anton! It was great to share my thoughts and hear from your lovely audience! I think it’s an intriguing topic as if you’re an SEO that works for a small business, you can probably do things more quickly, but with a smaller budget. However, if you work for a larger company you’ll probably have to take longer to do things, but you’ll have a bigger budget!