Give your small business a big presence on the internet — by using your website to compete with (and outrank!) established brands.
The next time you visit Silicon Valley (or any of the fastest-growing tech cities in the US) and are standing in line at Pete’s Coffee waiting to place your order, ask the person behind you how they feel about net neutrality.1 I will Venmo you the cost of your coffee if their response is anything but 100% pure unadulterated support.
The reason why the topic of net neutrality invokes fiery responses from the tech community is the same reason why any business, regardless of size, revenue, or type, can use their website as a powerful marketing tool: the internet (and much of the open source code that powers it) was created as a global public resource that is open and accessible to all, making it the great equalizer. Whether you consider your business part of Wall Street or Main Street, all websites are ranked in search engines by a nonpartisan algorithm.
At this point in the conversation, it’s important to point out that I am referring to “organic” or “natural” search engine results — not online advertising. When I wrote “nonpartisan” in the previous paragraph, many of you probably raised your eyebrows because Google, the largest search engine in the US, is the tech giant it is today because of AdWords.
While Google’s AdWords algorithm was built in auction-style format and, therefore, designed to give preference toward certain advertiser characteristics, Google’s search engine algorithm operates around different parameters. There are certainly pros to using pay-per-click (PPC) as a part of a website marketing strategy, but the fact remains that it is a form of online advertising and can be cost-prohibitive for younger or smaller businesses.
Understanding a few basic features about Google’s organic search algorithm, combined with web design best practices, will put your small business on even ground with your bigger business counterparts and create an unbiased playing field (just like those in favor of net neutrality believe it should be).