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The advantage of being a relatively small player

I’m often surprised at how many small companies don’t invest much in their websites because they consider it impossible to compete against the big names in their industry. If you work at one of the big names, you’ll might well find this situation hilarious, because almost all of the “big names” I know are hamstrung by hideous, boring corporate websites, where even a minor change can take weeks. If you’re at a small company, trust me, your contemporaries in big multinational competitors would gladly swap much of their big budgets for the flexibility you have to just get on and do things. So don’t waste that opportunity.

I would estimate that eight out of ten UK companies whose head office is on the continent (particularly if it’s Germany) are lumbered with websites which are terrible. Many of these large companies have marketing managers who are just doing the best they can (sometimes brilliantly) to work around corporate management which simply cannot understand how much better things could be.

Google Analytics? “Not allowed by head office”. Getting titles and tags sorted for SEO? “Our content management system doesn’t allow that”. A responsive website, or just bigger pictures? “No chance”. I know of major players in the UK – possibly your competitors – who have launched a blog or even an online store recently, but are “keeping it quiet, because we’re hoping that head office in Germany doesn’t notice”.

So while it’s true that Google is giving increasing prominence to major brands, don’t think you can’t compete. See it as a challenge to kick on. You can appear to be more of a major brand in Google’s eyes than you probably really are in terms of turnover, just by trying new things which the big names simply aren’t allowed to do. And you’d be amazed at what they’re not allowed to do.

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