Everybody who works for an SEM agency, has worked for one in the past, or just visits Fortune 500 company websites from time to time, has probably had this thought at least once or twice; “If only they got it…”. Some websites have much potential, but almost seem to refuse it.
Although topping the SERPs was much easier in the past, we still live in a time where small websites still stand a chance. In about five years, developing a website from scratch and making it profitable within two years (without touching AdWords), will be pretty hard. Why? Because within the next 5 years, most large companies will finally “get it”. These companies will finally realize what they have, how they can use it, and what they can do with it.
A lot of Fortune 500 company domain names were amongst the first 10,000 domains that were registered. Do you seriously think that it would be hard to outrank your 1999 lcd tv related domain? Think again. Take a look at Philips, for example. This manufacturer of electronic appliances registered their domain name back in 1987. Try outranking that.
Websites that have been around since the mid 1990s, have probably been attracting links since the mid 1990s as well. Not only will 15 years of link attraction result in a LOT of links, but a lot of OLD links as well. With Philips again as an example, you’ll see that they have over a million links pointing to the .com domain alone. They have around 75 tlds with unique content and unique links. Another great example is Nike, with just under 2 million links.
Now think of what would happen if they’d actually start leveraging these links, let alone optimizing them. No matter if they keep or ditch the Flash, I’m pretty sure that Nike would finally be topping the SERPs for ‘running shoes‘. And this is even without having to obtain new links…
The problem with most Fortune 500 websites isn’t a lack of good content, but the enormous amounts of country selections, Flash, redirects, session IDs, CMS URLs and other search engine barriers blocking this content. If these barriers are removed, not only search engines will be able to find (and rank) a lot of extra content, but visitors will find it as well, through these search engines. The same goes for the linkerati.
I mentioned links before, but the ease of getting attention in the media is worth mentioning as well. If you have developed one of the most brilliant products or services ever, you will find that -even then- it’s pretty hard to get attention or coverage in the media. For some companies, there are entire (and popular!) websites dedicated to news and rumors about new products. Even bad news, such as a big layoff, can result in hundreds of new links from authority news websites.
Whether it’s a team of link developers, web designers or marketeers, large companies have lots of them. Bunches of ’em. And if they’re still short of well-skilled personnel, they tend to just hire a few extra, either directly or outsourcing via an SEM agency. Large companies have complete departments that can develop stuff in a single day, that would’ve taken you (or your team, if you’re lucky) at least a few weeks.
Massive paid link budgets? Not a problem. Developing a kick-ass piece of linkbait for several thousands of dollars? Not a problem. Hiring top notch experts from every internet marketing related field to provide input? Not a p… you get what I mean. Don’t you just love it when money isn’t an issue? Well, for most large companies, this almost seems true. They’ll probably have to convince only a few folks and the money tap will be turned wide open.
Being small has advantages…
Like I’ve mentioned before, being small has its advantages as well. Massive companies will never beat a small business owner on passion, dedication or speed. This is where small websites still have an advantage, but that’s about it.
My advice for everybody who is thinking about developing a website? Do it now! Before all large companies suddenly “get it”.