One of the biggest positives of SEO is it gives small businesses the opportunity to compete with larger businesses in terms of search engine rankings. It will often be the case that a specific keyword phrase that a small business has optimized for, will have been forgotten by a giant within that industry, and the smaller one appears higher in the ranking for that search.
One of the biggest levellers is no matter how small your budget is you can still optimise your website because SEO is very cost effective. Naturally, the big players will have huge marketing budgets, but the vast majority of that budget will be in relation to paid advertising, both offline and on.
When it comes to SEO, the majority of the tasks that need to be undertaken can be learned for little or no cost, and the actions thereafter require very little in the way of a budget. You might hire someone to write content or to do some research in terms back-linking opportunities, but you could just as easily do these yourself. The cost now is your time instead of money, but for many small business owners, this is the way it must be done until their revenue reaches a certain level.
The opportunities that local SEO offers for smaller local businesses is huge, and this has increased greatly, due to some of the changes Google has made to its ranking algorithms. Its Hummingbird update gave local businesses a ranking boost if they had certain factors optimized on their website such as name, address and telephone numbers. Being listed in local directories is also seen by Google as a positive.
A large, nationwide business is likely to target mostly broad, generic keywords and generally not concern themselves with the location of the person searching. By targeting and optimising for keywords which also include local cities, towns, districts and boroughs, small businesses who only wish to target local customers will often outrank these huge household names.