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How Smaller Sites Can Rank Higher on Google with a Few Adjustments

by Nishad Jiwa
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Having a website is a great way to promote your products and services to mass audiences. However, how does a smaller site compete with more established sites and brands? Can your site rank higher on Google even with competitors using the top keywords for higher conversions? The answer to these questions lies in Google’s latest diversity update. The latter rolled out earlier this month and is designed to help smaller sites rank better for competitive keywords.

Here are some essentials of this recent update:

  • Google will limit the number of times a domain (URL) can appear in a single SERP.
  • No more than two URLs from the same domain will appear within a single SERP.
  • The update helps upstarts and smaller websites compete for keywords and rankings previously dominated by heavy hitters.

With this in mind, you should adjust your keyword searches to see which ones are not in use by competitors. However, make sure to bid for higher-ranking keywords as well; your site may have a chance to rank better among seasoned sites with high-volume conversions.

Is the New Update Working for Webmasters?

While the rollout is still relatively new, Searchmetrics continues to analyze and assess its results. So far, the study conducted between March 2019 – June 2019 shows that zero results were found with more than 3 URLs from one domain. Similarly, 3.5% of searches containing 3 URLs from one domain were down 6.7%. This means the promise to limit domains from hogging SERPs with more than two ranking positions is working. Here are some more findings from the recent study:

  • 2% of searches with two URLs from the same domain are up by 1%.
  • 3.5% searches returned unique domains for queries and keyword searchers alike.
  • Google is also correlating search/user intent with site diversity to showcase smaller brands that want to become competitive.

As a site owner, you must continue to produce relevant and industry-specific content. While Google is opening the doors for smaller brands to compete, they will not sacrifice quality for site visibility. Similarly, you cannot increase your keyword volumes in the hopes of ranking better in SERPs with just one domain. Simply adjust your keyword sets to reflect brand messaging and URL correlation. Do not forget to include images, videos, and content lists for featured snippets as well.

Other Adjustments for Smaller Sites

While Google’s diversity update is in full swing, it will not affect all search results. In other words, the change will not be reflected across the board for all site owners. In fact, this is more of a slight adjustment than an actual update to existing algorithms. Still, Google will continue to show more results from single domains depending on content, context, and relevancy. They will also scrub and crawl keywords to give smaller sites better chances of competing with bigger brands. While sub-domains will be treated as a single domain, you can still promote your main URL and sub-site (blog, store, etc.) within a single SERP. If this is not sufficient for promoting your brands to local or geo-specific audiences, here are a few more things you can try:

  • Target keywords (low and high relevance) that bigger sites aren’t interested in competing on.
  • Long-tail keywords are now the norm as opposed to the exception. Expand your bases with detailed keywords that help users find exactly what they are looking for. For example, “Austin SEO” to “best SEO agency in Austin for marketing”.
  • Provide more valuable content for users and aim to become a relevant resource in your niche. This can bypass the competition that tends to scale back on this vital technique.

Smaller sites can even benefit by building 1-on-1 engagements that bigger sites tend to ignore. Remember to associate your brand in every piece of content without overwhelming your audiences. Google rewards sites that solve problems and give meaningful content for users looking for answers to their problems and searches.

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