Boost Small Business Marketing with Semrush | Conquer Competition & Get Results

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Are you an entrepreneur or an SMB owner who dreams and wants to take on big brands and make your mark in the industry? If yes, then you just hit the jackpot! In this blog, I am going to help you identify ways you can take on big brands without burning your hard-earned cash, mortgaging your house, and selling your car!

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But before we begin, let me make it very clear: this is a bit of a tough nut to crack. Look, I am all about Optimism and positive thinking, but I am a practical thinker and a realist too.

It takes time and effort, a lot of effort to turn this vision into a reality. But it can be done. There are ways you can take on these market Goliaths with a little help from slingshots!

As the world goes digital, small businesses do not necessarily need a big corporate office, a massive team, or millions of dollars to burn advertising. You can take on these brands with simple yet effective online tools.

Trust me, there are so many out there, but small businesses and entrepreneurs are not using it to their fullest.

So, let’s find out how you can achieve what a lot of small business owners think is unachievable. But before we begin, let’s understand some of the challenges you will encounter while taking on big brands.

What challenges do Small Businesses Face Against Big Brands?

What challenges do small businesses face against big brands?
What challenges do small businesses face against big brands?

When small businesses enter the market, they have to take on big brands. While they have the advantage of super flexibility and agility, they do face certain challenges.

Here’s the list of those challenges:

1. Brand Recognition and Established Reputation

This is the biggest challenge for small businesses. Bigger brands have established amazing brand recognition as they have been in the business for a long and have spent big sums on branding. When smaller brands enter the business, they face the challenge of making their voice heard in front of such brands.

And there is more than one small business vying for that small piece of the pie! So, the competition to get recognized gets even tougher. Moreover, the established brands have made themselves a part of customers’ lifestyles.

They have a proven track record and reputation that compels potential customers to choose a bigger brand instead of you.

amazon representative
Amazon and other small businesses in the marketplace. Image created using Chat-GPT Dall-E.

Let’s take an example of Amazon. Imagine you are planning to buy a T-shirt online. You enter the specifications in Google, and many online stores pop up on the search result. There is Amazon, and then there is a plethora of other websites, too.

Your natural response would be to go to Amazon to buy that product. Even if other online stores sell it cheaper, you would most likely opt for Amazon. Reason? Well, the Brand Recognition and Established Reputation!

2. Limited Resources

This is a major cause of concern for almost every single Small Business. While big brands have practically infinite budgets to burn on their marketing campaigns, small businesses don’t.

Small businesses are constrained with limited budgets when it comes to marketing, SEO, and content creation. This makes it difficult to compete with the larger budgets and resources at the disposal of bigger brands.

limited resources
Small businesses with limited resources due to budget constraints. Image created using Chat-GPT Dall-E.

And it’s not just about money. Small businesses have small teams, and most of these team members often juggle multiple roles! E.g., your web developer could be your web designer, content writer, and even your digital marketer. While this might sound interesting, it greatly reduces the team’s efficacy.

So, the lack of a dedicated workforce for certain tasks can hinder small businesses’ ability to compete with bigger brands on various digital platforms. On the contrary, big brands either have massive in-house teams to handle all their marketing stuff or outsource this task to large advertising and marketing agencies by giving them a big fat monthly cheque.

3. Challenge to Stand Out

As I mentioned earlier, bigger brands have established their presence for a long. So, their online presence, too, is very strong. They have well-established websites with powerful domain authority that places them as industry experts in your niche.

They also have massive backlink profiles, which makes it difficult for small brands to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. And when a small business does not appear online at the top, it fails to stand out in the market.

standing out
Stay competitive in front of all big brands. Image created using Chat-GPT Dall-E.

Another problem that often hounds small businesses is the surge of content. There was already infinite content out there, and with the arrival of AI, the amount of content that brands (big and small) are churning out is crazy.

Although AI-powered content is still unable to human-generated and factual content, it still makes life difficult for small business owners. They struggle to stand out and ensure their content reaches the target audience in this biblical flood of content.

4. Keeping Up with the Digital Evolution

Search Engine algorithms are constantly evolving. What content strategy worked for you yesterday might not work today. So businesses have to adapt to these rapid changes and upgrades. Whether it’s search engines or social media platforms, businesses must adopt the latest trends and tactics to stay relevant.

While this might not be a challenge for bigger brands, small brands often struggle to adapt with their limited resources and smaller teams.

digital evolution
The digital evolution. Image created using Chat-GPT Dall-E.

Moreover, the tech stack keeps evolving, making it compulsory for businesses to use the latest technology. Again, smaller businesses might be unable to make that switch as quickly as bigger brands.

Now, if you feel that there is no hope left for Small businesses, that’s exactly where you are wrong! While Small Businesses do face these challenges, there are a lot of tools available that can bring the balance in their favor! One such tool is Semrush.

This all-in-one tool has helped thousands of businesses become profitable while competing against bigger brands. But how exactly can Semrush help? Is it a magic wand? Not exactly! As I told you in the beginning, there is no tool out there that can transform your business overnight.

But when you use tools like Semrush to their full potential, give your 150%, and be consistent, you might be amazed at what you can achieve. Here’s what Semrush can help you achieve:

  • Semrush can help you gain valuable Intel on your competitors’ keyword strategies, backlink profiles, and content themes.
  • You can develop high-quality content that attracts your target audience and ranks higher in search results.
  • You can earn valuable links from authoritative websites to boost your website’s credibility and visibility using Semrush.
  • Semrush helps you monitor your website’s performance and measure the impacts of your efforts. Remember, tracking your progress is not enough; you must also improvise.

In short, Semrush can transform small businesses into a formidable force that can take on big businesses easily.  Let’s understand what specific challenges Semrush can help you tackle to outmaneuver your larger competitors.

How can small businesses use Semrush to battle Big Businesses?

Step 1: Find High-volume, Low-difficulty keywords

Challenge: Bigger brands often have established keyword strategies, making it difficult for smaller businesses to compete for high-volume keywords.

Solution: Use Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to find High-volume, Low-difficulty keywords

Your keywords are the most important part of your small business marketing campaign. With the right keywords, you can compete with bigger brands for the keywords that have lower competition. Here’s how you can achieve the best results: 

  • Target long-tail keywords: Semrush offers you an option to identify long-tail keywords. These are more specific keyword phrases, often with lower competition. You can easily rank for it and attract highly qualified leads further along the buying journey. In this way, you can bypass the tough competition that bigger brands give you for some high-volume, high-difficulty keywords.
  • Uncover hidden opportunities: Semrush also has something called the Keyword Gap Tool. With this tool, you can identify keywords that your competitors are ranking for and you are not. Then, you can use these keywords to craft content and fill content gaps where bigger brands might have missed the mark.
  • Stay agile with the Sensor: This is something amazing! The sensor is the latest addition to Semrush that helps you monitor your competitors’ keyword strategies in real time. With this feature, you can stay ahead of the curve and anticipate their next move. Once you do, you can optimize your strategy and stay ahead. 


Let’s say you are running a local bakery and are trying with national chains. But how do you compete with a national-level bakery with multiple outlets that are spending thousands on its marketing?

Well, you just bypass them instead of competing directly with them! You can use the Keyword Magic Tool to discover long-tail keywords like “gluten-free cupcakes near me”. As you can see, the volume for this keyword is 3,600, with a keyword difficulty of just 12!

Imagine the traffic you can bring to your website with such long-tail keywords, and that too with minimal effort. Additionally, these keywords attract highly relevant customers searching for specific needs. So, the chances of conversion are, too. 

keyword magic tool
Finding the right keywords that bring some value to your business using Semrush Keyword Magic Tool.

On the top, you can use the Sensor to monitor your competitor’s keyword strategies. In this way, you can identify any new keywords the chains might target and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Step 2: Craft amazing Stories with the Right Content Marketing Tactics

Challenge: Bigger brands often have larger content teams and resources. This allows them to produce a massive amount of content. 

Solution: The solution is pretty simple. You focus on quality over quantity. You can use a host of Semrush tools to create content that resonates with your audience and stands out.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Use the Topic Research Tool to generate comprehensive topic clusters based on your relevant seed keywords. With these topics, you can create targeted content that your potential audience is looking for. This helps you create targeted content that aligns with your audience’s search intent.
  • You can use Content Marketplace to get high-quality content for your brand. This helps you outsource the content creation for identified content gaps. Is it the benefit? You can churn out quality content consistently without needing a large in-house team.
  • Bigger brands might have more content, but that doesn’t mean they are delivering great quality. So, what you can do to compete is craft powerful content that meets your audience’s needs. Don’t stop at delivering basic information. Diver deeper and provide solutions to their problems, answer their questions and offer valuable insights.


Let’s move ahead with the same example of a bakery. You can use the Topic Research Tool to explore various themes like “healthy dessert alternatives” or “tips for baking with seasonal ingredients.” You can also use Content Marketplace to outsource your blogging tasks.

Your blogs can involve anything, ranging from recipe blogs to the top trending items and healthy alternatives. When you create such blogs, you can easily trump your big competitors, as they rarely get involved in such value-offering content. You can connect with your potential customers at a personal level with such content.

Semrush topic research tool.
Semrush topic research tool.

Online reputation is everything today. When people hear about any brand, they look for it online. So, you must enhance your small business reputation with Semrush. Here’s what you can do.

  • Analyze your competitors’ backlink profiles: The Backlink Audit Tool from Semrush can do wonders for you. You can analyze your competitor’s backlink profile and strategies. This tool provides information on who links to your competitors and offers you potential link-building opportunities for your website.
  • Prioritize high-quality backlinks: One thing that you should do is focus on building backlinks only from relevant, authoritative websites. Make sure these websites resonate with your target audience. Remember, you don’t need quantity; you need quality. A few high-quality backlinks are far more valuable than many low-quality ones.
  • Use the Link Building Tool: The next step is to use Semrush’s Link Building Tool. This tool can streamline your outreach process when it comes to link-building. This tool lets you discover high-quality websites and relevant influencers within your industry. Once you find the right match, you can initiate conversations for potential link placements or collaborations.


For your bakery business, you can always find what websites are linking to your national competitors and not you. These websites could be anything like food blogs offering recipes or community websites discussing healthy bakery products. 

Semrush Backlink Analytics
Semrush Backlink Analytics

Once you identify these websites with the Backlink Audit Tool, you can reach out to them for collaboration. You can also connect with influencers and bloggers for guest blogging opportunities or recipe features. Imagine how powerful your presence can become with this simple tool and simple strategy.

Step 4: Conduct your Website’s Health Check with Site Audit

Challenge: A daunting challenge for small business websites is to identify technical SEO challenges with a small or no in-house SEO expert team.

Solution: You can use Semrush’s Site Audit feature to perform in-depth technical SEO audits on your website, even without an SEO team. This tool crawls your website and helps you identify potential issues that can impact your SEO ranking.

Here’s how Site Audit can help you level up your SEO game:

  • Uncover hidden issues: Semrush performs over 140 technical SEO checks to get a detailed overview of your website’s health. You can identify critical errors, warnings, and notices. Its severity categorizes each of these issues so you know exactly what needs your first attention.
  • Boost crawlability and indexability: Site Audit analyses robots.txt configuration, sitemap presence, and internal linking structure. So, you can fix this problem to help search engines find your website quickly and easily.
  • Optimize for mobile: Site Audit assesses your website’s mobile-friendliness and identifies potential issues that could derail user experience on mobile devices. Identifying and fixing this problem is critical as mobile-first indexing is becoming the norm.
  • Prioritize user experience: Site Audit analyzes factors like page load speed, broken links, and duplicate content. You can create a faster, more user-friendly browsing experience by fixing these problems.


I recently ran an SEO health check on my website. As you can see, the website is in good health overall, but certain issues still impact my website’s SEO. Right now, I am working to fix SEO issues with Semrush. Once done, the overall health improves significantly.

Semrush Site Audit - Site Health
Semrush Site Audit – Site Health

Step 5: Fine-tune your Website with On-page SEO Optimization

Challenge: Bigger brands often have dedicated SEO teams. So, it’s challenging for small businesses to compete with them regarding search engine optimization.

Solution: Focus on a consistently optimized website. Semrush’s On-Page SEO Checker can help you optimize your site for search engines and users without needing an in-house SEO team.

While SEO takes time, you can rest assured that it will deliver results. Here are some steps you can take using Semrush to boost your SEO game.

  • Identify SEO-optimization ideas: The on-page SEO checker from Semrush is the most powerful feature in the market. You can use this feature to analyze your website and identify any technical SEO issues that could be hindering your ranking potential. Once you identify these errors, you can fix them and get the job done.
  • Optimize content for relevant keywords: One more thing you can do to boost your SEO is to optimize your existing content. For this, you will have to analyze your existing content and optimize it to seamlessly integrate your target. But most importantly, it should not impact your content’s readability, so make sure of it. Also, do not just focus on writing search-engine-focused content. Make sure it offers value to your readers, and then you can only compete with bigger brands.
  • Prioritize user experience: Remember, most of your traffic will come from mobile. So make sure your website is mobile-friendly, has fast loading times, and offers a user-friendly experience. Google and other search engines have strict policies in favor of websites that provide visitors with an enjoyable and easy-to-navigate environment.

Example: You can analyze your website with an SEO-checker to identify content optimization ideas for your website. Below is the image of what it came up for my website:

Ideas from Semrush On-page SEO Checker.
Ideas from Semrush On-page SEO Checker.

In our example, if you are running a baker, you too could utilize the On-Page SEO Checker to identify multiple ideas like ideas for backlinks, technical SEO, or strategy. You can use these ideas to enhance your SEO game and appear higher on search engine result pages.

Additionally, they could ensure their recipe pages are optimized for relevant keywords and provide a delightful user experience with clear instructions and appealing images.

Step 6: Amplify Your Reach with Social Media Marketing

Challenge: Bigger brands often have powerful social media followings and more resources for social media advertising.

Solution: Small businesses can focus on authenticity and community building. You can use Semrush’s Social Media Toolkit to streamline your social media presence.

Here are a few things you can achieve with Semrush’s Social Media Toolkit:

  • Maximize consistency and efficiency: Semrush allows you to schedule content for various social media platforms in advance. This ensures you maintain a consistent online presence even if you don’t have a large team.
  • Monitor performance and refine: Semrush helps you track your social media engagement and, in turn, get invaluable insights into which types of content your audience loves. You can use these insights to craft relevant content and become even more socially connected to your audience.
  • Increase social media audience: Bigger brands might have a larger social media audience, but so what? You can focus on creating authentic content that helps you create a sense of community. For example, if you are running a bakery, you can share BTS (behind-the-scenes) glimpses into your bakery, offer baking tips, and interact with your audience through comments and questions.
Grow your brand's visibility using the Social Media Toolkit from Semrush.
Grow your brand’s visibility using the Social Media Toolkit from Semrush.


Here’s the example for Step 6: As a bakery owner, you can use Semrush’s Social Media Toolkit to enhance your social presence. You don’t need a big team; you can automatically schedule posts that showcase daily specials, customer favorites, and behind-the-scenes (BTS) glimpses of the baking process.

This can get you much engagement and consistency. For example, you can share stories about sourcing ingredients from local farmers’ markets. This can appeal to followers interested in sustainability and community support.

You can also create polls asking followers to vote on the next specialty flavor or contests inviting customers to submit their own dessert recipes. Posting such content on social media can further increase engagement and foster a sense of community. And that too, without burning a large pile of cash!

Step 7: Expanding Your Visibility: Strategic Paid Advertising (Optional)

Challenge: Paid advertising can be a significant expense, especially for smaller businesses with limited budgets.

Solution: Utilize Semrush’s Ads Launch Assistant to explore paid advertising opportunities and prioritize a strategic approach.

Look, I understand spending money on paid ads is a bit of a challenge for small businesses. But to be honest, you cannot rely on organic traffic to boost your online presence. You should invest in paid ads, at least to some extent. And here’s how Semrush can help you with your ad campaigns.

  • Identify profitable keywords: You can use tools like the Keyword Magic Tool and Competitive Research to identify a select group of keywords with high search volume and commercial intent. Once you identify them, you optimize ads based on these keywords for the best results. 
  • Monitor ad spend and optimize: With Semrush, you can track the performance of your paid ad campaigns. You can also analyze your ads’ cost, conversions, and overall effectiveness. With Semrush, your ad campaigns can deliver you maximum return on investment (ROI).


Moving forward with a bakery example, you can identify powerful keywords with strong commercial intent, such as “gluten-free cupcakes” or “custom wedding cake consultations.”

Once identified, you can craft powerful ads for multiple platforms like Facebook or Google, targeting keywords related to their specialty offerings and getting maximum conversions.

Explore competitors' advertising strategies using the Advertising Research tool by Semrush.
Explore competitors’ advertising strategies using the Advertising Research tool by Semrush.

Pheww! It was quite a long read, I agree! But I am sure you understood pretty well how small businesses can easily challenge bigger brands without breaking too much sweat. If small businesses adopt these steps, nothing will stop them from making their presence felt in the market.

In fact, these small businesses can carve niches for themselves, too. All they need is tools like SEMrush and an understanding of How to Use SEMrush for marketing and branding.

Fight the battle with the right tools and at the right place!

I understand taking on big brands can feel a bit challenging for SMB owners. But smartness is neither fighting the battle blindly nor running away from it. It’s all about fighting with the right tools at the right place. The same goes for competing with bigger brands.

When you have the right tools, and you know where to strike, there is a strong possibility that you will emerge victorious. That’s what numerous small businesses are doing today. Instead of taking on big brands head-on, they are either bypassing them entirely or forcing these big brands to fight in the area where small businesses excel!

Here are a few things that you should remember:

  • Success in the digital world is a marathon: Consistently implement your chosen strategies, analyze your results, and stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends to ensure continuous progress.
  • Embrace your niche: Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Focus on your unique offerings and specialize in your niche to provide exceptional value to your target audience.
  • Be a lifelong learner: The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Stay curious, embrace learning opportunities, and be willing to adapt your strategies as needed.

Wrapping Up

I hope this guide has offered you a lot of answers related to your small business marketing and branding efforts. I have covered the primary features of Semrush that Small Businesses can use to enhance their marketing efforts. But Semrush is much more than these 7 features.

It’s an all-in-one solution for all your digital marketing needs. So if you want to know more about Semrush and its features, feel free to explore my website. You will find a tonne of content on Semrush that can help your digital marketing efforts.

Till then, happy ranking!


Can Semrush help my small business compete with big brands?

Yes, Semrush offers tools like the Keyword Magic Tool and Content Marketplace, enabling small businesses to optimize their online presence effectively against larger competitors.

How does Semrush help with my limited marketing budget?

Semrush consolidates essential marketing tasks (SEO, content marketing, and competitor analysis) into one platform, making it cost-effective for small businesses to manage their digital marketing efforts.

Can Semrush make my business stand out online?

Absolutely. With features like Topic Research and real-time SEO monitoring, Semrush helps small businesses identify unique content opportunities and adapt quickly to SEO trends, aiding in standing out in the digital marketplace.

Is improving my online reputation possible with Semrush?

Yes, through Semrush’s Backlink Audit and Link Building tools, small businesses can enhance their online reputation by building a robust backlink profile, crucial for improving visibility and credibility online.

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