There’s NO Excuse for Having a “Small” Business on the Internet (Part 1)

The Internet is BIG.

Really, really, big. So vastly, unimaginably big, that to call it “big” doesn’t really do it justice. It’s like calling a Monster Truck “big” – no, it’s not “big” – it’s freaking huge, and it can drive right over your pathetically “big” minivan, okay?

For business owners, this can be a Very Good Thing, or a Very Bad Thing.

The Good Thing? Well, in one sense, the Internet makes the whole concept of “scale” obsolete – allowing you to reach the entire world – making even weird little niche markets implausibly large, because you can find and target customers anywhere.

If even one in a MILLION people would be interested in what you’re offering, there are literally thousands of customers out there somewhere on the planet, waiting for you to give it to them.

So what’s the Bad Thing? I thought you’d never ask… the Bad Thing is that other people have already figured this out – and they’re out there right now, marketing their butts off, trying to steal YOUR customers.

They’re after your lunch money, my friend – whether your market is big or small, you have competition. Someone is going to meet the needs of all those customers out there – and if it isn’t you, then someone *else* is going to be…

  • Increasing their profits
  • Building lifetime relationships with customers
  • Testing their offers
  • Improving their conversion rates
  • Increasing their profits even more
  • Grabbing the top rankings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing

(and everything else you know you *should* be doing but aren’t)

The more traffic they get, the more money they make, the harder it gets to compete with them. Time is passing, and the competition is only getting stronger.

The real truth is this: if your business isn’t growing fast enough, the only question is how fast you’re going OUT of business.

So what’s the answer? If you aren’t already the “800 pound gorilla” in your marketplace, what’s holding you back?


Let me repeat that.


Well, marketing strategy anyway. The customers are out there waiting for someone to give them what they need, and all you need to do is go out and find them.

Let me rephrase that: you NEED to go out and find them before someone else does, and the more time you WASTE, the worse it will get.

Think about it – if your online business isn’t experiencing consistent double-digit growth, there are only a few possible reasons why:

  • “It’s the economy.”
    Yeah, right. Guess what – the economy is putting many of your competitors out of business, because they suck at marketing. When times are tough, that’s the *best* time to take a bigger piece of the pie.
  • “You’re not working hard enough.”
    Oh, please. You’re up early every day, you barely get any sleep, you’re at your computer on the weekends, and… do I need to go on? You’re putting in enough time – you just need to spend it better.
  • “You’re not Taking Massive Action.”
    You know what? The next time I see anyone tell anyone else to take “massive action,” I am going to throw something. It’s not Massive action that makes the difference, it’s the Right Action – and that’s all about strategy.
  • “I just need to find that one magic silver bullet…”
    Everything that you see successful businesses doing can be analyzed, modeled, and repeated… and other people have already done the Analyzing and Modeling for you. All you have to do is Repeat – so repeat after me…

There. Is. No. Magic. Silver. Bullet.

However, there is a way.

There is a Plan you can follow, that will get you where you want to go. It’s not the only plan, but it’s a darned good one, and if you’ll just work the plan you *can* make a big difference in your business in a hurry.

I’ll be back in a couple days, with a simple five-point plan for getting your strategic “house” in order. You won’t want to miss it.

In the meantime, you may enjoy watching this video from one of our training webinars, on how your keyword strategy might prevent you from EVER ranking for ANYTHING – no joke:

(Watching this again reminds me of just how long Leslie and I have been talking about the importance of strategy and taking the “right action” as opposed to “massive action.” It’s catching on, slowly. You can help by repeating, ReTweeting, and telling your friends – so if you like what you see here, take a minute right now to spread the word!)

UPDATE: Part 2 is online – with another free video that goes deeper into keyword strategy. You don’t want to miss it!



  1. Hey Dan,
    Thanks for the video. I am definitely learning my lessons! I do remember leslie putting out a video… somewhere… about iconnicalization… The website I am showing you has it. and I don’t know how to get rid of it besides going to my .htaccess file and using a mod rewrite rule…. I haven’t done it because my site is script based and don’t want to screw it up…. any ideas?

    • Sean, just because your site is “script based” (dyanmic) that shouldn’t stop you from using .htaccess to resolve that. In the meantime you can at least set a preference in Google Webmaster Tools.

  2. As always Dan, what an excellent insight on how to do things the right way. Its easy to try and bite of more than you can chew. I’m starting to understand that following the correct back linking strategy will pay off big time, if you put in the time it deserves.

    John Hutchison

    PS I sent you a testimonial to your email last week after attending SEOPro, appreciate if you could get back to me some time soon.

  3. Hi there, thanks for the video, great stuff.

    I have just had a weird thing happen and would love your feedback as to why…

    I just googled one of my major keywords

    I did this in internet explorer and then in firefox. For both I used google UK homepage to search in. The serps were very different.

    In explorer I had a double indented listing at #1 and #2 for my hospitality page and then my australia resort hospitality page.

    In firefox using google UK search engine my double indented listing was #6 and #7 on the page but the second listing was for my Australia internships page.

    I find this very weird as both searches were through the same google UK search engine and surely me using explorer or firefox would not change these results??

    Any thoughts would be great.


  4. Thanks Dan, thank you, although I have seen this video in the members area listening to it again I have picked up a few more gems. And I’m sure if I watch it again ill get a few more again. Dan, I have been building a site from scratch. When I build a new page I take the topic of that page and then have content written on that subject. I use the highest volume keyword on that topic approx 5-8 times in the text and also add other keywords on the same topic but with lesser volume. And also if they fit I also add 1 or 2 of the websites main keywords. Is this the right way to construct a page or is there a better way to do this.

    I have a really good content writer who is very creative with words so I just send her the topic the list of keywords outlining the most to least important and then she creates me keyword rich content. Please let me know if this is correct. Thank you

  5. Hey Dan

    As usual you provide great content and this video in particular reminded me of keeping focused on what matters. To be honest the part in the video when you speak about the amount of time dedicated to each task had my head spinning for a second as I normally dislike thinking about those types of things. You need a plan to be successful and that segment really drives this point home for me.

    We’d all like to think we have an unlimited amount of time however as you stated..we all have limited resources in one way or another and managing what we have will be the key to our success. You also state things as they are in the real world, that there is no cut and dry formula as each niche plus the associated competitors are different. Just do what you teach and we will learn from our experience. It’s not what most of us want to hear, but it’s what makes you an excellent teacher and a role model for all SEO’s.

    Thanks again for a piece of your brilliance!


  6. Hi Dan,

    The talk about landing page with longtail KW and low search volume vs spending time optimizing landing pages made so much sense!

    The time calculation got me!!! ๐Ÿ™‚



  7. I really appreciated the pragmatic step by step approach taken with the keyword list. “How many keywords?” turns into “how much time do you have”, sounds SO simple now you’ve said it!



  8. Great Content .. and something that every developer forgets from time to time — or maybe all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ … We all get into the PPC mindset of having a 1000 keywords.. which is the wrong approach for SEO.

    I do actually have a question, even though I think I know the answer …

    To use your 3 keyword approach of 1 high, 1 med and 1 low. Is it smarter to have these 3 going to 3 different pages, or all to say the homepage?

    Personally I know that always pointing to the homepage has both benefits and drawbacks. For one of my ecomm sites I have top rankings for the major keywords to my homepage, but almost all my links are just to the homepage, so I’ve kind of maxed out my rankings for words #3-10.. and my sub pages have no power to rank.

    So the point is when you are starting out, it’s better to take say 3 months to get a sub page to #1 for a targeted word, then to get the homepage to rank #4 and no higher (ever) in 1 month.

  9. I think the argument about not having the home page ranked is nonsense. people will click find what they want is you set up your page with logical steps. Most of us should spend some time learning about information architecture and proper writing on the web.

    The key is designing your website better.

    • Leroy,

      Nobody’s saying that you don’t want to get your home page ranked. The idea is this:

      If you sell baby shoes, then your home page target is search queries like [baby shoes] – and although it can be much easier to get your home page ranked for [purple size 11 winnie the pooh baby slippers] – the home page is not the best destination to bring searchers who are looking for that.

      So for any search term you want to target, then, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right landing/entry page – the page that you’ll then try to get ranked.

  10. Oh my gosh… and here I thought I was starting to somewhat understand SEO. This video had me realize I know barely anything. I have 3 websites – soon to be 4 that I need to promote. I have a lot of work to learn this stuff. Anyone want to help me? ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hi Dan,

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your keyword videos, you make it sound so much more easier the way you explain the process.

    Can’t wait to check out your other content.

    Keep up the good work



  1. John Rowe says:

    RT @seobraintrust: There's NO Excuse for Having a "Small" Business on the Internet (Part 1)

  2. Shaun Guido says:

    this is a good vid from my fav seo guys … RT @seobraintrust: How Many Keywords Should you Target?

  3. RT @seobraintrust: There's NO Excuse for Having a "Small" Business on the Internet (Part 1)

  4. Ian Brodie says:

    Really impressed by simple, clear (yet quite advanced) explanations of SEO by Dan Theis & Leslie Rhode

  5. RT @seobraintrust: There's NO Excuse for Having a "Small" Business on the Internet (Part 1)

  6. RT @seobraintrust: There's NO Excuse for Having a "Small" Business on the Internet (Part 1)

  7. Good morning. 1st read/watch today "the Internet is BIG" Simple and clear explanations of SEO via @ianbrodie #marketing

  8. Amelia Hu says:

    RT @ianbrodie: Really impressed by simple, clear (yet quite advanced) explanations of SEO by Dan Theis & Leslie Rhode

  9. RT @ianbrodie: Really impressed by simple, clear (yet quite advanced) explanations of SEO by Dan Theis & Leslie Rhode

  10. Rena says:

    Really impressed by simple, clear (yet quite advanced) explanations of SEO by Dan Theis & Leslie Rhode |rt @ianbrodie

  11. Don Udell says:

    RT @seobraintrust: There's NO Excuse for Having a "Small" Business on the Internet (Part 1)