Can Small Sites Rank Higher Than Larger Sites?

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Is it possible for small sites to rank higher than their larger, more popular competitors? The content of small websites is often far superior to that available on larger, more popular sites, but many webmasters still worry their sites will not be able to compete with, and wrestle some traffic away from, better established sites. It is easy to understand why some webmasters question their ability to compete, but, speaking via a YouTube video uploaded last week, Google Engineer, Matt Cutts attempted to allay such fears and assured webmasters, “It’s not the case that the smaller site with superior content can’t outdo the larger sites; that’s how the smaller sites often become the larger sites.”

It is hard to think of anyone who is better qualified to advise webmaster on how to rank higher and he made several points that should help guide webmasters in the right direction.

Cutts’ entire monologue could probably be summed up in three words—content is king. Internet marketing experts have been saying that for years, but it’s nice to hear a search engine expert who works for the most popular search engine in the world break it down a little and provide webmasters with some tips that may help them produce effective content.

How to Rank Higher Using Matt Cutts’ Katamari Philosophy

Cutts recommends webmasters focus on user experience and give their site visitors something that provides more value (more details, more insightful, etc.). He further suggests concentrating on a small topic area (niche); covering it really well, and then building out from that area. Cutts calls this the ‘Katamari Philosophy’:

“You start out with a little, tiny Katamari and then you roll up and you roll up and you get to be more authoritative and more reputable in more and more areas until you turn around and suddenly you’re one of those big sites.”

Whenever anyone performs an internet search they are basically looking for an answer to a question. Sites that provide the kind or content that Cutt’s suggests will be better equipped to answer those questions and if they provide a good overall user experience (well laid out, easy to navigate etc.) one-time visitors are more likely to become return visitors—so it’s good advice. Such sites are also more likely to attain more inbound links which should help them rank higher. There will, no doubt, be an increased likelihood that pages will be shared by email and across social networks as well.

Cutts’ final words on the subject? “Don’t stop trying to produce superior content because over time, that’s one of the best ways to rank higher on the web.”

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