How the Pros Compete & Win Against Big Brands in Local Search
Yes, big brands have more resources than small local businesses to devote to online marketing. They generally have larger budgets, more staff, more professional marketing expertise and more powerful websites. However that does NOT necessarily mean they use those resources well and it certainly doesn't mean that a small outfit with the right focus and the willingness to put in the work needed can't compete with them - and win!
More big brands than most of us can imagine are institutionally crippled by their large size, compartmentalized organization, byzantine internal politics and innate inertia. Departments do not always work well together and can even have conflicting goals and differing methods of measuring success. So, it's not unusual for the staff being charged with the Internet side of marketing to lack the authority and resources they need to meet their goals.
It can easily take several months for the simplest changes to be made on the website of a national company and updates requiring developer time sometimes need to be scheduled a year in advance! Small business owners, on the other hand, can be much more nimble, making decisions quickly and getting right on task with important changes.
Companies with many locations have to spread their efforts over all of those markets and they have different competitors and challenges in every area. Big brands must concentrate on coming up with a scalable strategy and then executing it using scalable tactics. In too many cases, the idea of scalability is simply a nice way to refer to cheap and easy. However, Google's ranking algorithms have dramatically moved away from rewarding these types of tactics in the past few years, so they are not only becoming less effective, they can sometimes harm search rankings.
No one at corporate headquarters can possibly know what's happening at each of the brand's dozens, hundreds or thousands of location...