Is SEO enough to compete with big brands?
Search engines rank established businesses higher in internet search results because it signifies that a business is stable and reliable. Big brand names also rank higher because they have huge budgets to invest in marketing and advertising tools such as Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook advertising, etc., which keeps them at the top of search engine result listings. This means whoever pays the most money for search engine marketing by bidding higher on premium keywords will appear on page-1 of search results. How much you’re willing to bid for keywords determines whether you appear on the first page of search results or the hundredth page.
I’m not going to mislead you by promising that just because you have a website means people are going to discover it overnight. If your website doesn’t come up within the first ten pages of search results, then people normally don’t browse past the tenth page and therefore won’t find you unless you have very few competitors in the same niche, or you already have a large customer base.
But according to Forbes article... Small Businesses Can Compete With Big Brands On SEO.
If you don’t have a big budget for search engine marketing, then should you still invest in a website? ABSOLUTELY! Your website is your number one marketing asset. It gives you credibility. In fact, nearly 50% of people indicate a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business, and 30% won’t consider a business without a website. In other words, not having a website makes potential customers trust you less. To compete with big companies, you’ll just need to work harder to market your website yourself via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, news articles, and publications to entice people to visit your website. The more people that visit your website, the higher it will rank in the search engines because its algorithms will deem your website as popular and relevant.
This is a great article to read for a better understanding of SEO: "The Beginner's Guide to SEO".