Small business owners often have difficulty understanding who they’re competing against online. It’s much easier off line. If you run a local restaurant, then your competition are other local restaurants trying to attract the same demographic of customers. Online, it’s a bit more tricky than that.
For instance, let’s say you sell widgets. Is every widget maker in the world your competitor? Probably not. If there is a widget maker across the street from you in your home town, they’re likely not your competition online. If they don’t have a website, then you aren’t competing with them. If they do have a website, you could be targeting different key phrases.
There’s the key. Your competition online is everyone who is targeting the same search queries that you’re targeting. Even if those businesses aren’t in the same niche as you.
If you sell books, Amazon is your competition. If you sell computer peripherals, Amazon is your competition. And so is eBay. So is Wal-Mart. It is likely that those three top businesses are targeting some of the same product keyword phrases that you are targeting. If they rank higher than you in the search engines, then you have some work to do.
Online competition is all about rankings. There’s a good chance that you have competitors you’ve never heard of. Do your research. Find out who’s targeting the same key phrases you are. How do they rank? It’s your job to beat them.