In the past it was extremely difficult for small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts, but as more people have taken to the web for shopping and information, SMBs can better compete through the use of search engine optimization (SEO) and original content such as blogs.

Writing at American Express’ Open Forum, Mashable’s Ben Parr says small businesses can use a blog to help increase their online visibility and to connect with customers.

When starting a blog, Parr says small businesses should focus on a couple of different areas including search engine optimization (SEO) and making sure the site loads quickly. It’s also important in this day and age for companies to incorporate social media into their blog says Parr. This means linking the blog to Twitter and Facebook (and vice versa), which will also give the site added search engine optimization (SEO).

Parr says the creation of original content and making sure the site is attractive to users are two important aspects of a blog.

"While writing insightful and informative blog posts is the most important thing to do with a company blog, the design and implementation of your blog is key as well," he wrote. "The right plugins can help you get discovered on Google, while a cluttered design can turn off potential customers."

Although many say small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy, many SMBs are not using search engine optimization (SEO) to gain business. In a recent post on Search Engine Land, Hanan Lifshitz, CEO of Palore, wrote that there was still much room for improvement in SMBs use of SEO.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.