Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet – 2019

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019 - The small business guide to SEO, Google ads, organic features and more.

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Before we get started, it's imperative to understand that 99.9% of what you are about to read is what we have learned ourselves over the last few years.

Additionally, about 99.9% of what you are about to read will not work on a DIY website builder like Wix, Web, and their brethren. In order for most of these tips to work you need to be able to edit the underlying code on your website. And that is not possible on any drag and drop DIY platform.

Nearly a decade ago, we were tethered to our desks. Until then our time "online" was limited to being in close proximity to a wireless router for a laptop.

With smartphones and then 3G, 4G and soon 5G,  we are now never "offline" and the answer to a search query is always at hand. It's officially a digital world and if you don't have a solid presence on the web, your business is at a distinct disadvantage.

So let's get started.

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Google Ads

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019 - Adwords


Let's just put this out here. Most of the "be on the first page of Google" emails you get are really pitches for AdWords. And for most small businesses it's not a real good idea.

Here's the deal.

You select a keyword and other parameters such areas you want to cover. But most marketing companies don't tell you what Google tells you also NEED TO DO. The click on the ad should have it's own landing page specific to that ad (per Google), NOT your website home page. And it must be a secure page (https).

We've talked to many of our clients who had been advised to engage in an AdWords campaign and get little or no return on investment.

That's not to say it won't work well for everyone. For some businesses it can be a good idea if they have a great footprint with relevant keywords and are all over the organic (free) listings but have no presence in the paid ad section.. Also, for seasonal businesses (think pool dealers up north, or Christmas stores) AdWords can work pretty well when done right.

Should you decide on an Google Ad campaign, it's best to chat with a digital marketing firm that knows Google Best Practices. It's really something a small business owner should be very careful about. Especially if you are working with a shady overseas marketing firm.


You can be at the top of the Search Return Listing as soon as you click "start campaign".


Unlike organic listings which stay up nearly forever, when your budget is used up, the ads disappear.

Google Adwords have been studied to death. The one statistic that always stands out is only 20% of searchers have ever clicked on an ad. The overwhelming majority (8 of 10) of searchers have NEVER clicked on an ad in search listings.The most common reason given is they trust the organic listings and distrust paid ads.

So let's talk about those organic listings...

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute; as a forward-thinking business owner there has to be a better way.

There is.

Content Marketing

For small business owners that need to increase their "digital footprint" Content Marketing presents your best opportunity.

The Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as;

A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

More directly, Content Marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as images, videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

The best way to take advantage of Content Marketing is through the use of a blog/news/update tab on your website.

And it's here is where most businesses slip up. When you engage in a content marketing strategy, the sole object is to drive traffic to your website, either from social media sites or search return pages on Google and Bing. But here in the US, over 60% of business blogs are set up incorrectly. Far more than half of all company blogs/news/update pages don’t benefit your company at all when it comes to SEO. Standard SEO Google best practice is to have a blog located in a subdirectory on your domain.



Why Do Content Marketing?

Two Reasons:

Content Marketing vastly magnifies your social media presence. But is also greatly enhances your digital footprint on the Google. Again, when it's set up properly, each post needs to have a specific URL that can be indexed by the Google Bots, allowing the post to show in Search Engine Return Pages (SERP), independent of your main web page homepage listing.

Additionally, when it's set up the right way, when potential customers click on a social media post or a search return query, it directs to the post page on your website, with the full menu up top so they can explore further, of even click the contact page to call.

And BOTH avenues increase web traffic to your site.

What you must do is ensure that each marketing post needs to have a specific URL that can be indexed by the Google Bots, allowing the post to show in Google Search Returns, independent of your main web page listing.

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

The primary goal of content marketing is to show up in Google searches for product, service and location area served keywords. In order to have a fighting chance, you need to use every SEO best practice rule in the book.

Now that you have a responsive website, and have set up a blog correctly, as well as ensured your blog posts each have their very own URL, you are primed to get started.

Google and Bing algorithms (Yahoo is no longer a search engine and uses both services, depending on the search phrase) each contain hundreds of factors, they change search criteria almost daily, and never disclose what the parameters are to anyone. SEO is, and always will be, an inexact science. But when it comes to BIG factors like mobile friendliness and website loading speed, Google will share what is most helpful for SEO.

But the one thing that can make a huge difference is On-Page SEO.

Simply put, there are numerous ways to increase SEO, Oddly, online website builders and "sloppy" website firms often miss the basics. For example, you cannot do any SEO on images or videos (which is a big part of on-page SEO) on any DIY online website builder.

And that is sad, because it's a great tool to increase SEO.

Webpage Text SEO Hints

  • Try to use 300 words or more. It's hard to convince Google that it's worth reading (and indexing by the Google Bots), when it's under 300 words.
  • Shoot for 1 to 3% keyword content - more than that may get you penalized for keyword stuffing, less and it may not work at all.
  • Write for humans and not for the search bots and spiders - cramming keywords can turn off readers as completely unnatural.
  • Utilize H1, H2 and H3 and include the keywords and long-tails (bold and italics don't factor for SEO).
  • Use Structured Data Markup for Rich Snippets, Rich Cards Featured Snippets and more (more on that later)

Basic Image SEO Tips

  • Don't upload the file name the your camera spits out (07082018947.jpg) - rename it using the same keyword for that web page post.
  • Title the image using your chosen keyword
  • Google looks at the "Alternate Text" for a description of the image - add 4-10 words here, but no more - and include the keyword phrase.
  • Add a description to the image, include the keyword again, but no more than a sentence or two.
  • Add a Caption to the image - This text appears under the image as text and is a great way to boost keyword ratio to text.
  • For multiple images on a single post, vary the filenames, Title, Alt and desc., while continuing to embed the selected keyword or long-tail phrase for that post. Remember, none of this works on GoDaddy or any other DYI webpge builder. The Build-Your-Own-Website builders block image indexing. And that hurts your on-page SEO.
  • You'll want to use a professional image manipulation software such as Photoshop. Google strongly suggests putting your logo in as many photos as possible.
  • Also, try to keep your images in K not M. 100-200 K is good; Remember that a search user may be far from a 4G tower and stuck in 3G territory. The lower resolution looks fine on a phone and loads much quicker.

Basic On-Page Video SEO Tips

  • Make sure you utilize a separate landing page for each video so search engines can find and index each video asset individually. Multiple videos on a single page doesn't help SEO the same way images do.Additionally, multiple videos on a single page will slow the page load speed significantly, especially on mobile devices.
  • Don't allow videos to auto-start. We have all been on websites where two separate videos start auto-playing on the same landing page at the same time. Don't give users a reason to quickly hit the back button, especially if they are searching at work. Additionally, Google now penalizes websites that auto-play video.
  • Be sure to populate the hidden tags in the HTML code of your video landing pages, specifically Facebook’s OpenGraph tags,’s microdata tags, and even Twitter Card tags are a good idea.
  • Add video transcriptions directly to the HTML text of each of the pages where you have videos. Transcriptions give your viewers the option to “read” a video if they can’t watch or listen to it, while also providing the keyword richness that a search engine needs.

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Now...let's talk about Google Search Return Features... 

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019 - Google SERP Features

Not real long ago, a Google search return page gave you a long list of blue links and nothing else. Then, when Google started paid adverting in search return pages,Google gave users 2 choices. Organic Returns and Paid Ads.

Search Engine Return Pages (SERP) have changed and continue to evolve.

How do you take advantage of these SERP features?

Structured Data

A Structured Data SERP feature is any result on a search results page that isn’t a traditional organic result. The primary goal for SERP features is to give the searcher the most relevant information in a quick, easy to digest form. These structured data features stand out as well, so your information will be more visible to searchers.

In 2019 the organic listings have many more options such as;

  • Knowledge panels
  • Featured snippets
  • Quick answer box snippet
  • Rich snippets
  • Event listings
  • Image results
  • And more

All coded in the back end of your website using schema structured data coding.

Schema markups on the coding work for most every type of business for things like;

  • Local SEO (Service Areas)
  • Events (Like training events for instance, or book signings ay your bookstore, or...)
  • Products
  • People
  • Recipes (Pretty sure you see these frequently in Google)
  • Reviews
  • And more

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

The Snippet

One reason you might want to ditch your "free" DIY website is as simple as what shows beneath your link in the search returns. That is called the "snippet".

This is the real estate under your link to your website of 155 characters. If you don't set the meta description for you main website in the coding, Google takes random text from your website. This just doesn't work if you what to have your phone number there, or a special offer, or anything information that will drive clicks and traffic to your website.

At the end of the day, it comes down to control. For small business web pages, writing a good meta description snippet is like writing good ad copy — there's real value in crafting that copy to drive interest and clicks to your website. There's no absolute guarantee Google will use that copy (based on the parameters of the search), and that fact can be frustrating at times, but the odds are still very much in your favor that Google will display the information you told them to display.

Rich Snippet

Rich snippets take different forms in the Google Search Returns. Here are a couple examples;

Enhanced Rich Snippet

Notice the last line of the snippet. See the date of the event in the lower left? And...clicking on the URL at the top takes you to an informational page. But if you click on "ESS Global Corporation" next to the date - you go to the secure sign up page for the event.

So in fact, there are two "listings" for two separate pages embedded in one search return. Thus can only be done by coding.

Here is another example of a rich snippet.

Featured Rich Snippet

See the enormous text? The feature image? Again, this is in the back end schema structured data markup coding in the website.


And coding for rich snippets really pisses off your competitors because a Rich Snippet Feature Listing is ALWAYS the very first listing.

Like This One...

Event Listings

Book signing at the bookstore? New band at the bar? New play at the playhouse? Nearly every type of business has an event now and then.

Code it properly so that Google knows it's and event and...voila!

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - special event snippets

See the Event Listing for the Halloween party??? Schema Coding! From a search for "things to do for halloween in Spartanburg" on a phone.

Now...let's look at another type of snippet that instead of coding, Google pulls the info directly off your site...

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

Answer Box

One benefit of content marketing is every time you post, not only do you add a URL for Google Indexing, you also add more information you website.

When you add information to your site, it increases your "authority score". In simple terms, this means a website with 100,000 words will rank higher than one with 10,000 words, which ranks higher than a website that has 1000 words.

The higher your authority score, the more likely you will show up in an "answer box". 

Answer boxes show up in a fair number of Google searches, typically as "People Also Search For..." and then a few boxes appear. When you click on them, your answer appears with a link to their this one.

Create content that matches the Google Answer Box, goes into more depth, and make sure it is using the correct markup.

Make sure your page’s SEO title and meta description tell the searcher you have even better information than the Google Answer Box to encourage them to click on your link below the answer. Also, make sure it includes the query the person would search to find the Google Answer Box.

This was simple. The prior answer was weak. We got a URL that answered the question. Wrote a better answer, marked it up in schema and voila!

Small Business Digital Marketing Cheat Sheet - 2019

There is one last thing.

You need to track everything you do. Who is seeing your posts? Where are they? Did they come from Facebook? Twitter? Google?

Don't just post, throw on some hashtags and hope for the best. By tracking post activity, you can see what is working and what is not working.

That information allows you to tailor future posts to keep what is working and fix what is not.

Without tracking, you are flying blind.

Here at O2 Real, we help small businesses from Texas to Florida to Virginia to California and everywhere in between, grow their business and become more profitable, by vastly increasing their presence online.

Not Sure What You Need?

Grab up to 60 minutes with us and we will work with you to understand your goals, and to develop a proposal and price estimate.
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