Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 a

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing – 2019

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - We live in a digital world, the internet is no longer tied to our desk. How to dominate your online competitors.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019

A Short History of Online Marketing

Since the dawn of the digital age, online marketing has shaped the way businesses promote their products and services. From the first websites with a picture of your scanned brochure, to the first email blast sent, to the way phones liberated us from our wired desk, to the rapid adoption of content marketing, its history is a story of how the business landscape was forever altered by the technological advances of the digital age.

Remember banner ads? AT&T bought the very first one on the Wired site back in 1994. That first banner ad had nearly a 44% click-through rate. Today? Banner ads are much less used, and the average click rate has plummeted to less than one half of one percent.

Back in 1998, Google and Microsoft started online searches. For years, search engine return pages (SERP) simply produced a long list of blue links to click on and SEM (Search Engine Management) was born.

Two years later in 2000, Google drastically changed the landscape with Adwords (paid ads tied to the search terms). Since then, Google has introduced feature listings, rich snippets, answer boxes, rich cards, event listings, and much more on the organic listings, all tied to the schematic micro data placed in your website code.

Today, Google is the most used search engine on the World Wide Web across all platforms, with 92.3% market share as of September 2018

This article concentrates on how small businesses can drastically enhance their online presence in 2019 and beyond.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 b

Your very first step as a small business owner is to have a mobile responsive design and your own domain and have a real website, not a drag and drop DIY site, for the simple reason you cannot edit the underlying code. And that eliminates your ability not only for Google Best Practices SEO, but Schema Coding for enhanced Google Listings as well.

To quote the Talking Heads, "I have a DIY Website that's better than nothing, but nothing is better than this." 

Your second step is to create a "News/Updates" page on your website and engage in active content marketing.

Make no mistake, Content Marketing is your best shot at gaining exposure for keywords for your products and services. 

And be careful here. When you engage in a content marketing strategy, the sole object is to drive traffic to your website, either from search return pages on Google and to a far lesser extent, Bing, as well as social media. But here in the US, over 60% of business blogs are set up wrong. 

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 best practice is to have a blog located in a subdirectory on your domain.



The third thing 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.

Plus, when it's set up correctly, when potential customers click on a search return query, it directs them to the post page on your webtsite, with the full menu up top so they can explore your site even further, of even click the contact page to call you.

The problem is that it’s much easier for your web developers to just install the blog on a subdomain. There is a longstanding myth that a subdomain will work just as well as a subdirectory. Evidence proves the disastrous results of this myth. We strongly recommend that you work to put your blog into a subdirectory of your main domain.

Now you have communicated clearly with Google and your content increases your authority score.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 Google

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.

What? There's more to do?

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. 

While Google doesn't go into much detail on their search algorithm, many SEO trusted sites such as SEM Rush, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal have all done many tests over the years. What follows is mostly culled from those sources.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - On Page SEO

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.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 -

The Basics

Webpage Text SEO Hints

  • Try to use 300 words or more. It's hard to convince Google that it's worth reading (and indexing), when it's under 300 words.
  • Shoot for 1 to 3 percent keyword content - more than that may get you penalized (keyword stuffing), less may not work at all.
  • Write for humans and not for the search bots - 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 below)

Basic Image SEO Tips

  • Don't upload the file name the camera spits out (07082018345.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 - include the keyword.
  • 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 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 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. 100-300 K is good; Remember that a 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 significantly, especially on mobile devices.
  • Don't allow videos to auto-start. We have all been on websites where two separate videos started 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 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 and listen to it, while also providing the keyword richness a search engine needs.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - Structured Data and In-Page SEO

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 In Page SEO

Once upon a time, a Google search gave you a long list of blue links and nothing else. Then, Google searches gave users 2 choices. Organic Returns and Paid Ads.

Search Engine Return Pages (SERP) have changed a bit from the old days.

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 late 2018 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.

First... Let's define "snippet". A snippet is the the information that appears under a highlighted blue link and the URL in the search results.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - a basic snippet

A Rich Snippet adds additional links under the snippet text.

Like This...

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - a rich snippet

See how Google pulled the structured data? They put the business address in the snippet. Google pulled the date to the bottom so it stands out and added a second active URL at the bottom that leads to the event registration page. That's a search return with links to two separate pages.

Plus is stands out from all the other listings.

This doesn't happen automatically. In your coding, you must mark up the schema with structured data coding.

Rich snippets can be used for a wide variety of uses such as;

  • Products
  • Services
  • Events
  • Reviews
  • Just about anything....

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets have a much higher CTRs (Click-Thru-Rates) than regular organic results.

Featured snippets aim at answering the user's question right away. Being featured means getting additional brand exposure in search results.

And it's easy to see why. They are always the very first organic listing on the page, they include a big feature image, and the font is much larger.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - a featured snippet

It very nearly looks like an ad...but it's not. It's an free organic search return featured snippet listing done with free website coding.

From the Google Developers Site

Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.

Google calls back end coding "In-Page" coding.

The coding looks something like this...

<script type="application/ld+json"> {   "@context": "",   "@type": "Recipe",   "name": "Grandma's Holiday Apple Pie",   "author": "Elaine Smith",   "image": "",   "description": "A classic apple pie.",   "aggregateRating": {     "@type": "AggregateRating",     "ratingValue": "4",     "reviewCount": "276",     "bestRating": "5",     "worstRating": "1"   },   "prepTime": "PT30M",   "totalTime": "PT1H",   "recipeYield": "8",   "nutrition": {     "@type": "NutritionInformation",     "servingSize": "1 medium slice",     "calories": "230 calories",     "fatContent": "1 g",     "carbohydrateContent": "43 g",   },   "recipeIngredient": [     "1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box",     "6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)",     "..."   ],   "recipeInstructions": [     "1...",     "2..."    ] } </script>

Google goes on to say the more you do it the better it works...

You must include all the required properties for an object to be eligible for appearance in Google Search with enhanced display. In general, defining more recommended features can make it more likely that your information can appear in Search results with enhanced display. However, it is more important to supply fewer but complete and accurate recommended properties rather than trying to provide every possible recommended property with less complete, badly-formed, or inaccurate data.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 - Social Media and Search Engine Return Pages

And when you do it right....

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - Featured listing

In this case a distributor listing is head and shoulders above the manufacturers site.

Or Special Events

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

The ONLY way to have your event show up in Google is through the use of structured data coding.

And in keeping with the Talking Heads, How did I get here? Why do Content Marketing? Where is my beautiful house?

You do this for 2 reasons. Too be seen on social media platforms and to be seen in Google Search Return Pages for keywords that are relevant for your business.

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019

Small Business Guide to Online Marketing - 2019 a Social Media

Ever pull up a business Facebook page and see the last post was in July of 2014? Would you think this is an "active" business or has it closed up shop? Also, along those same lines, Google favors "active" websites over "static" sites in search returns. In other words, if everything was on equal digital footing (apples to apples) between you and a competitor - and your competitor frequently updates their website (blog) and you don't, they would appear above you in a search return.

When most businesses post on Facebook, when a user clicks on a picture it opens up in the Facebook picture viewer. In other words, the user stays on Facebook and the image simply gets bigger.

When posting correctly to social media in a content marketing strategy, a click on a Facebook image takes you directly to the business website (and away from Facebook) which is EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

Drive Traffic To Your Website.

Search Engine Return Pages (SERP)

Today, SEO is the art of meeting internet searchers at the point of their needs. Google calls this micro-moments.

In 2019 and beyond, keywords are one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. Keywords are essential to the success of any website or project online, and even more important to content marketing.

The only way to accumulate Google listings for searches for phrases that don't include your business name (that attract NEW customers), is through content marketing and SEO.

Reasons why small business owners fail at content marketing...

  • They don't have access to Google tools like Keyword Planner
  • They don't know Google Best Practices for SEO
  • They don't have the time to invest, they have a business to run

There genuinely is no better way to market your business than Targeted Content Marketing. And Content Marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand, helping to ensure your business is listed properly in search engines for locality, keyword and long-tail search returns.

  • Responsive Website Design (RWD)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Targeted Content Marketing (TCM)
  • Social Media Management (SMM)


Grab up to 30 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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