SEO for Small Business

On-site SEO Tips & Tricks

Search Engine Optimization. Noun. Definition: The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

It doesn’t take a digital marketing guru to realize that, if you don’t come up on page one of a Google search result, you’re not going to get a lot of organic clicks. With the major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo), changing their algorithms more often than most people change their hairstyles, it’s tough to keep up. However, there are some basic tips and tricks that have been fairly stable for several years. Let’s take a look at each.

On Page SEO Tips

Page URL

The first thing that Google will notice are the keywords in your page URL. A good example is the URL of this page. I want to rank higher in search engines for people who are looking for search engine tips & tricks that one could do on site, so the URL for this page includes those keywords:

Page URL
Good Page URL

Page Titles

A page title is the second thing that a search engine recognizes. Each page should include keywords that people search while accurately describing the content of the page. For example, the page you are reading now has a page title of “On Site SEO Tips & Tricks | Search Engine Optimization | QBall Digital.” Hopefully, you would agree that the page title is on target for this page!

Page Title

Be careful, though. The worst thing you could do is misdirect people to a page that doesn’t have the content that you page title suggests. For example, if the content of this page was really about Search Engine Marketing and Pay Per Click Google Ads, it would be misleading to have a page title of SEO Tips & Tricks.

The most effective page titles are about 10-70 characters long, including spaces. Here’s a snippet-optimizer that allows you to see how your titles look on Google and other search results.

Meta Description

Have you ever noticed that a search engine result page (SERP) listing contains some very basic information about each organic link. Those include the Page Title at the top, next is the URL, then a brief text description about that page. That description is the “Meta Description.” If you don’t take control of each page’s meta description, Google will take a best guess and display the area of the page that returns the most keywords that the searcher entered. I recently did a search for “Best Dog Groomers Indianapolis” and this is what a result looks like with no meta description:

Bad Meta Description

Not very effective. Take control of what users see by creating a meta description on each page that is between 160 and 300 characters (including spaces.) This is a much better meta description for “Dog Groomers Indianapolis”:

Better Meta Description

Although the meta description doesn’t directly affect your SEO ranking, a good description will get more clicks that a poor meta description or no description at all.


There are many heading sizes that you can use in HTML. This page contains 3 different heading sizes (so far!) At the very top is “On-site SEO Tips & Tricks” that is considered an H1 tag. This is the biggest size you can have on a web page. Next is an H2 tag that says “On Page SEO Tips.” Each of the paragraphs under the H2 have an H3 tag, including “Page URL” and “Page Title.”

H1 Tag
The H1 Tag for this Page

Every page should use the H1 tag at the very minimum. As with the page URL and page title, it should be a few keywords that best describe the content on the page. Be smart: use keywords that people will likely enter into Google or Bing and don’t try to trick Google into thinking you page is something that it is not.

 Alt Tags

We suggest adding ALT text to your images so that it’s easier for search engines to index them. Search engines don’t physically see images the way people do. ALT text is an option that allows you to specifically describe the image.

Alt Tag
Alt Tag

ALT text attaches a description to your pictures so that they show up in Google and other search engine’s image results. Make sure your website images have their own specific ALT text. To find out how to assign ALT text to your images, click here.

Just the Basics

These are the basics for each page that you create. Of course you should also include keywords throughout the text of your pages, but be careful not to “keyword stuff”, repeating a lot of the same keywords too often through the page. The major search engines will catch on to you! They will likely ding you and send your pages to the bottom!

Our next blog will focus on other things that you can do in the backend, such as XML sitemaps, Robots.txt, and more! Stay tuned!

Return on Investment ROI

Why is ROI so Important?

In order to understand the value of your hard-earned marketing dollars, you need to start with your goals in mind. What do you want your marketing to do for you? Increase traffic to your website? Generate phone calls to your business? Launch more form fills on your site? Raise the number of your Facebook likes? Drive more visits to your storefront? These are just a few of the results that marketing can deliver. But the overall ROI, or return on investment, is related to how much new business you’ve generated with these results.

What Does ROI Typically Look Like?

Most businesses do marketing to achieve one thing: to raise their bottom-line. You want more sales, period. Does that mean more customers? Maybe it means getting your current customers to spend more money each time they do business with you? Whatever your needs are, you must know your goal before you get started.

This is how a business determines their return on investment. Let’s use a hypothetical business called Bob’s Oil Change. Bob is having an OK year: revenue is up 5% over last year. Bob’s customer base has stayed about the same as last year. He hasn’t lost any good customers, but he hasn’t seen an increase in new customers, either. Bob knows that, if he could add 20 new customers a week and each customer gets nothing more than an oil change, each customer will spend $50 on average. About 50% of his oil change customers also get additional services, including brakes, tire rotation, air filters, etc. An average sale for Bob is now at $150. Bob stands to make $3000 more each week, or $12,000 more each month if he can just get 20 new customers a week.

Let’s say that Bob has $3,000 a month for marketing. For every $3,000 Bob spends, he hopes to get $12,000 in sales. Bob’s return on investment is 4:1. An increase of 20% in revenue for Bob (4 times what he was achieving before marketing!)

Lifetime Value

This doesn’t even take into account the “Lifetime Value” of a new customer. If Bob retains a new customer for 5 years on average, and each customer spends $600 a year, that’s $3,000 spent per customer over their lifetime! Bob isn’t going to retain every customer, of course, so let’s just say that he’s able to retain half of them (500 for easy math.) The annual campaign will have brought in $1,500,000 over the next 5 years! Not bad for spending $36,000 this year.

What ROI Does Not Do

While ROI is important for determining marketing success, what it does not do is gauge intangibles that are just as crucial to your business.

Branding, first of all, is very important. You might find that the branding you invest in now might not affect your ROI for many months, or even years! However, when someone does need your business, they need to recognize your name when it comes up in a Google search result.

Social media interactions often have nothing to do with ROI, but they are an important part of your marketing. Maybe that Facebook post of your employees having fun at work won’t bring in any new customers right away, but it will help people understand that your business has friendly people. It builds “Brand Personality.”

Bottom Line

Just like in a marathon, start with the finish line in mind. What are your needs? What are your goals? How do you get there? Then you can truly determine what good ROI looks like for your business.

At QBall Digital, we start each conversation with a customer needs analysis to help you determine your goals, and ultimately, your ROI. Let us help you with a free consultation. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss how we can help your business.

branding vs lead gen

Branding vs. Lead Gen

Different marketing goals require different strategies, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Before you decide to invest those hard-earned marketing dollars, there are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself:

  1. What are my marketing goals?
  2. Has my past marketing gotten me ready for lead generation?


Here is a very important question to ask before you dive into the marketing funnel: are you looking to let as many people as possible to know about your business or do you need leads that you can convert into customers? It seems like an easy answer, right? Let’s skip past all formalities and get right to the new customers! Not so quick.

If people don’t know what you are about, you likely need branding before you get to the leads. Think about your own activities when it comes to making a purchase. When you Google a product or service, and you don’t recognize a brand name, are you inclined to click on the link to the unknown business? Maybe, but you’re more likely to click on those businesses that you recognize surrounding the unknown link, first.

Branding’s purpose is to let as many potential customers as possible know about your business. Branding comes in many forms: TV, radio, cable, newspaper, outdoor billboards, direct mail, promotional items, Goodyear Blimp, etc. Digital branding is more targeted than most of those traditional forms of marketing. Targeted branding finds potential customers based on demographics (age, gender, race, etc.), geography (neighborhood, city, state, etc.), and behaviors (websites visited, online searches, and even businesses one has actually walked into – aka geofencing.)

Branding Tactics

Branded digital can be accomplished with several tactics:

  • Banner Ads
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Video Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Ads (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • OTT & CTV
  • Streaming Audio

Congratulations! Now that you have a good branding strategy is in place, you are ready for Lead Gen!

Lead Gen

With traditional marketing, Lead Gen is accomplished by asking people to fill out forms at events; contesting; networking; or even dropping business cards into a fish bowl. With digital marketing, Lead Gen can, just like digital branding, be targeted to the people who are actively in need of your product or service.

Again, think of your habits when you are in the market to buy something. You already know what you want, but now you are in research mode. Who should you buy the product/service from? Who has the best quality, reputation, price? How do you gather all of that information? If you’re like me, you use search engines like Google or Bing to get your answers.


To take advantage of search engines, there are several tactics to generate a form fill or a phone call to your business. Search Engine Optimization will help your site get in front of people when they are either researching or ready to buy. Search Engine Marketing (PPC) allows you to buy premium placement in a search engine page result, often at the top of the page.

Listings & Reputation Management

Listings management ensures that your name, address, and phone number (among other things) show up correctly in hundreds of online business directories. Often, these directories will show up before your web site on the search engines, so listings management is very important! And lets not underestimate the importance of reputation management. What your customers say about you in public is “word of mouth” in the 21st century. Make sure that you are getting as many five star reviews as possible and the leads will follow!

Free Evaluation

If you would like a free evaluation of your digital health, or if you would just like someone to brainstorm with, feel free to contact us. Owners Jody Quivey and Mark Bianchi (QB…get it?) love helping small and medium-sized businesses! Whether in our hometown of Indianapolis, in the state of Indiana, or anywhere else!