How to Leverage Google for Your Small Business
Google is so much more than just a search engine…
Google offers a ton of tools in addition to its search engine that can be hugely valuable if you’re trying to market your small business, so we decided to round up some of the most essential Google marketing tools at your disposal so you can be sure your business is taking full advantage
1) Google My Business
Want to get yourself some free advertising on Google? I kid you not — it’s a real thing.
All you have to do is claim your “Google My Business” listing (formerly known as Google Places), and your business can get featured in the search results (as well as in Google Maps) for many local searches. Check it out for your self.
If you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business listing, Google provides instructions which will walk you through the setup of your listing which will automatically create a Google+ Page for your business as well – which leads us to our second Google marketing tool …
2) Google+ Business Pages
With the elimination of Google Authorship and the elimination of Google +1’s from search results, it’s even more important that businesses (particularly local bricks and mortar businesses) create a Google+ Page – even if you only update it every so often.
It’s important to take some extra time to update your page with images, reviews and news posts, but also pay particular attention to the consistency of your contact details (you want it to be exactly the same as you list elsewhere on the web).
3) Google Webmaster Tools
Want better insight into how healthy your website is in the eyes of Google? Just set up a Google Webmaster Tools account. Google Webmaster Tools will alert you to any red flags that could prevent your site from getting found in search results, and help you analyse your existing search traffic so you can understand how visitors are currently finding you.
4) Google AdWords
If you want to give your organic efforts to rank in search a bit of a jumpstart, it might make sense to check out Goodle AdWords, Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) product.
If you have yet to try it, here’s how it works: You create ads that target specific keywords related to your business, and your ads appear above or to the right of organic search results on Google when people search for these keywords. The cost of your ads depend on the competitiveness of the keyword you’re targeting, but you only pay if visitors actually click on your ad.
Keep in mind AdWords can quickly become an expensive marketing tool, and unlike organic search, it offers quick wins rather than longer term, lasting (and free) results. That said, if used smartly, PPC can help you plan your organic search strategy. This leads us to tool number five …
5) Google AdWords Keyword Planner
If you’re looking to boost your organic SEO, you’ll want to begin with some keyword research. Alternatively, one may also click here to get the most acclaimed SEO strategies that are implemented. Keyword research helps you identify
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner, a tool meant to help you plan your AdWords campaigns, can also help you search for new keyword ideas and suggestions to help you with your organic keyword research as well. Keep in mind you will need to set up an AdWords account to use the Keyword Planner, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to create and post an ad.
6) Google Trends
In addition to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends can be a great tool for helping you make smarter keyword choices. It enables you to evaluate the popularity of certain terms, compare them against other keyword variations, analyse how their popularity varies over time and in different regions/languages, and shows related keywords, which can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.
Trying to decide between two keyword variations for your latest blog post title? Why not do a quick comparison in Google Trends to see which one is getting searched more often.
Google Trends can also help you identify trending topics, news, and content which may be helpful for spotting opportunities for your content strategy.
7) Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Forms
Google provides a suite of tools comparable to those in the Microsoft Office suite, which can potentially save your business time and money:
- Google Docs for Word documents.
- Google Sheets for Excel spreadsheets
- Google Slides for PowerPoint presentations
- Google Forms for easily collecting simple survey responses
Consider using them to share and collaborate on marketing for items such as data analyses, ebooks or blog post drafts, marketing or slide presentations, or surveys and polls. Projects save automatically and can also be accessed across devices with a quick download of their mobile app.
8) Google Drive
Google Drive is Google’s free online storage service, allowing users up to 15 GB of free storage in the cloud for files like photos, documents, designs, videos, etc. Trying to send a large image or PowerPoint file to others on your team? Google Drive allows you to share your files or folders with others, making collaboration easy and reducing the headache of large email attachments.
9) Google Alerts
Google Alerts enables you to monitor the web for mentions of specific keywords or phrases. Once set up, you’ll receive either email alerts or results via RSS whenever these phrases have been mentioned online. For instance, you can sign up to get notified whenever someone mentions your company, products, executives, or your competition. This PR tool is a great way to stay on top of your business’ online reputation and react to online mentions of your brand in a timely manner.
10) Google News
“Newsjacking” or capitalising on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success is a great way to piggyback off the success of a news story that is already getting traction. If you’re interested in taking advantage of newsjacking in your marketing content strategy, use Google News to search for and identify news relevant to your industry with good newsjacking potential.
11) Google Voice
In an era when people use their phones to surf the web, it’s only natural to start using the web to manage our phones. Nexgen phone system makes it easy to manage multiple phone lines, create personalized voicemail messages depending on who’s calling, and easily transcribe voicemail messages, making it much easier to stay on top of a busy voicemail inbox.
12) Google Calendar
Being organised is key to being a productive marketer — especially if you’re wearing multiple hats. Enter Google Calendar, an easy way to organize your day, keep track of meetings, and share your schedule with others.
13) Google Analytics
How many of your website visitors are brand new versus returning? How long are people spending on your site? Does it have a high bounce rate? All of these important analytical questions can be answered by Google Analytics. This free website analytics product can give you smarter insight into your website traffic and help you understand how people are finding and navigating your site.
That said, website analytics is definitely not a replacement for marketing analytics. You’ll still need integrated marketing analytics to help you measure your entire marketing funnel and track your visitors all the way through to becoming leads and customers.
14) Google FeedBurner
Want to grow your reach? Then consider allowing your visitors to subscribe to your website content, particularly your blog, using feeds. By setting up a Google FeedBurner account, your site visitors can subscribe to your content and receive regular updates via their web browsers, RSS readers, or email. And considering subscribers are extremely critical to the growth and reach of your business blog, offering subscription options for your content isn’t something you want to overlook.
YouTube has been a Google product since 2006, and considering the fact that YouTube’s more than 1 billion users watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views every day, video marketers can’t afford to ignore it as a powerful marketing tool.
Your YouTube channel is no longer a “nice-to-have”, in 2015 going forward it is a “MUST HAVE” for every business who is motivated to improve your customer’s experience.
To get even more out of the marketing videos you share on YouTube, consider annotating your videos so that you can add clickable calls-to-action to your videos which drive more traffic back to your website — so you can really amplify the value you get out of YouTube.