10 Google Tools to market your business.
This is a post I was preparing for my Business Blog (launching soon), but I decided to re-write and post it here due to the fact that it may help some of you. Instead of going into detail about each of these 10 Free Google Tools I’ll give a brief summary of each. For each of these Tools I could write a detailed explanation and the methods of using each, but this will simply overwhelm most readers; hence the decision to summarise.
These tools can all help you with promoting/marketing your business, whether it be a totally online business or a physical store (brick and mortar) with an online presence.[break]
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is Google’s latest implementation or tool to help businesses get more exposure and views from potential consumers. It is a multi-platform tool incorporating Google’s previous “Google+ Local” and “Google Places” tools. For Local Businesses, this tool is particularly useful (if not essential) due to it’s integration with Google Maps. The Google My Business Dashboard allows you to manage your Google Maps location (if applicable) your Brand Awareness/Exposure and your Google+ Profile (G+ discussed in more detail later on). Having a correctly setup Google My Business Profile/Page, will also influence your Google Organic Search Results too. For those of you without a physical store/location, Google My Business also has tools to help you promote your Brand or Website and as far as I’m concerned any FREE Tool that positively influences your organic search rankings is a tool you should be using.
Note: If you were already listed on “Google+ Local” or “Google Places”, you account information should have been transferred to the new platform, but I do suggest you login to Google My Places and check or update your listing information. Sign-up to Google My Places here.[break]
2. Google Alerts
How would you like to get email notifications whenever new content about topics of your choice are posted online? Can you see the power of knowing when someone mentions your business (or your products/services) online? Google Alerts allows you to setup Alerts (notifications) based on keywords or topics of your choice and when this content is posted in news articles, social media, blogs, web pages, and more; you get an e-mail notification (as long as they match the search terms you set up). Google Alerts is great for managing your Brand as you can intercept when both Good/Bad comments are made about your business and you can act accordingly. You could also setup alerts for when people discuss or mention the products or services you provide and you can go and comment on these posts (where possible) and come across as being the expert or go to person. There’s a lot you can do with Alerts if setup correctly that will help you build you brand and drive traffic to your website/blog.
Here’s a sneaky tip: Use Google Alerts to spy on your Competitors
Google Alerts URL: https://www.google.com/alerts [break]
3. Google Trends
Google Trends is a tool that can help you with many aspects of your online marketing. From Keyword Research to finding trending topics or to once again spy on your competitors. With Google Trends you can compare the search volume between two or more different keyword terms and build profitable keyword lists. You can also use the trends data to help you come up with content ideas for your website, blog, videos, or social media posts. You can even use Trends Data to learn more about how many people are searching for your products or services. Google Trends can also help you decide on a new product or service to offer or what to name that product or service. I’m sure you can see the value here…
Google Trends URL: https://www.google.com/trends/ [break]
Google+ also known as ‘Google Plus’ is Google’s Social Network. Of all the Social Networks out there, Facebook is still ranked as the No.1 Social Network with Google+ coming in at No.2 or 3 (pending on how Twitter performs). If you have a Google My Business account, your Google+ account has been created already and may just need some tweaks to get it operational. I’m not a huge fan of Google+, but I also see the value of using it and thus have a Google+ Account for all my websites and I have setup Google+ Pages for those clients that also see the value of using it. Google+ can be a great tool simply for Social Media (Sharing Content etc), but the power of Google+ is how it can boost your organic Search Results. A good following on Google+ will help boost your rankings and attact potential clients. The nice thing about Google+ is that you can simply add people to your circles without their consent (Facebook, you need to ask people to like your page). Once people are added to your circles, most return the favour and so your following grows.
Get a Google+ Account/Page for your business here. Add a few people every week to your circles and setup your blog to auto-post to the Google+ Page. Set aside an hour or two once a week to view and or manage the page (i.e. Respond to comments and interact with your readers etc)
5. Google Hangouts
This may not be for everyone, especially if you are camera shy. I personally haven’t used Hangouts for this very reason and the ‘Camera Shy Thing‘ is a challenge I need to overcome sometime soon. Google Hangouts allows you to hold Video Conferencing calls with customers, friends or staff members. While it is currently limited to a maximum of 15x users (as far as I know), the beauty is that these ‘Hangout Sessions’ are hosted on YouTube, which means they can easily be shared on YouTube, other Social Channels or embedded on your website/blog. Hangouts can be accessed via Desktop PC’s, Notebooks or with most mobile devices, making them easily accessible to almost everyone. Another great feature is the ability to share one’s screen with the attendees of the Hangout Session, making this a great tool for ‘over the shoulder’ type training sessions or for support calls (if applicable).
[customborder width=”2″ style=”dashed” color=”orange”]
You can throw in a Skype like aspect and do audio or video chats (Hangouts) but the big extra, especially as far as lecturers and marketers are concerned is Hangouts on Air. Like the standard hangout it’s video or audio but the huge plus is that it attaches itself to YouTube and does a video dump of the whole thing. Now this can be private or public – as with all YouTube videos, so you don’t have to worry about putting your private calls all over the internet. You can set up the Hangout on Air in advance and tell as many people who want to be there either the Google+ link (if they already have a Google account) or the YouTube link and they can watch it all, as it happens. And the cost? Zero. It’s a webinar for free.
Source: My friend Steven Lucas | Read the full post…
Google Hangouts URL: https://hangouts.google.com/ [break]
6. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools (or Search Console) is a Website management and monitoring tool that, in my opinion, is an essential tool if you are responsible for running any website or blog. With Google Webmaster Tools you get regular updates on important information such as indexing status, search queries, and the search appearance of your site. You also get tips on how to optimise and increase the visibility of your website and how to troubleshoot errors Google Bot finds on your site. Adding your website to Google Webmaster Tools also allows you to upload your sitemap.xml file, which helps Google Index your website and can also have a positive affect on your overall Search Rankings. Like Google My Business, this is one of those essential tools you should be using.
Google Webmaster Tools URL: https://www.google.com/webmasters/
Note: Bing Search Engine also has a Webmasters Tools and I encourage you use this too.[break]
7. Google Analytics
Chances are that you are already using Google Analytics to track and/or monitor the traffic coming and moving through your website. There are other Tracking Applications out there, for those that don’t like Google, but Google Analytics is by far the Best FREE Traffic Tracking and Analytics tool available. Fact is that even if you have been using Google Analytics for some time, you probably haven’t even scratched the surrface of what this tool offers. You can track traffic from various sources such as social networks, search engines, direct visits and links from other sites and more. It can also keep track of email marketing links, pay-per-click campaign links and display advertising links. Taking it even further, you can setup Goals to track who is moving through your site and taking action where you intended them to, by tracking landing page activities etc. You can also monitor bounce rates and what content is keeping users on your site for longer, so you know what your readers like. If by chance these features aren’t enough, there is a Premium Version available if you wish to pay for the upgrade (The Free tools are more than enough for most users).
Google Analytics URL: www.google.com/analytics/ [break]
8. Google Adwords
Google Adwords is, in my opinion, the core product for Google. Everything else in Google’s Toolkit is designed to get people using Adwords in some form or another. This is How Google make’s it’s BIG money; selling advertising! On Search Engine Results pages, you will find Paid Adverts running at the top, bottom and right-hand column of the page. Google Adwords Customers pay Google to display their adverts on these pages. These Ads are ranked according to Keywords and the amount of money the Adwords Customer Bid for his/her Keywords. The more they pay, the higher the ads rank and it all becomes a huge bidding war to out rank competing ads. So, how is Google Adwords good for your business? Well, like my heading title says; FREE Google Tools… and within Google’s Adwords Platform you can access the Free Google Keyword Planner. With the Keyword Planner you can do keyword research, helping you find keywords to target in your content. You can see how many people are searching google for specific keywords (or keyword phrases) and the tool will also recommend simialr keywords you can use. You get to see how many times keywords are searched for and how difficult (or easy) it could be to rank for a particular keyword. If you want to run some PAID Ads using Google Adwords, go for it, but I would advise you get some training first as this is one tool that can cost you a pretty fortune if you don’t know what you are doing.
Google Adwords URL: https://www.google.com/adwords/
FYI – My first and last Adwords campaign cost me $100+ in 48-hours and my retrun on investment was 0%. Needless to say with such a great success at Adwords PPC I haven’t used it since. This is also the reason why I recommend you get some training before tackling Google Adwords – In the long run Good Adwords Training will save you a fortune.
9. Google Adsense
On the other side of the fence to Google Adwords is Google Adsense. When Google Adwords clients buy advertising, the adverts are published on third pary sites using Google Adsense. A 3rd party site is any site or application that isn’t owned or managed by Google and can include Blogs, Websites, Forums and Mobile Apps. Google Adsense is one of the many methods Website owners can use to monetise their sites. If you have a website and you want to make some money displaying Google Ads, then you need to sign up with Google Adsense. Once your account has been approved, you can get some code snippets to add to your site and Google will automatically display content relevant ads on your site. If your readers click on these adverts, you get paid a PPC (pay-per-click) commission. How much you can make from Google Adsense can vary from very little to exhorbitant, but getting to the latter isn’t easy. Personally I have found Adsense revenue dropping year on year and in most case I don’t even monetise my sites with it any more (there are better revenue sources that can occupy the Google Ad spaces on my sites). Also, it isn’t easy to get a new site approved as Google has tightened up their requirements for Adsense Publishers.
Tip: As a business owner, you may be tempted to earn that extra commission from Google Adsense Ads, but be careful. The income earned may be costing you way more that it’s worth. You have no control over the Ads Google Places and while you can block certain domains, usually you have to see the offending ad before you can block it. The offending ad could be any ad that takes potential customers from your site to that of a competitor. Also, why encourage users to leave your site only to earn a few pennies? Think about what it cost you in time and revenue to get those user to your site in the first place.
Note: The reason I say you should know about Google Adsense is because it gives you the overall picture. It also gives you a way to monetise a relatively new website/blog and I have found that placing Adsense Ads on a relatively new blog does help it get indexed faster. Once indexed I usually replace the Adsense Ads with something more profitable (eg. Affiliate Ad Banners).
Google Adsense URL: https://www.google.com/adsense/start/ [break]
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you know that YouTube is owned by Google. What you may not know is that YouTube is considered to be the second biggest Search Engine with millions of people searching for videos on numerous topics. YouTube can be a major source of Traffic for your site and Embedded YouTube Videos can also keep users on your website or blog for longer, thus reducing your bounce rate and increasing user retention, both excellent for your on-site Search Engine Optimisation.
YouTube URL: www.youtube.com [break]
Conclusion: With that said, I’m sure there are other Google Tools (like Google Feedburner) that could be added to this list. If you want to share about the Google tools you use, or how you use them, please mention them in the comments section below. I do like hearing from you and try to reply to as many comments as possible 🙂 [break]