By Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine, controlling 79% of the market share and dealing with 3.5 billion searches every day. The power of Google is staggering, but are you harnessing this power and making the most of it for your business?
Google is more than Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Most business people know about the importance of getting their business’ website found in the top of Google search results to drive relevant traffic. But are you embracing the other tools that Google provides for businesses that can help you deliver more profit?
Google My Business (GMB)
GMB gives you the ability to register your business location on Google Maps and local search results, displaying important information such as your business name, address, opening/closing times, phone number, website link and, recently, Google has added a new feature allowing you to post about forthcoming events.
This listing is completely free and is a necessity for all businesses, regardless of whether you have a physical shop or not.
Having a Google My Business listing is one of the simplest ways for your business to be found. More results are becoming geo specific as Google becomes increasingly intelligent at working out user intent. Have you ever done a Google search like ‘coffee near me’, and taken a look at the search results? You will see three coffee shops recommended to you based on your current location and those three businesses that have appeared as a result of your search are a step closer to attracting a new customer.
Without an optimised Google My Business page, your business might not show for relevant searches and therefore, miss out on potential customers. The next step people take is to click on the business for more information and probably directions. The way people search is changing and information needs to be instantaneous. If your business is difficult to navigate to, due to inaccurate address details, then people will simply go somewhere else. This is the nature of the world we now live in, so make sure you’re taking advantage of it.
For: All business, but essential for any business where the customer come to a physical location.
Google Analytics (GA) is vital free tool from Google to monitor the performance of your website. You’re able to monitor how many people are visiting your website, when they visit and how they are coming to your website. It will also offer insight for which of your website’s pages perform best in terms of attracting traffic and engaging the user. This helps you to identify how you should optimise other pages on your site to achieve similarly positive results.
GA will offer you a vast amount of data and the important thing is that you understand how to interpret your website analytics to make sure you’re making good decisions. You must understand what you’re seeing and be careful not to misinterpret data. For example, a common mistake is to not filter traffic. The unfiltered view will show all traffic coming to your website, even spam traffic, and this can give a false impression of how many visitors your site is receiving leading you to make wrong decisions about your online marketing.
Google Analytics will give you access to actionable insights and with the right knowledge, guide your improvements to your website’s performance.
For: Absolutely essential for all businesses with a website
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google! More and more people are turning to video to find answers to their questions. As incredible as it sounds, there are over three hundred hours of video uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds. That is a lot of video content and proves that video marketing is a growing trend.
Does your business have a YouTube account? If so, when was the last time you posted a video? What was the engagement like? How did you promote it?
Your company may not be making the most of video and its ability to engage customers in a different way. Do not ignore video, but also do not make videos for the sake of it. Think about what videos would be useful for your customers, for example how to videos which use your products or video blogs where you discuss current trends in your industry. Make the videos, get them on YouTube and then tell people they are there.
For: All businesses, has great potential, but you need to publicise your videos
AdWords is an extremely powerful advertising tool giving your business the ability to promote your products or services on Google search results, YouTube and millions of websites. Providing you know what you are doing with AdWords, and can structure and optimise your campaigns effectively, then you can target potential customers and secure new sales in a cost-efficient way.
A defining feature of AdWords is the data you can collect and analyse. You may already be investing in advertising in the form of ads in magazines or on TV, but how do you track if someone actually bought your product or service as a result of seeing your ad? Unless they tell you directly then the truth is you can’t.
With AdWords, you can see if someone clicked on your ad and whether they then proceeded to make a purchase. This means you can attribute a sale to AdWords and can work out your cost per acquisition to see if your campaigns are profitable. This gives you control over your advertising spend and evidence over whether your ads are working.
AdWords has a number of features to enhance your campaigns, such as ad scheduling to choose when people see your ads; location targeting to define who will see your ads depending on where they are; ad extensions to give more information about your organisation. For example, if your business has free onsite parking, free WiFi or a sale on then you can tell people that to create more engaging ads.
However, it is important to consider that if you have a limited knowledge of AdWords, things can easily go wrong. Do you know the difference between broad match and phrase match keywords? If you don’t, you could find yourself making a very expensive mistake. Consult a specialist digital marketing agency with experience in using AdWords to ensure that your account is set up and managed correctly. Google are constantly releasing updates and you may not have the time to keep on top of these.
The power of AdWords is vast and it can be an extremely profitable form of advertising if done right. Do not neglect it, but be wary of the dangers that come with doing it wrong.
For: Almost all businesses. Profit potential high when done well; done badly it’s costly
If you’re a retailer, Google Shopping is a powerful tool you should be making the most of. It gives you the ability to promote your products with an image, item name, merchant name and price. Shopping ads make it easy for consumers to identify products before they click on your ads, meaning that those that do click are more valuable leads.
You’re able to achieve much higher click through rates with Shopping ads compared to text ads and this is mainly down to the visibility factor. If you can see an image of the product you can instantly workout what it is and if it is what you’re looking for. Google Shopping is managed through Google Adwords but you also need a Google Merchant Center account with a data feed from your online store. Consult your web developer or an experienced digital marketing team to help you set this up.
For: Essential for retailers that sell online
Google Translate Plugin
If your website has a global customer base, it makes sense to create a website in the same language as your customers’. This will help to reinforce your brand identity in that country and attract new customers.
Translating vast amounts of content can be costly and time intensive. Google Translate offers an alternative with instant and free translation. Admittedly, it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a good start, especially if you want to launch a website quickly.
For: Businesses that may sell abroad, even occasionally
Google Search Console
You are probably already aware of the importance of appearing in Google search results. Over 64% of all website visits start with a search engine, so if your site is not search engine optimised, you’re already at a severe disadvantage in comparison to your competitors.
Google Search Console is a fundamental webmaster tool and helps with search engine optimisation. It will provide you with important data directly from Google, improving your understanding of how the search engines view your website and how people find it.
You will be alerted of any errors on your website, such as broken pages, and this can help you respond to make sure the SEO health of your site is maintained.
Search Console is a fantastic tool to help highlight any problems that may negatively affect your rankings in Google search results and even offers insights into issues with your websites’ user experience.
If you’re not already familiar with Google Search Console this tool is not the easiest to get to grips with and it can take a while to learn about the various features. However, if you want to ensure the performance of your website is as good as it can be, it’s essential that you set up Search Console and check it regularly.
For: Businesses that are serious about customers finding them online and giving them a great website experience.
Do you know how to make the most of Google?
These tools are available to use right now, but what holds most people back is a lack of the required technical knowledge to use them successfully. This is where you should be looking to hire the services of a marketing agency who are experts in using Google’s various marketing and advertising tools. There is nothing worse than going it alone with a lack of knowledge as this is when mistakes happen and sometimes they can be costly errors, which were avoidable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Butler is founder of Innovation Visual, a digital marketing consultancy specialising in developing your online presence and digital communications. Using the latest techniques in SEO, PPC and online content creation, Innovation Visual is an award-winning Google, Bing and Hubspot Partner, and works to increase conversion rates, basket values, and return frequency. See: https://www.innovationvisual.com/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/timbutler101
LinkedIn Innovation Visual Page – https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/10019315/