Getting the Most Out of Google

The undisputed king of the search engines in 2011 is Google.  If you are an online entrepreneur or even a traditional business owner you can’t afford to ignore Google and your presence on their platform. Chances are that Google Search is a major way that your potential prospects and clients either are or are not finding you.

But Google is much more than just a search engine. They are a very smart organisation that has morphed into a whole bunch of different services or utilities online. Many of these services they provide are free for you to use, while some are premium paid services.

Lets now look at some of the best services that Google provides so that we can quickly identify how you as a business owner can ‘get the most out of Google’.  The areas we will cover are as follows:

  1. Google Adwords
  2. Google Image Ads
  3. Google Places
  4. Google Apps / Gmail
  5. Google Analytics
  6. Google Website Optimizer

 

1. Google Adwords

Google Adwords Search Network ads are the paid ads that turn up on the top section and the right hand side section of the Google search screen.

 

This is the most pure and perfect form of advertising that exists in the history of mankind. Big call I know, but the reason why I say this is because your ads only show up if people are actively searching for the keywords that you have advised Google are related to your product / service that you are advertising.

 

Then the best bit is that you only pay for your advertising if a Google searcher clicks on your ads.  It can’t get any fairer than that.  If you compare this to an ad in the newspaper – I can’t see any major publications allowing you to only pay for your ad if you get some interest from it.

 

The Google Adwords search network system works on a Pay Per Click (PPC) model. This means that you pay a pre-determined amount (eg. $0.56 or $1.03) every time that someone clicks on your ad.

 

The whole thing works on relevance. If Google determines that your ad is very relevant and highly regarded by its searchers because it’s getting a good Click Through Rate (CTR) and people are staying on your site a good length of time, then they will reward you with lower advertising costs and your ads will rank higher than other advertisers who are not creating as relevant advertising.

 

To really win the Adwords game your ads need to be relevant to the keywords that are being searched for, and then the website landing page that the searchers end up at after clicking the ads need to be closely relevant to the keywords that were searched for as well as the keywords in the ad.

 

Google Adwords is something that every business owner should consider from accountants to plumbers and beyond.  The reason why is because there are already millions of people searching for solutions to their problems, so it makes sense for you to have your ads showing up on the first page of Google stating that you can provide a solution to the relevant problems.

 

Unfortunately Google Adwords is not as cost effective in 2011 as when I first started doing it 6 years ago.  There are more competitors now and because of supply and demand the cost per click goes up over time.  A good Google Adwords Consultant will be able to smash the competition for you and result in cheaper clicks and better rankings for your ads. This may be more cost effective for you than trying to learn to do it yourself.  My team at http://InternetMarketingDoneForYou.com can assist you if you need a hand in this area or any of the sections below.

 

2. Google Image Ads

Google has a 2nd major part to its advertising, this is the display network. The Google Display Network is when your advertising shows up on relevant non Google Websites where website owners display Google ads on behalf of Google on their sites.

Display network ads come in many types, but essentially there are two main types – text ads (like Google Search) or image ads. I love Google Image ads because it works out a very cost effective traffic source for driving leads to free offers.

‘Image ads’ is just another way of saying Banner Advertising on Google’s display network.  The thing is that it is more targeted than standard banner advertising on other networks because you can determine the keywords and page content that are relevant to the websites where you want to show your ads.

Your image ads can be either standard images or they can be animated (gifs or Flash).  You should choose animated gifs as this allows your banner ads to have a cost effective way of having animated components. This means you will catch the site visitor’s eye more with movement on your ads. The other main benefit of animated gif ads is that you will be able to communicate more on the same sized banner ad because you have multiple images worth of words and images that can rotate on your ad.

Unfortunately there is a little bit of an art to really getting this form of advertising really cracking.  Give it a go yourself but if you don’t get the results you are after you should engage a professional to give you a hand.  These campaigns don’t require much maintenance so once it is live you could save money by managing it yourself.

This form of advertising is not necessarily well suited to every business.  Where it is relevant is if you have some kind of free offer that you are using for lead generation such as a free report or video in exchange for their contact details so that you can market to the leads again.

 

3. Google Places

‘Google Maps’ is now called ‘Google Places’ even though most people still think of it as Google Maps. Millions of people search Google Maps every day. A free listing on Google Maps makes it easy for them to find your business.

If you are a localised business then you want to make sure you are maximising your exposure in this medium as it really is an easy way to rank high for free traffic from Google.

Use Google Places to create your free listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they’ll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. It’s easy, free, and you don’t even need a website of your own, but it is better if you have one that you can link to from there.

A common thing that we find with nearly every local business that we work with is that they have a presence on the maps on Google but they have never ‘claimed their listing’ and populated the information.

While Google never really reveals their search and ranking algorithms it is clear that Google Places listings that have been ‘claimed’ and populated with full information about the business do get higher priorities in rankings than those that have not been claimed.

Google Places is particularly relevant if you have a ‘traditional business’ such as ‘Accountant in Bondi’ etc as these local searches are when the Google Places listings will show up.

If you haven’t already done so then please visit http://www.google.com/places/ to claim your business listing today.

 

4. Google Apps / Gmail

Google has grown into a service provider online that provides web visitors and website owners far more than just search services.  One of their biggest developments in recent years has been their Gmail email service.

In a relatively short period of time Google’s Gmail service grew in popularity because of its superior spam protection and smart web based email client. Many people use Gmail as their personal email service, but as a business owner you also have the option to use the premium corporate version of this service called Google Apps.

Google Apps has many components to it, with one of the most popular of these being the email service.  Effectively it is like is Gmail for your business, so instead of your email address being @gmail.com it is @yourdomainname.com.

This is not a free service, it costs US$50 per mail user per year but it is a very cost effective way of running an email service for your business.  Back when I had a day job one of my roles in corporate IT was as an email Network Architect for large multi nationals, so I know email very well.  For a small to medium sized business it is no longer cost effective to run Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino (Notes) if you can have an email service hosted and managed by Google for just $50 per user per year.

The other real benefit of Google Apps for your business is that it will provide you with a whole suite of other collaboration tools for your team such as Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites just to name a few.

Try Google Apps at http://google.com/a for your business today, as it really is excellent. We find we implement it in 9 out of 10 companies we work with.

 

5. Google Analytics

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is one of the better things I learned from one of my marketing mentors Mal Emery. The tool that I use for measuring website stats and I recommend that you use too is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a free service from Google. Effectively you tell Google what website that you want Google Analytics to track website visitor statistics on. Google Analytics will then supply you a piece of tracking code to put on the pages of your website.

Google Analytics will then start recording how many site visitors you get per day, how they found your website, what parts of your site that they are clicking on and much more. You can even get Google Analytics to send you automated reports on a how your website is progressing.

It’s amazing how many website owners we meet who don’t have Google Analytics setup for their sites. If you fit into this category please consider this a virtual slap on the wrist from me for being a naughty boy / girl / other and take action immediately to get it live for your site by visiting http://www.google.com/analytics/

 

6. Google Website Optimizer

Google Website Optimizer is another free service from Google.  What it does is it gives you a way of comparing two website pages or website elements together to see which one results in the best lead or sales conversions.

Website Optimizer, Google’s free website testing and optimization tool, allows you to increase the value of your existing websites and traffic without having to spend additional funds on traffic.

As the readership base for Internet Marketing Magazine is quite diverse from complete Internet Newbies to full-time marketing pro’s we’ll keep it simple and talk about the most the most common configuration of the Google Website Optimizer tool which is A/B split testing.

Most website owners take guesses at which components of their websites are going to result in the most leads and sales. There is no need to guess when Google Website Optimizer will tell this information to you based off real site visitors and their actions.

Say you have a page on your website and it’s primary purpose is to give away a copy of your free report in exchange for the site visitors details. Each time this happens we would consider it a ‘conversion’.

What you now need to do is take a copy of that page and create a 2nd version of it with a new webpage name.  On that 2nd version of the page change a design element that you think may have a positive effect on your conversions.  A great place to start is by writing a new headline.

Then within Google Website Optimizer tell it the web address of the first page and also the new page you’ve created. Also tell Google Website Optimizer the page that the web visitor will end up at following an opt-in (a conversion).  Google will now give you some tracking code to put on those pages.

Once that is done you choose for the A/B experiment to start and Google will start rotating automatically between those pages in a round robin fashion when site visitors hit the site.  Over time you will be able to see which page of the site performs better and you will be able to declare a winner.  You then take this winner and create a 2nd version of it and repeat the process again.

Effectively what you are doing is constantly tracking and measuring and pushing the conversion rate up on your website.  You can have the same advertising cost but actually reduce your cost per lead simply by increasing your conversion rate.  If you are paying for any advertising for your site you should without a doubt be utilising Google Website Optimizer in your business.

 

There is much more to Google Services than we have outlined here, but this is a good summary of the fundamental services of theirs you should be implementing in your business today.

 

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