In most of the English-speaking world, Google is one of the largest search engines. In addition to the important role it plays in facilitating online searches, Google also offers various features that businesses can use to boost their online presence.
Google enables online businesses to connect with their local customers, to set up online ad campaigns, to set up online payment methods, and to access free Analytics about their online business. Here are just few of the Google features you can leverage for your online business:
Google Plus for Business is essentially Google’s social media service. The platform allows businesses to create a profile where they can communicate and engage their customers. While Google Plus is not yet as influential as Facebook is, an increasingly large number of social media users are joining the platform and remaining active. Google Plus features such as Google Circles allow businesses to create a social community that they can continually engage.
Google Plus allows businesses to create ads and campaigns that are highly targeted. Instead of sending out the same messages to different audiences who may use a different language or may be based in another country, it is best to hyper-target your audience. This is what Google Plus allows you to do; through the creation of Circles, you can categorize your audience according to their interests and demographic characteristics. You can then send them targeted and valuable messages.
Through Google Plus, you can share photos, videos and links with your social community. You can also host hangouts where you can conveniently communicate with your customers face to face irrespective of their location.
A new and interesting feature is the Direct Connect feature that allows web users to find a business’ Google Plus pages through the Google Search engines. You can simply link your Google Plus pages with Google search and the pages will appear for relevant searches.
Google Plus Local
Google Places is Google’s location based service that allows businesses to position themselves in a way that local consumers can easily locate them. While businesses with a physical presence will benefit more from Google Place, businesses with online operations can also leverage this feature. To get your business listed and for it to appear on Google Search, you need to provide an address; it is possible to use your Post Office address if you do not have a main physical storefront.
According to Google, up to 97% of web users are searching online for local businesses. Increasingly, they are using their mobile devices to conduct these searches. Google Plus Local listings allow customers to find you when they are looking for the type of product or service that you offer. Consumers can also share your product images with their friends and family. Additionally, you can follow the social conversations that your customers are having and respond to these comments in a timely manner.
One of the reasons Google Plus Local is essential for online businesses is the fact that local consumers are using their mobile devices to find business and content. When consumers search using their mobile devices, Google results show both online and local businesses. This allows users to find out about your products and services even when you are solely based online.
Another reason to consider Google Places for your online business is that Google is constantly adjusting its page ranking algorithms. As such, if you have valuable content in your website, your online business will continue to enjoy suitable page rankings at the search engine result pages. Importantly, you should fill out all the details in your business Place Page to rank higher in the search pages for Google Places.
If you have an online storefront, you need a convenient payment and checkout structure. Installing Google Wallet in your website or e-commerce site allows your customers to pay using this feature for the products they purchase from your site. Businesses that already have a payment processing system in place can still use Google Wallet for their e-commerce stores. Customers only need their Google account username and password to make payments.
Google Wallet offers convenience for both the business owner and the consumer. The consumer can pay for products immediately without navigating away from the site. Google Wallet is optimized for mobile websites and allows further convenience for your mobile consumers. There is no cost for installing Google Wallet on your website and customers do not incur any costs either.
An additional feature is Google Merchant Center, which allows businesses to display their products online. The product listing is accessible through the Google Shopping portal as well as in Google Product Ads and Google Commerce Search – all these are Google’s online shopping and reviews portals.
Importantly, Google Shopping enables online consumers to find your products easily through Google. As an online marketer, Google Shopping allows you to attract a wider range of prospects as they search for products at Google search. Google Shopping also enables you to manage your product listing by allowing you to update the information to make it relevant for your customers.
Google Adwords is a free and valuable tool that allows online businesses to advertise their services at the search engine result pages. Unlike organic search marketing, paid advertising through Google Adwords allows you to place your ads for competitive keywords.
The Adwords program allows businesses to target their audience according to their location and for keywords that web users are likely to use to search the business. Adwords also allows you to include your business URL through which web users can click to reach your website.
The program works on a pay per click basis such that when a web user clicks through the ad to your website, you will pay Google a fixed amount for every click through. Adwords can be effective in boosting your site’s visibility. By having a strategic Adwords campaign in place, you can increase relevant click throughs thereby expanding your prospect and customer base.
Measuring the progress of your online business could never be easier with a free tool such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics simply allows you to track, monitor and to analyze your website data and site visitor activities. Some of the metrics you can monitor and analyze include:
• Sources of Traffic: Google Analytics allows you to determine how site visitors arrive at your site. The tool allows you to determine other websites and platforms that have linked to your website and the key phrases web users are using to find your site.
• Visitor demographics: Google Analytics enables you to assess the number of site visitors, their location, their activities on your site, their browsers as well as the language spoken by the visitor.
• On-site Information: Google Analytics enables you to assess on-page features such as your content, landing page, navigation as well as internal links.