One of the best things about the internet is the amazing access to free resources it provides. For marketers, this is both a benefit and challenge. With so many free tools available, how do you choose what’s right for your needs? You don’t want to risk missing out, but where do you start?
Start where your customers start — with Google.
Look at the numbers:
● There are 3.5 billion Google searches done every day. (Internet Live Stats)
● Every year, the volume of Google searches grows by about 10 per cent. (Internet Live Stats)
● Google accounts for almost 90 per cent of desktop searches. By comparison, a little over six per cent of global searches happen using Bing. (Statista)
● The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of web pages. (Google).
Here are three essential and free Google tools that can help buyers find your business.
Google My Business (GMB)
What is GMB?
GMB is how you can optimize your Google business profile and make it work for you. A few basics: a Google business profile is your business listing. It shows up on Google Search and Maps. It includes the name of your business, location, and category. It may also include other information Google has indexed from across the internet. Searchers/consumers can also add reviews, photos, and questions.
Your business profile is separate from your GMB account. If you don’t have a GMB account, you can’t take control of your business profile.
Why you need a GMB account
It’s the only way you can manage, customize, and boost your business profile so that it becomes a productive lead generator and SEO tool. GMB allows you to control how your business appears when people Google it. This is important because consistency across listings will help you move up in local search rankings.
You can track it, reply to customer reviews and queries, and add photos and specific details about your business. For example, you can let potential customers know when you’re open and what you sell. You can even add coupons and special offers. Most importantly, GMB gives you a window into how and where people are finding you.
The biggest reason you need a GMB account: customers are 70 per cent more likely to visit businesses with a complete GMB listing. Research also shows complete listings are twice as likely to be viewed as reputable.
How Google determines local rank
Google uses three key factors to determine a business’s local ranking:
● Relevance. This comes down to how well a listing matches what a potential customer is searching. The more detailed the information you provide, the better Google can understand your business and connect it to pertinent searches.
Fast stat: 78 per cent of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
● Distance. No surprise here. Google looks at how close search results are to the location cited in the search. If a location isn’t included, then Google calculates distance based on what is known about the user’s location. The closer your business is to a searcher, the higher its ranking.
Fast stat: Google searches with “near me” grow 2.4 times year-over-year.
● Prominence. This is all about brand recognition and how well-known a business is offline. Google also looks through all the online information it has about a business. This can include articles, directory listings, likes, reviews and ratings. A business’s position in web search results is also considered. This is why SEO is key to improving a business’s local ranking.
Fast stat: 88 per cent of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. This is another reason GMB and taking control of your business profile is so crucial.
How to set up a GMB account
Go to google.com/business and click “Manage now.” This will take you through the steps to create an account and claim your Google business profile. Verify your GMB listing by phone, text or email. For steo by step instructions, click here.
Tip: To get the most out of your GMB account, personalize your page by adding your logo, photos and website. Keep it up to date. Encourage customers to leave reviews and be sure to respond.
Google Analytics (GA)
What is GA?
GA is a web tool that can help you track the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns. It does this by adding tracking code to your website. The code records who is visiting your site and what they’re doing. Once the user leaves your site, all that information automatically goes to GA, where it is sorted in multiple ways to create dashboards and reports.
Why you need GA
It can show you exactly who and where your current and potential customers are. Their age, gender, interests and location are all available to you. GA can also tell you where they were before they landed on your website. For example, maybe they made their way from Instagram, a competitor’s site or an ad. You can use all this data to better focus and plan your marketing campaigns to achieve maximum impact.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
What is Google Ads Keyword Planner?
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a tool that helps you research and generate keywords for your search campaigns.
Why you need Google Ads Keyword Planner
It will help you:
● find new keywords by providing suggestions for keywords related to your products and services.
● see how effective your keywords are. You will have access to monthly estimates on the number of searches a keyword gets.
● budget. Keyfinder shows the average cost for your ad to turn up on searches for a specific keyword.
● plan campaigns based on keyword research.
● get ads in front of the right buyers at the right time.
There are hundreds of free marketing tools on the internet, but few that are proven to improve visibility, generate quality leads and build trust. GMB, GA and Google Ads Keyword Planner will do all of those things when they are used as part of a holistic marketing plan.