Decoding the Labyrinth of Google Offerings: 5 Key Services for Your Business

Thursday, July 23, 2015 3:00 PM

So you know how to utilize Google Analytics for your business, gold star for you. But what about the other services Google touts, like Google AdSearch? Google AdWords? Google My Business, Google Sitemaps, Google Plus, Google Chat and Google Mail too? Feel overwhelmed yet? We've just scratched the surface of what Google wants your business to use - check out this list for the full, insane range of services the big G offers. If you work in virtually any modern day business-setting, we'd bet you hear at least one of these services mentioned daily.

So how are you, a self-respecting businessperson, supposed to master all of these tools? The answer: please don't even try. Although our Google overlords provide a service for pretty much every web-related query conceivable, most of them aren't ones you should be interested in on a day to day basis. There are, however, a few gems that you need to have at least a basic understanding of:

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most, if not the most, valuable free tool out there for studying who is visiting your site and what they're looking at. Analytics allows you to get a behind-the-scenes look at your prospective and current clientele and how they use and find your site, leading to valuable marketing and targeting insights. Upon first glance, however, the service can be a totally overwhelming mass of graphs and unfamiliar terms. Here are some key, beginner metrics to observe:

Google Analytics will let you keep tabs on your visitors and their activity on your website.
  • Time range settings, especially using the 'compare to' tool, are your best friend. See that little date-range in the top right corner? Use it for everything. Compare every piece of data across weeks, months, even years, to judge current performance.
  • Audience tabs - these tabs will cover all your basics: number of page views, demographics, new vs returning visitors, mobile users, average time on site, etc. etc.
  • Acquisition tabs - see how much traffic is coming from referral sites, view your AdWords performance (more on that later), check out what keywords are getting searched under SEO Queries, and what your most popular landing pages are.
  • Behaviour - In-Page Analytics - cruise your site with behaviour analytics on-screen. A quick, easy tool to map how people use your page.

2. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is something you should be using. Google's enormously successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system can give positive results to almost any type of business. While obviously not free, it provides a massive trackable ROI for most. AdWords provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns and ads to your particular needs, targeting the audiences you most want to reach. It's no replacement for good old SEO, but when used as an SEM conjunction yields fantastic results. See here for a simple how-to.

3. Google My Business

The idea behind Google My Business (previously called Google Places) is to make life easier for local businesses, as well as brands, to be better found within Google. It's a free, easily set up tool to make sure you show up more frequently in searches, provide updated and correct information to customers (i.e. hours, address, phone numbers etc.), appear on Google Maps, and be found across devices.

Stand out from the crowd on Google Plus. Don't leave that generic page!

4. Google Plus

Though widely considered a flop in terms of it's personal social networking popularity, a properly set up Google Plus page can help your firm's SEO big time. Don't just leave the generic Plus page you receive when you create a Google account as-is! Edit as many fields as you can to make your page accessible to customers - description, business type, hours. Put a little effort into making it visually appealing - a good profile picture and cover photo go a long way. And link, link, link your website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. pages! Lastly, regularly post content that you share across other platforms. It's not going to get the same user interaction... but it is going to noticeably enhance SEO metrics.

5. Google Drive

So you have a project team (or, you're just a small business in general) and you're all juggling multiple files in a million-year-long e-mail chain? No more! If you're not using the Google Drive cloud (and/or you don't have pre-existing file sharing software), you should seriously try it out. Send large files, access them remotely and across platforms, and tandem-edit with built-in Google Docs. While we don't suggest organizing an entire multi-departmental company in Drive, it's definitely a huge asset to project organization.

(Note: Google now offers Google Drive for Work, a premium Drive service for a monthly fee with admin control, more capabilities and extra storage. But if you just need basic file sharing/access, regular Drive is going to be a-ok)

While more tech-savvy users can milk a lot more out of the bazillions of Google services out there, these five key tools will help even the most novice business owner or team leader grow their web presence. When it comes to SEO, there really isn't a voice more persuasive than Google's... so why not take full advantage of the services they have to offer.

Bridget VanWart

Bridget VanWart

Bridget VanWart is Div1's newest addition, joining the team after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick. When she's not serving as Div1's client liaison and administrative assistant, she can be found Instagramming pretty things she stumbles upon around the city.

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