The 80/20 rule in business is hard at work in the age of Google. There are businesses who love search and businesses which hate it. If you want it win, it’s simple, not easy. Internet security isn’t simple or easy for anyone, but as a business owner it is important for you to understand the ways in which you can personally control the core elements of your brand presence on Google.
Why should I care about my brand presence on Google?
Customers who arrive at a closed store, don’t come back. Your customers expect your business to be open when Google says it will be open. If they find that not to be the case, they aren’t just mad at you, they’re mad at Google. Making sure your brand doesn’t become a problem for Google requires a clear line of communication. Google has automated the way to learn whether or not your business is likely to produce mad customers. A key signal is how accurate your Google My Business data is, how old it is, and how often it’s updated. In addition to Google My Business, other Google tools including Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console are critical for promoting your business on Google and measuring the impact of your efforts. Google also gauges your likelihood of causing them problems based on your use (or not) of these tools.
Google tool management
The first thing that is absolutely required to access and use these critical tools is a google account. You can create a google account that will be associated with an @gmail.com address for free. This is a fine way to start the process in most cases. More complex organizations may need to have the primary Google account associated with an @mycompany.com account. You can get an @mycompany.com Google for business accounts through most web hosting providers or your managed IT vendor. In any case, it’s important for everyone company that at least one executive/owner and/or a competent and trusted manager sets up and maintains a Google account with access to the critical tools. In my experience, the vast majority of businesses fail to take full advantage of all of the Google tools that are relevant to them.
Let’s take a brief look at the Google tools which are important to most businesses. There are a few tools which will be omitted as they are only relevant to a subset of companies.
Google My Business
If you’re a local business with a storefront which a significant portion of your customers visit this is critical. Even if many of your customers engage with you online or over the phone, it is still important to optimize your Google My Business listing and keep it up to date. Google My Business places your information in Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google tools. Ensuring key elements are accurate and up to date increases store visits and reduces friction with your customers. A full explanation of exactly how to set this up is beyond the scope of this post. Additionally, even if I explained it perfectly and with full illustration today, it will be slightly different due to Google updates, iteration, personalization and testing tomorrow.
How accurate is your Google My Business data?
Google My Business should be the core of your NAP data. For a deeper dive on NAP please check out my post about NAP optimization for Local SEO.In any case, be sure to post accurate information and keep it up to date. Making sure key members of your organization have access to the Google account connected to your GMB listing is the best way to accomplish this.
Once you’ve set up your accounts and secured access, you can start to measure the performance of any paid campaigns you have in market, and your organic business footprint. Many businesses will find Google Analytics dashboards useful for this. The biggest Google Marketing Platform tool that can’t be measured directly in Google Analytics is Google My Business. I recommend having a specialist pull a monthly report from Google My Business so you can track your local SEO traffic and public customer feedback over time. Ensuring key executives are engaged with the organic and paid performance of your website and organic footprint on Google is the best way to improve customer acquisition over time.
Despite Google offering free tools that are fairly easy to use to basically every business, most fail to take advantage. Ensuring your business has properly set up accounts that key executives know how to access is the best way to ensure you’re accurately represented, measure performance and improve it over time. If you need help setting up your Google Marketing Platform tools, streamlining reporting, or otherwise promoting your business online, schedule a call today to get started.