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Go the Extra Mile with #SmallBizGames Challenges

Google and Your Business - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 17:48
Summer’s coming to an end, and with Fall just around the corner, small businesses are preparing for the upcoming season and looking ahead to the holidays. To help business owners brush up on their marketing skills at this key moment, we’re proud to share ten #SmallBizGames digital marketing challenges. Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll share a different digital marketing challenge aimed at improving your small business’ online presence – try your hand at setting up a Google My Business page, building your first AdWords keyword list, or creating a custom email address for your business. Each daily challenge is designed to hone your digital marketing skills and help you reach more customers online.

To participate or learn more, join the Google Small Business Community or follow us on Twitter. Best of luck in conquering the #SmallBizGames challenges!

Three Things You Should Know Before Choosing AdWords Express

Google and Your Business - Fri, 07/29/2016 - 17:32
Online advertising is a powerful, affordable way to grow your business, but you have to start with the right tools. Many small businesses are interested in reaching new customers online, but don’t know where to start, and don’t have much time to spare. As Benoit Ballon – the owner of King Florist in Austin, Texas – puts it, “We just wanted a platform where we would be able to keep it simple. For our small business, that’s a big plus.”

For business owners like Benoit, we recommend AdWords Express, a smart advertising tool from Google that’s designed to manage your ads for you, helping you get the most out of your budget and allowing you to stay focused on your business. A lot has been written about choosing the best product for you, and it can be overwhelming to sift through everyone’s recommendations. So if you’re considering AdWords Express for your online ads, here are the top three things we think you should know:
  1. It uses expert techniques to manage campaigns for you.
    AdWords Express is constantly fine-tuning your campaigns. It monitors how often and where your ad appears on Google (and across the web), adjusts spend, and makes sure your ad is placed in front of the right people, to help you maximize the number of clicks or calls for the budget you selected.
  2. It’s designed to make setup easy and results clear.
    Setting up your first AdWords Express ad takes just 15 minutes – it’s as simple as answering a few questions about your business. Once your campaign has had some time to run, AdWords Express shows you focused results – including views, clicks, and calls – in an easy-to-read dashboard, available on desktop and in the mobile app. You’ll also get an email of your results every month, so you can keep track of things right from your inbox.
  3. It’s improving along with the rest of Google.
    One of the best features of AdWords Express is the work it does on your behalf, and we’re making it even smarter with cutting edge technology from Google Brain. We also recently announced the addition of Google Analytics to help advertisers get even deeper insights into their performance. We’re constantly improving AdWords Express, so keep an eye out for even more features in the coming months.
For Benoit at King Florist, the difference AdWords Express makes clear. “With AdWords Express, we can actually see an increase in business. If tomorrow I turn off the AdWords Express campaign, two or three days later I can feel it. The phone isn’t ringing as much. Our presence online isn't as much. Every day, on one of our campaigns there is an impact.”

AdWords Express is designed to be effective for all types of business and all sizes of budget, so sign up today and get it working for you. To see a full list of features, and more information on choosing between AdWords Express and AdWords (including a detailed comparison), visit our help center.
Posted by Kavi Goel, Senior Product Manager, AdWords Express

Use Online Reviews to Connect with Back-to-School Customers

Google and Your Business - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 21:38
It’s time to get down to business for back-to-school. During this time, students, teachers and parents are relying on reviews while searching online for everything from notebooks to new clothes to campus coffee shops. In fact, 3 in 4 consumers say it’s important to read reviews before visiting a business.1

Business owners like Brian Wood of Sureflow Rooter see the value in customer reviews. “We often ask our customers how they found us: online, word of mouth or advertising? We have been pleasantly surprised to hear them say ‘from Google’ and that they liked our reviews and felt comfortable calling us.”

Small business owners looking to make a good impression on back-to-school shoppers should use tools like Google My Business which allow you to engage with, and manage, customer reviews. Below are a few tips to help you get started:

Tip #1: Just ask
Satisfied customers don’t always remember to write reviews, so it’s important to give them a reminder after they make a purchase or interact with your business – but remember to keep review guidelines in mind. Try including a survey link in your receipts or sending an automated follow-up email, rather than, say, setting up a laptop for reviews in-store, or offering incentives, which violates Google policy.

Tip #2: Be proactive about responding to reviews

It’s important to address both positive and negative reviews, since 83% of customers remember reviews from search results.2 When responding to reviews, it’s always good to thank customers. In the case of a negative review, address the issue without getting defensive. For example, try posting a reply describing the steps you took to remedy the situation.

These personalized responses are an opportunity to build relationships with customers. Don’t be afraid to highlight your business’s personality.

Tip #3: Actively monitor your reviews
Managing reviews is an ongoing process, so you should make sure to check in periodically and stay up-to-date with what your customers are saying. You can do this by checking the reviews section of your Google My Business dashboard.

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota noticed that this method helped their business stay in tune with customer interests. Randy Grimsley, the Director of Marketing, told us, “We regularly check on customer reviews. It’s a quick way to discover what’s working and what may need tweaking.”

Your back-to-school assignment? Apply these lessons to your business, and start getting proactive about online reviews.

For more helpful tips on managing your online reviews, check out: gybo.com/review

Posted by Emily Harris, Program Manager, Let's Put Our Cities on the Map

1. Impact Report: How are Customers Discovering Small Businesses?, May 2016
2. Google/ Ipsos, Impact of Search Listings for Local Businesses. Base: Saw Listing (Control=494, Test= 496), August 2014.

Summer is for Road Trips: Get Discovered by Customers On the Go

Google and Your Business - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 16:00
Summer is a great time for a get-away, and for 9 out of 10 people, the family car is the preferred mode of vacation transportation.1 Road trips lead to new discoveries, from finding the biggest ice cream cone in San Diego to the best lobster roll in Maine – and with tons of vacationers searching for places and activities during their on-the-go travel moments, having an accurate seasonal listing is an important opportunity for your business to get noticed.

Get ready for tourists
85% of leisure travelers don’t decide on activities until after arriving at their destination,2 and that means people are searching for information on the spot. Snake River Angler, a fly fishing shop in Jackson, Wyoming maintains updated seasonal information in their Google My Business listing and AdWords campaigns, to reel in trout fishing enthusiasts from all over the US.
Get visual
Google My Business listings with photos get 35% more clicks and 42% more requests for directions than those without.3 Travelers are often unfamiliar with their surroundings, and photos help make it easier for people to see what your business has to offer. Rogue Creamery, a creamery and cheese shop in Central Point, Oregon, uses Google My Business to attract out-of-town visitors – even before they get into town. Their Google My Business listing helps some 40,000 visitors a year visit the cheese store, with directions, reviews, and photos. "We ask people how they found us, and so many say, 'I found you on Google,'" says Retail Manager Tom Van Voorhees.

Get noticed in the moment
Without activity breaks, a long road trip with kids can be a handful, and The Children’s Museum of South Dakota embraces their status as a road trip reprieve en route to Mount Rushmore. Using a complete Google My Business listing and geo-targeted AdWords campaigns, they’ve attracted over 100,000 visitors each year.

Nearly half of all Americans vacation in the summer, and with tourists coming to a town near you, now is the time to make sure your business can be easily found. Visit Google My Business to learn more about how you can get a listing for your business on Google.

Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online

1. Trip Advisor, Equation Research, Harris Interactive, Money Crashers, March 2015, http://www.statisticbrain.com/summer-vacation-travel-statistics/
2. Google/Ipsos Media CT, 2015 Traveler’s Road to Decision. Base: US leisure travelers, n= 3,500, Aug 2015
3. Google/Oxera, The Benefits of Complete Business Listings, December 2014

It's Now Easier than Ever to Find the Right Google Partner

Google and Your Business - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 03:30
Three years ago we launched Google Partners to help businesses connect with online professionals and agencies. Top Partners began earning their Google Partner badge by demonstrating their business was healthy, their clients were happy, and they were up to date with the latest product knowledge.

Since then, we received a number of requests from our Partners asking for a way to further differentiate themselves. Today, we’re excited to share the addition of Google Partner specializations.
The new feature is embedded into the Google Partner badge and designed to help businesses identify the right Partner for their specific business needs.

Partners can earn specializations in 5 areas of expertise:
  • Search
  • Mobile
  • Video
  • Display
  • Shopping
To earn a specialization, badged Partners will need at least one certified individual and a history of consistent product performance.
“The changes to the Google Partner program are exciting for potential advertisers and our company,” says Neal Gann, CEO of Showroom Logic. “These new specializations show Google’s commitment to better serve their Partners and help us highlight what makes our technology and team so unique. It should also help prospective clients make a clear choice because it's now easier for them to find top Partners that are aligned with their immediate goals.”Additionally, we’re introducing a new Premier Google Partner badge.

The new badge is designed to recognize Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers. Premier Partners will be required to maintain additional certification requirements and will receive increased support from Google.
"Google identifying and recognizing highly experienced agencies is a great step and a distinctive honor. We are thrilled to be a part of the new designation and look forward to displaying this badge," shares Joe Chura, CEO of Launch Digital Marketing.We hope these updates will help businesses find the right Partner for their needs and allow our Partners to better differentiate themselves. Learn more at the new Google Partners homepage.

Posted by Allan Thygesen, VP Global Sales & Operations

Start Your Summer Mobile-Ready

Google and Your Business - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 16:00
This is the first official week of summer, and as your customers are out and about enjoying the warmer temperatures, they’re turning to their mobile phones to search. With 88% of consumers conducting local searches on their smartphone,1 it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. We’ve created this summer guide to help you and your business have the best summer yet.

BBQ season is all about relaxation, but these days it’s not enough to throw a few hot dogs on the grill and wait for your friends to arrive. Nine out of 10 people say they’re likely to turn to their phones in the middle of a task for help planning a special event.2 There are several ways for you to be there for your customers in these I-want-to-know moments:
  • Anticipate customer questions, and provide them with the most relevant answers.
  • Make sure the answers are easy for users to find.
  • Help them beyond their initial information search; continue offering information throughout the decision-making process.
All BBQs require supply runs, and in these I-want-to-buy moments, your customers are looking for a site that makes shopping easy – whether they’re on the go or already walking through the aisles in your store. To help you connect with customers during these moments:
  • Deliver a message using search terms that your customers are actually using. 
  • Measure all of your customers’ actions, including online, in apps, and in stores.
For a unique and memorable BBQ, customers may want to explore unfamiliar shops, and in these I-want-to-go moments, location and mobile go hand-in-hand. Use of the search term “near me” has increased 92x since 2011,3 and 80% of those searches come from mobile devices.4 Here are some tips that can help you capture attention from curious locals:
  • Use location-based keywords in your advertising strategy.
  • Use messages that include your location and on-site availability of products or services.
  • Include information that customers might find important when making a decision about where to go, including store hours, directions, and pricing.
Let’s say a customer has bought all the food and supplies for their BBQ, but doesn’t know how to use a grill. You can build customer loyalty and secure future business by being there in I-want-to-do moments to with these tips:
  • Use online video: With “how-to” searches on YouTube growing 70% every year,5 consider making how-to videos to better help your customers.
  • Make sure your online videos can be viewed from any device, including mobile.
With these mobile tips, you can stay connected to your customers all summer long. For more tips like this, and to find out how prepared you are for summer, visit Test My Site.

Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online

1. How Advertisers can Extend Their Relevance with Search, Google/Ipsos, May 2014, n=115-233 for smartphone
2. Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Google/Ipsos, US, March 2015, n=5,398, based on internet users
3. Google Trends, May 2011 - May 2016
4. Google Data, Q4 2014
5. Google data, Q1 2014- Q1 2015, U.S.

Getting Online with Google Domains Is Now Easier Than Ever with the New Partner Integrations

Google and Your Business - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 16:00
Starting today, when you build a website with Big Cartel, Duda, Selz, Square, or Webflow, you can instantly connect a new URL to your service of choice using Google Domains—thanks to our new partner widget embedded in their websites.

Finding and purchasing a domain name through the widget takes just a few clicks, and Google handles most of the technical stuff (like DNS configuration and domain forwarding) so your site is connected automatically.
The widget makes it simple and seamless to get online with our partners, while providing all the benefits of Google Domain—including over 200 domain name endings and Whois privacy at no additional cost, plus the safety, security, and support of Google.

Google Domains partners who use this widget can make it easier for their users to add custom domains. One partner says, “Offering a domain from Google within our site builder helps us enable any seller to set-up an e-commerce site in minutes, while giving sellers more control over their online branding.”

Are you a business interested in partnering with Google Domains to use the widget? Adding it to your website is a breeze. Learn more at: https://domains.withgoogle.com/partners.

Introducing YouTube Director: A Suite of Video Ad Creation Products for Businesses

Google and Your Business - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 15:00
Whether it’s for entertainment, indulging a passion, or discovering something new, more people are turning to YouTube to watch video. In fact, growth in watch time on YouTube is up at least 50% year-over-year.1 Now, more than ever, businesses can connect with their customers through video advertising on YouTube.

But we know that creating a video ad can be challenging. To make it easier for every business—from a dog walker to a barber shop owner—to get started with advertising on YouTube, we’re launching the YouTube Director suite of products. Three products that make video ads more accessible to businesses.

Make a video ad right from your phone

With the free YouTube Director for business app (available for iPhone today in the U.S. and Canada) anyone can create a video ad for their business quickly and easily—right from their phone. No editing experience required. People like Woody Lovell Jr., owner of the The Barber Shop Club in Los Angeles, are already seeing positive results with YouTube Director.

Woody shot and edited a video ad by himself, uploaded it to YouTube, and worked with an AdWords expert to run a campaign. As a result, Woody’s business saw a significant increase in potential customers being able to remember and recognize his ad.2

We challenged five business owners—including Woody—to create a video ad in twenty minutes or less. Watch what happened and download the app to give it a try.

Get a professional to make your video ad

In select U.S. cities, we’re also offering YouTube Director onsite, a service that sends a professional filmmaker to shoot and edit a video ad for free whenever a business spends at least $150 to advertise on YouTube. YouTube Director onsite is available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C.—and coming to more cities soon.

Is your business an app? We can create a video ad for you too

YouTube Director automated video creates a video ad automatically from existing assets like logos and app screenshots in the App Store or Google Play Store, and is available globally. Reach out to a Google expert (1-855-500-2756) for more information.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, getting started with advertising on YouTube just became a whole lot easier. We can’t wait to see what you make. Happy filming.

Max Goldman, Product Manager, YouTube Director, recently watched "YouTube Director Video Challenge."

This post originally appeared on the YouTube Blog.

1. Google Data, 2016
2. Woody’s YouTube Director video ad for The Barber Shop Club drove a 73% increase in ad recall among target customers on YouTube, and a 56% lift in brand awareness (AdWords Brand Lift Study, June 2016)

Test your site with Google and see how it works across devices

Google and Your Business - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 16:00
Did you know that nine out of ten people will leave a mobile website if they can’t find what they’re looking for right away?1 Now, think about your business’s site. Does it perform quickly on both laptops and smartphones? If not, you’re probably losing customers while the pages slowly load. But if you’re not sure how to make it run more smoothly, don’t worry – we’re here to help.

Today we’re introducing an easy way to measure your site’s performance across devices—from mobile to desktop—and give you a list of specific fixes that can help your business connect more quickly with people online.

You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to understand your site’s performance. Just type in your web address and within moments you’ll see how your site scores. You can also get a detailed report to give you an idea of what to do next, and where to go for help at no charge. We recommend sharing it with your webmaster to help you plan your next steps and implement our suggested fixes.

Why you should test your site

Your customers live online. When they need information or want to find a nearby store or product, they grab the nearest device. On average, people check their phones more than 150 times a day,2 and more searches occur on mobile phones than computers.3 But if a potential customer is on a phone, and a site isn’t easy to use, they’re five times more likely to leave.4

To avoid losing out in these crucial moments, you need a site that loads quickly and is easy to use on mobile screens. The first step is seeing how your site is performing. We can help by scoring your site for mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed. Plus, it’s easy to share these scores. (By the way, if you’re a site guru, you may also want to visit PageSpeed Insights, which is the power behind the scores.)

What your scores say about your site

Mobile-friendliness: This is the quality of the experience customers have when they’re browsing your site on their phones. To be mobile-friendly, your site should have tappable buttons, be easy to navigate from a small screen, and have the most important information up front and center.

  • Mobile speed: This is how long it takes your site to load on mobile devices. If customers are kept waiting for too long, they’ll move on to the next site.
  • Desktop speed: This is how long it takes your site to load on desktop computers. It’s not just the strength of your customers’ web connection that determines speed, but also the elements of your website.

Test your site and find out what’s working, what’s not, and which fixes to consider.

The world’s gone mobile. Now, it’s your turn.

Posted by Yong Su Kim, VP SMB Sales Americas

1. Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3, Google/Ipsos, U.S., August 2015, n=1291 online smartphone users 18+
2. Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, “Internet Trends D11 Conference.” May 2013
3. Google internal data, for 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan, April 2015
4. Google, Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today.” July 2012

Businesses are Growing Online with Google

Google and Your Business - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 19:23
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This may have been a question you were asked regularly as a child. Today it seems as if any interest can become a career, thanks in part to the reach and accessibility of the web. From outdoor adventure guides and quilters, to toymakers and bowtie designers, at Google, we feel lucky to play a small role in how many people turned their passions into professions.

Last year, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $165 billion of economic activity for U.S. businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits. Businesses are using the web to find new customers, connect with existing ones, and grow.

For example, Kathryn Jackson spent many years as a sales associate at a luxury department store. During that time she observed how quickly her clients had to re-sole their expensive shoes. She was inspired to create Protect Your Pumps, shoe sole protectors that help shoes last longer. Within two years, she turned her idea into a full time career. Today 40% of her sales come from Google Search. She’s expanded her product line to include shoe protectors for flats and men’s shoes, and has shipped products to more than 80 countries.
Michael Salvatore loves coffee and bicycles. Michael discovered many other people in his native Chicago shared those same interests. In 2011, he founded Heritage Bicycles, creating a space that offers delicious coffee and bicycles uniquely designed and manufactured in Chicago. Michael used the web and geo-targeted Google AdWords campaigns to build his brand and get local customers into his stores. He also created global campaigns in AdWords to encourage customers from around the world to visit his e-commerce store. Today, Michael has two stores in Chicago, 23 employees, a global customer fan base, and plans to expand to more locations this year.
These are just two examples of businesses using the web and Google products to grow their businesses.You can find more stories and explore Google’s economic impact state-by-state in our Economic Impact Report. Across the U.S., business owners are using the web and Google to grow their companies, operate more efficiently, and turn their dreams into reality. We’re proud to play a role in their success and are committed to building tools and programs to help them reach their goals.

Posted by Claire Mudd, Head of SMB Marketing

4 Things Small Businesses Should Know in A Mobile-First World

Google and Your Business - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 16:43
At the Google Performance Summit, we announced several new trends and product innovations that highlight mobile opportunities for advertisers. Here are the main takeaways for small businesses looking to make the most of the new mobile world:

1. Every year, there are trillions of searches on Google and over half of those searches happen on mobile.

More searches happen on mobile than on desktop computers – which is no surprise when we think about our own behavior as consumers. Throughout the day, whenever we want to buy, learn or go, we turn to our phones first.

2. Mobile is local. Nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location, and that number is growing.

Whether they’re researching pizza delivery on Friday night or trying to find an orthodontist near their pre-teen’s middle school, consumers are using mobile to direct their actions in the local world. Thirty-two percent of consumers say that location-based search ads have led them to visit a store or make a purchase1. For small business serving customers in their area, mobile ads can offer a vital opportunity to connect with customers.

3. New local search ads help businesses bring customers right to their door.

As we announced at the Google Performance Summit, businesses using location extensions in AdWords can prominently display their business location when consumers search for things like “dentist” or “car repair shop near me” while on-the-go.

We’re also testing new local ad formats that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate on Google Maps. Consumers may start seeing experiments like promoted pins that allow businesses to strengthen their brand presence in maps.

4. AdWords is designed to help you succeed in a mobile-first world.

We also introduced innovations in both text and display ads to help AdWords work harder for you on smartphone screens. Look for these upgrades coming soon:

  • New expanded text ads in AdWords provide extra ad space so you can showcase more information about your products and services before the click. The key changes include more prominent headlines and a longer description line in your text ad.
  • Responsive ads for display will adapt to the diverse content, shapes and sizes of the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display Network. Just provide headlines, a description, an image, and a URL, and AdWords will create beautiful ads for you that looks good on every device and site.

To learn more about other exciting ads and analytics innovations announced at the Google Performance Summit, watch the livestream keynote here.

Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online

1. Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased, Research: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014

From Workshops to the Web: Small Business Week Lessons For Your Business

Google and Your Business - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 17:56
‘I love the idea of somebody Googling “Magnolia Abbey,” and being able to see my shop, and the interior, and know exactly where I am if they are local or coming through town,’ said Julianne Wall owner of Magnolia Abbey in Huntsville, AL. This National Small Business Week, Julianne was one of the many small business owners able to get her business on Google Search and Maps.

In celebration of National Small Business Week, Google and its local partner organizations hosted 888 free workshops helping 15,000 businesses from San Rafael, CA to Memphis, TN to Jersey City, NJ. Business owners learned about the benefits of adding photos to their listing, the changing landscape of mobile consumer behavior and how advertising online with Google can help them find new customers.
Last week, Google Agency Partners educated businesses about user trends and “The 10 Ways to Grow Your Business Online.” This interactive workshop was just one example of the hundreds held across the country for National Small Business Week.
National Small Business Week might be over, but there’s still an opportunity for businesses to attend workshops and access resources online. Google's Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program works all year long to strengthen our communities by connecting businesses directly with local experts. Over 3,000 local partners host workshops and help businesses throughout the year to help them grow their business online. We also recently introduced online workshops so businesses can choose the lesson that’s right for them - whether it’s to learn how to get found on Google Search and Maps, get a custom email address, or promote their business with AdWords Express.

Google and our partners are #AllforSmallBiz and continuously support businesses in local communities, so it’s never too late to get your business online. Learn more at gybo.com/workshops.

Track what matters to you easily in AdWords Express

Google and Your Business - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 17:45
If you own a small business, a visit to your website is only the first step to getting more customers. Whether they subscribe to your newsletter, make an online purchase, or click to email you directly, the next step a customer takes on your website is an important indicator of how you’re doing online. However, setting up tracking for the things you care about can be complex, especially for business owners with little time to spare.

That’s why we’ve introduced a new feature for tracking these goals in AdWords Express. AdWords Express advertisers can now access the power of Google Analytics right from their campaign dashboard. Connect a current Analytics account or set up a new one in minutes right from the AdWords Express dashboard. Once you set the goals for your website, you’ll be able to see how customers who click on your ad go on to interact with your website.
Analytics will show you how your ad is contributing to the website goals that matter to youGoogle Analytics has been an invaluable resource for small business owners looking to understand these key interactions. For Carrie Sullivan, co-owner of Telaya Wine Co. in Idaho, understanding how visitors interact with her website has been key to her company’s success online. “Being a small business, we wear many different hats and we have a small staff, so we don’t have someone to just focus on our website. Google Analytics does that for us.”
With the introduction of this feature, we’re excited to bring all these benefits to AdWords Express advertisers. Take your performance to the next level by understanding how your online spending impacts the website goals you care about at google.com/adwords/express, or visit our help center to learn more.

Posted by Zhouzhou He, AdWords Express Product Manager

Mother Knows Best: Small Business Lessons from Mom

Google and Your Business - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 17:48
There are 9.9M women-owned businesses in the US (Small Business Administration) and many of those businesses are run by moms. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we want to recognize the impact moms have on all types of small businesses. We reached out to the Google Small Business Advisors, our team of small business owners and experts, to share the business (and life) lessons they learned from their moms. Here’s what they had to say:
How has your mom impacted your small business? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the Google Small Business Community or on Twitter.

We’re #AllForSmallBiz This National Small Business Week

Google and Your Business - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 16:30
We’ve all been there: It’s Taco Tuesday and you promised to bring that new smoky hot sauce everyone’s talking about, but you have no idea where to find it. Ten years ago, you would have had to drive home and search for a store on your desktop computer or call a friend for help. Today, you can solve the problem just by grabbing your phone and saying “OK Google…”

As a result, you shop differently now, and so do your customers. Most people research online before buying anything – and 93% of people who search on their phone go on to make a purchase.1 As a small business owner, you want your customers to be able to find you, so you need to be there during the moments when they’re looking for something you have to offer. And we’re here to help. During National Small Business Week (May 1-7), Google is excited to help every business get online and every community show they’re #AllForSmallBiz. We’re partnering with organizations all over the country – from Alaska to Iowa to Puerto Rico – to host hundreds of workshops to help you learn how to get your business online and you’re invited: google.com/smallbusinessweek.

In these local workshops, we’ll show you how you can reach your customers in those important moments. You’ll learn how to update your information on Google Search and Maps, build a no-charge mobile-optimized website and more, so that you can connect with people no matter where they are or on which device they’re searching.

Can’t make a workshop in person? Starting May 1, Google will offer a collection of online resources to help small business owners learn how to get on the web and in front of customers who are searching online and on the go.

The time is now. Consumer behavior is changing quickly, but more than half of all small businesses don’t have a website.2 Join us and learn how to get your business online so that you can be found when customers are searching and shopping – no matter what device they use. Sign up for a workshop at google.com/smallbusinessweek. From our team to yours, Happy Small Business Week!

Claire Mudd, Head of Americas SMB Marketing

1. Google/Nielsen, "Mobile Path to Purchase" study, November 2013
2. Google/Ipsos, "Survey of businesses with under 250 employees", October 2013

An Expansion Update on Home Service Ads

Google and Your Business - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 16:00
The unexpected pipe leak, the key locked inside, the mess after a big housewarming, we've all been there. It's in these moments that people need quick and reliable help from someone they trust. If you’re a home services business owner, then people are turning to Google everyday to find professionals like you: plumbers, locksmiths, home cleaners and more.
Last year we introduced a new way for small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area to offer home service solutions on Google. So far, thousands of people in the region have connected with qualified business owners through the format.
In San Jose, Ishmael Chandler's local plumbing service is growing quickly after using Home Service Ads for less than one year. "Home Service Ads have really helped us grow our business - since starting, we've seen a 20-30% increase in our overall business. As the program has grown throughout the year, we've seen better and better returns," he said.
We want to offer business owners like Ishmael the chance to connect with potential customers on Google, and that’s why we’re actively preparing to expand the availability of the experience to residents and business owners in Sacramento, California. In addition to the four types of services we’ve added in the past year -- plumbers, locksmiths, home cleaners and plumbers -- we’re also introducing two more highly requested categories of providers: HVAC services and electricians.
If you serve residents of Sacramento, visit google.com/homeserviceads to learn more about how we can help you reach more customers. We'll see you there!

Warm Up to Video this Holiday Season with YouTube

Google and Your Business - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 16:00
With the holiday season in full swing, more people than ever are turning to YouTube to help them shop. In fact, the number of people who go to YouTube is up more than three times year over year1. However unlike TV, YouTube isn’t just a place for brands with primetime budgets to connect with consumers. It has become a powerful tool for small and medium businesses which actually make up the majority of the video advertisers on YouTube. Over the last two years, the number of these advertisers has doubled.2
Small businesses like Cosatto, Ole Smoky Moonshine, and Homer Simpson’s Mr. Plow are using YouTube to connect with potential customers and make the most of the busy holiday season. Here are some tips for advertising on YouTube to help you get started.
1. Get mobile with YouTube

    More than 50% of YouTube’s video views happen on smartphones and tablets.3 In fact, YouTube videos on mobile alone reach more U.S. viewers ages 18 to 34 than any cable network.4 Businesses are realizing they can reach those customers with relevant video ads, when and where it matters. For instance, Cosatto, an online retailer specializing in high-quality strollers, baby travel systems and car seats, uses YouTube ads to connect with people researching baby products on their mobile devices.
    54% of all holiday shoppers say they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, like when they’re walking or commuting.5 To capture that attention, think of where your ideal customers live, where they go and what they watch. Use that information to tailor your video ads to the people who share your interests and live nearby. For Cosatto, half of all their video views come from people watching on mobile devices.

    2. Build your brand with video  
    People go to YouTube for all things do-it-yourself – searches relating to "how to" on YouTube have grown 70% year over year.6 So if someone searches for “how to make a holiday cocktail” and your company sells those ingredients, your video ad can show up in that moment. Ole Smoky Moonshine, a corn whiskey distillery from Tennessee, wanted to position itself as a great addition to specialty beverages for holiday parties. To raise brand awareness ahead of the holiday season, the company partnered with their agency VaynerMedia to introduce the “C’mon Live a Little” tagline among their key audience of 21-to-34-year-olds in zip codes near their distilleries. The campaign featured a series of short TrueView video ads which drove a 22% increase in brand awareness and 1,115% increase in related keyword searches.

    To stand out, include your business logo, a link to your website (or phone number) and a strong call-to-action in your video ad. Having a memorable ‘hook’ at the start of the ad can also capture people’s attention, lead to more views and increase the chances they’ll search for your business afterwards.

    3. Get meaningful metrics

    You want to know when your advertising is working, and YouTube analytics lets you keep an eye on the metrics that matter most – including how long people watch, how many viewers visit your site, and how many people share, like and comment on your ad. With YouTube’s TrueView video ads you only get charged when someone chooses to watch your ad, so every view you get is deliberate and can be measured. For example, Mr. Plow is a snowplow business in Springfield owned by Homer Simpson. In our new ad spot, he uses TrueView video ads to showcase his snowplowing capabilities to neighbors watching videos online throughout the busy winter season. Video advertisers like Homer can see how people are engaging with his video ad and use this information to make small but important changes to their campaigns. Are people not finishing your video ad? Consider shortening it. Is your view rate lower than you’d like? Potentially make the first five seconds more interesting.

    We hope you can use these tips to creatively showcase your business on YouTube this holiday season and beyond. You can learn more here, and best wishes as you wrap up the holiday season.

    Posted by Claire Mudd, Head of Americas SMB Marketing
    1. Google earnings call, Jul. 20152. Google data, Q4 2013 - Q4 20153. Google earnings call, Jul. 20154. Google-commissioned Nielsen study, Dec. 2013 - Feb. 2015
    5. Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: 3 Predictions for Retailers, Nov. 2015
    6. Google data, U.S., Q1 2014-Q1 2015

    Answers to Common Questions About New Domain Name Endings

    Google and Your Business - Thu, 12/10/2015 - 18:00
    Creating a website or getting a custom email address with Google Domains starts with a search for a domain name. With hundreds of new domain name endings like .guru, .company, and .fitness, you have more choice than ever before to find a meaningful and memorable name for your business as you tell the world who you are and what you do. As you begin to explore these new domain name endings, we wanted to provide answers to some frequently asked questions:

    Will these new domain name endings affect my website’s search ranking?No. The Webmaster Central blog recently addressed this question and more to make it clear that new domain name endings are not treated any differently than traditional domain name endings like .com or .org. Domain names with new endings are shown in search just like any other domain name. For example, if you search for the business Coffee Club, you will find their URL coffee.club.

    If I move my website to a new domain name ending, will my customers still be able to find my site on Google?Yes, of course! Whenever you move your site to a new domain name, whether it ends in a .com, .company, or something else, it’s important to follow the four steps outlined here to make sure Google is properly aware of your new site. Please be aware that it takes time to be fully processed in Google Search, but once it is, your new domain name is expected to work just like your old domain name. If you are still having issues, we encourage you to visit the Webmaster help forum.

    What are some reasons to use new domain name endings?
    • Brand identity: New domain name endings like .photography and .accountant help businesses tell the world who they are and what they do. For example, check out innovation.tools, nufsed.consulting and ordering.supplies.
    • Brand protection: Other businesses may buy domain names with new endings like .company, .solutions, or .international for their diverse business needs, or so that no one else can buy them. In many cases, businesses direct these new domain names back to their main website.
    • Promotions: There are also businesses who have used new domain name endings for marketing and promotional purposes. A company with a social media contest, for example, might create a contest website with a .social ending that would only be used for the duration of the contest. A good example of a current promotional domain is thehungergames.movie which highlights the latest movie in the series.
    If I purchase a new domain name, do I have to give up my old one?Of course not! Your old domain name can easily work with your new one. Once you properly set up your new domain name, you can redirect your old domain name to point to your new one. This ensures you won’t lose any traffic from your customers if they use your old domain name instead of the new one.

    What new domain name endings are available now, and are any a good fit for my business?There are hundreds of new domain name endings available now, and you can find the full list that Google Domains offers here. Whether you’re looking for an industry-specific ending like .marketing or a fun ending like .ninja, there are plenty of options. Be sure to find the right name that fits you and your business.Visit Google Domains and start exploring new domain name endings today. If you have any questions, we’re here to help!

    Posted by Chad Lancaster, Google Domains Marketing

    Make the Most of Shopping Moments this Holiday Season

    Google and Your Business - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 17:00
    ‘Tis the season to shop! This means that many of us are finding ourselves searching for that perfect gift on our smartphones in countless micro-moments throughout the day. These shopping micro-moments have replaced shopping marathons. In fact, shoppers now spend 7% less time on each mobile session, yet online shopping purchases on smartphones have gone up 64% over the last year, and 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones1. That’s why it’s crucial that your business show up when people turn to their mobile devices this holiday season to find products and services like yours.
    Here are tips to help your business connect with potential customers during these shopping micro-moments.

    1) Update your AdWords campaign for the holidays
    Over half of holiday shoppers say they plan to shop on their smartphones in moments throughout the day while walking and commuting2.  Reach shoppers on the go with ads on their mobile devices. If you haven’t checked the text on your ads in a while, take a look and create copy highlighting your seasonal hours, discounts or promotions. This could lead to more traffic to your website and more phone calls and sales.
    2) Drive traffic to your place of business
    With location extensions in AdWords, you can create mobile ads with your address, phone number, and a link with directions to your physical location.

    Evergreen Lodge, for example, uses location extensions and seasonal campaigns to drive customers to their winter package deals at Yosemite. From September until now, their ads have seen a 54% increase in click-through rates compared to ads without an address.
    For businesses looking to drive holiday shoppers to their store this holiday, simply updating your ads with location extensions not only helps people find you online, but can drive foot traffic to your business.  Roughly 95% of retail sales still take place in physical stores3. In addition, 82% of smartphone users say they use search to find a local business4, and 3 in 4 shoppers report being more likely to visit physical stores as a result5. 

    3) Adjust your budget for the busy holiday season
    It’s a busy time of year with holiday shopping traffic increasing for many businesses. Make sure you’re not losing potential traffic. Take a few minutes to see if you’re hitting your CPC (cost-per-click) or CPA (cost-per-acquisition) targets. And glance through your AdWords budget report to make sure your business is showing up when people are looking for you especially during your peak hours. There might be an opportunity to up your budget to maximize reaching that increased traffic while still driving ROI.
    4) Consider creating a gift guide for shoppers
    We could all use a little help in our hunt for the perfect gift, and shoppers are now searching online for gift guides more than ever. If you sell products that are especially helpful for holiday shoppers, think about putting together a list or gift guide to help your customers make choices faster. Kansas City Steaks provides suggestions to shoppers looking for deals on their freshly packaged choice cut meats. They place the gift guide at the top of their website and offer price tiering as well as free shipping deals to increase holiday sales from their website.
    If redesigning your website isn’t a possibility, tap into the 1 in 4 shoppers who say online videos are their go-to source for gift ideas6 by creating a YouTube video highlighting your top holiday items.

    5) Spruce up your business listing with photosGoogle business listings with photos get 42% more requests for directions and 35% more clicks than those without7. That means window shopping is happening online, too. Captivate shoppers before they even click on your website or driving directions by uploading photos on Google My Business. The average user looks at 12+ photos before making a decision, so create the perfect depiction of your business using this shot list or visit www.gybo.com/holidays for more details on how to create great holiday photos on Google My Business.
    We hope these simple tips provide you with easy ways to show up in front of mobile shoppers throughout the yuletide blitz. From our team at Google to your business, we’re wishing you the most fruitful holiday season yet.

    Posted by Claire Mudd, Head of SMB Marketing
    1.  Google Analytics, Account Data in United States, Sept 2014/2015
    2.  Google/Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study, 20153.  eMarketer, Total US Retail Sales Top $4.5 Trillion in 2013, Outpace GDP Growth, April 20144. Think with Google, Extra Space Storage Creates and Tests Ads in Real Time, Increases CTR by 113%, December 20145. Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands Research Study, March to May 20146.  Google/Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study, 20157.  Google/Oxera, The Benefits of Complete
 Business Listings, December 2014

    Google & Twitter Small Biz Present: The #SmallBizSquad

    Google and Your Business - Mon, 11/16/2015 - 22:48

    November 28 is Small Business Saturday - one of the biggest days of the year for small businesses.  To celebrate, we've teamed up with our friends at Twitter to form the #SmallBizSquad, bringing you the best tips and resources for you to get ready for the holiday season. Follow @TwitterSmallBiz and @GoogleSmallBiz on Twitter for the latest updates and use #SmallBizSquad to join the conversation.
    And don’t forget - November is #CustomerLoyalty month in the Google Small Business Community. Join us this Friday (11/20 at 12 noon PST) in a live video Q&A as we talk to Lauren Licata from Belly about how to find and retain loyal customers.
    Stay tuned throughout the rest of November for more tips and tricks and as always, join the Google Small Business Community to get the help you need to succeed on the web.