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Helping small businesses reach new customers with Google Shopping

Google and Your Business - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 17:26
Cross-posted with the Google Shopping Blog.

When it comes to attracting customers, small businesses know that showcasing their products online can help them get in front of more people -- even when their physical store doors are closed. In fact, one-third of small business owners said new or existing clients engaged with them through their e-commerce websites at least once daily.1

But getting started with a website is just the beginning. Google Shopping helps small businesses like you tap into the power of customer intent to reach the right people with relevant products ads, when it matters the most. Here’s how two local businesses, Paper Culture and PUBLIC Bikes, used Google Shopping to gain a competitive edge and spark shoppers’ interest across the country by leveraging their strengths: unique designs and inspired products.

Paper Culture uses Shopping ads to connect with design lovers online
Unique, modern design is a top priority for Paper Culture, an environmentally-conscious stationery company that sells 100% post-consumer recycled cards, coasters, and other personalized products online. To complement their AdWords text ads, Paper Culture turned to Google Shopping to put their product designs front and center, and reach new customers with rich, visual ads that jump off the search page.

“One of the toughest challenges for us as a small business is that we don’t have the brand of our larger competitors,” says Chris Wu, CEO and co-founder of Paper Culture. “Google Shopping helps us tell our story through showing searchers our unique product designs, right on Google search.”

By coupling customer intent with Google Shopping’s image-focused approach, Paper Culture was able to highlight their designs in a cost-effective way -- ensuring that each shopper that clicked on a Google Shopping ad was an already-interested buyer. Through Shopping campaigns, Paper Culture decreased their cost-per-lead (CPL) by 50%, and saw 3x ROI overall when compared to their other online channels.

PUBLIC Bikes reaches more searching cyclists with Google Shopping
Multi-channel retailer PUBLIC Bikes is in the business of selling colorful, trendy city bikes with a mission to help people fall in love with urban biking. But as a small business that designs, manufactures, and sells their own merchandise, the team often found themselves short on time and resources.

“With a small team, it’s challenging to do everything we want to do and get our brand and products out there,” says Dan Nguyen-Tan, founding executive of PUBLIC Bikes. “We need a way to scale our marketing efforts and get in front of potential customers where they can discover and engage us. That’s why Google Shopping is so important: it helps us reach customers looking for our products across the country.”

PUBLIC Bikes used Google Shopping to find new customers beyond their brick-and-mortar stores. Bidding by product allowed them to more easily prioritize those products that were new or on sale, turning once low-converting search terms into profit. For every $1 invested in Shopping campaigns, PUBLIC Bikes was able to see 2x the ROI as compared to their other online channels.

A new hub for retailers, large and small
Whether you’re an ecommerce business or a multi-channel business, the new Google for Retail offers a one-stop hub to learn more about Google’s solutions for retailers of all sizes.

If you’re a small business like Paper Culture or PUBLIC Bikes, we’re introducing a new Shopping Campaigns page as a go-to resource to help you get up and running on Google Shopping and make the world your storefront. Here, you’ll find product overviews, success stories, tutorial videos, and help resources to show how Google’s various retail tools work together to let you find your shoppers, wherever they are.

Posted by Kim Doan, Product Marketing Manager, Google Shopping

1. eMarketer, Do Small Business Websites Drive Client Engagement?, Feb 2015

Improving targeting options in AdWords Express

Google and Your Business - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 16:00
Promoting your business is about getting in front of customers in the moments that matter to them—you design your ad so you can show up to the right people, at the right time, and on the right devices. If you use AdWords Express, you simply write your ad, tell us what kind of business you want to promote, and Google does the rest.

But a frequent request we hear from some AdWords Express advertisers is for a way to narrow down the search phrases that cause their ad to show. That’s why today we’re introducing the ability to remove search phrases that may not be the best fit for your business (and add them back if you need to).

This change should provide more freedom to create ads that reach the kind of customers looking for the products and services you want to promote. For example, if you run a bakery and only want to advertise your award winning cakes, you can now remove search phrases about cupcakes or bread.

Today, we’re rolling out this feature to AdWords Express advertisers based in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Click the pencil icon inside the “Search phrases” card and uncheck the phrases you want to remove
Log in to AdWords Express to review the search phrases for your business. We look forward to hearing your feedback and making this feature available in more countries soon.

Posted by Francisco Uribe, Product Manager, Google AdWords Express

It's time to put America’s small businesses on the map

Google and Your Business - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 15:46
If you searched for “Dependable Care near Garland, TX” a few months ago, you would have seen a lot of search results—but not the one that mattered to Marieshia Hicks. Marieshia runs Dependable Care Health Service in Garland, and it was her business that was missing. But that all changed last month when she attended a workshop at the Garland Chamber of Commerce called Let’s Put Garland on the Map.

The workshop, run by our Get Your Business Online team, showed her how to use Google My Business—a tool that allows business owners to control the info listed about their business on Google Search and Maps—to help more people find Dependable. Marieshia added an updated phone number, hours of operation, and a description to her business listing. Within a few months, she had more customers come through the door and referrals from doctors who could reach her. This one simple adjustment made a difference. In Marieshia’s words: “It’s huge.”

Huge might be an understatement. Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses, and research shows that businesses with complete listings are twice as likely (PDF) to be considered reputable by customers. Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings. Yet only 37 percent of businesses (PDF) have claimed a local business listing on a search engine. That’s a lot of missed opportunities for small businesses.

With this in mind, our Get Your Business Online team set out in 2011 to help businesses like Marieshia’s get found online. We’ve gone to every state in the U.S. and worked with thousands of business owners to create free websites and update their Google Search and Maps listings. But there’s a lot more work to do to help businesses take advantage of the vast opportunities yielded by the web. So today, we’re introducing Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map, a new program to help 30,000 cities get their local businesses online.

If we want to help every business in the U.S., we need to reach businesses where they are. So this tailor-made program provides each city with a custom website where local businesses can find helpful resources, including a new diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they appear on Search and Maps, a step-by-step guide for getting online with Google My Business, and a free website and domain name for one year with our partner, Startlogic.

We’re also forming partnerships with local organizations—like chambers and small business development centers—and equipping them with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops just like the one Marieshia attended in Garland. These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone—and they recognize the value of getting businesses online. After all, getting Dependable’s information online not only means the world for Marieshia, it means even more for the city of Garland. Complete business info can help generate economic value up to $300,000 a year for a small city or up to $7 million for a large one (PDF). So when our local businesses are online, our local economies benefit.

If you have a favorite local business—a day care, a dentist, a dry cleaner—show your support by helping them get their info online and on the map. Visit your city’s website at www.gybo.com to find out how you can get involved.

Let’s put our cities on the map!

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

Celebrating 30 years of .COM and the future of .DOMAINS

Google and Your Business - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 16:20
Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog

When you visited Google today, we’re pretty sure you didn’t type into your browser. This string of numbers separated by periods—an IP address—isn’t nearly as easy or memorable as typing google.com. Domain names ending in things like .COM, .NET and .EDU make browsing the web and telling people where to find you online easier. Since this month marks the 30-year anniversary of .COM and several other domain endings, we’re taking a minute to celebrate these often-overlooked suffixes that have changed the way we use the web.

Though they were introduced in 1985, domain names didn’t gain much awareness and use amongst the public until the World Wide Web became available to all during the ‘90s and it became clear they were an important part in unlocking its power. Using these online addresses, people began to spread messages, start businesses and access information that otherwise would have been nearly impossible to find. Popularity and demand for these names grew so much that people were soon willing to pay millions of dollars for the perfect one.

Today there are 270+ million registered domain names; in fact, about 17 million were added just last year. To create more naming options for people online, hundreds of new top-level domains are being added, and many, like .TODAY, .NINJA and .BIKE are already available. We wrote about this back in 2012, and since then we’ve launched three of our own: .HOW, .SOY and .みんな.

As .COM turns 30, we’re looking back on the history of domain endings and all they’ve made possible. Today there are more choices than ever before for people to find the perfect name for their businesses, projects and ideas on the web. If you’re interested in learning more about this history, or you’d like to register your own piece of the web, head over to Google Domains to claim your .DOMAINS from a .COM to a .GURU. Here’s to .COM’s 30th, and all that’s yet to come in how we name destinations on the Internet.

Posted by Ben Fried, CIO

AdWords app launches on Android

Google and Your Business - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 17:18
Note: To use the AdWords app, you need to be an existing AdWords advertiser. Not using AdWords? See why you should consider it.

Staying on top of your campaigns just got easier

Today, we’re introducing the AdWords app, an easy way to view and manage your ads’ performance when you’re on the go. This new Android app is available globally for existing AdWords customers.

Businesses, large and small, are increasingly using smartphones to manage everything from customer support to product orders to marketing. Now, you can use your smartphone to keep your AdWords campaigns running smoothly—no matter where your business takes you.

As a companion to your desktop account, this app lets you:
  • View campaign stats
  • Update bids and budgets
  • Get real-time alerts and notifications
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns
  • Call a Google expert

Download the AdWords app for Android

Tommy Sands, Senior Paid Search Manager from Philly Marketing Labs, tells us, “Having the ability to quickly review and take action in my AdWords accounts when I only have my mobile device enables me to be better and more efficient at managing my campaigns. It's nice to know that I'm only a few taps away from the information I need, no matter where I am.”

Review (and make changes) on the go

Whenever you open the app, you’ll see an overview of your clicks, costs, and conversions. For deeper insights, you can view metrics by ad group, day of week and device.

Changes in campaign performance can happen at any time—now you can address them quickly, even when you’re away from your desk. For example, if you see your best performing campaign is maxing out on budget, you can make adjustments so you don’t lose out on potential sales. You can even pause or enable a campaign for a time-sensitive promotion.

You’ll also receive customized suggestions that you can act on immediately. For example, if there’s an opportunity to get more impressions by adjusting your bids, we’ll let you know so you can make the change right from the app.

Get the app

The AdWords app is now available for devices that use Android 4.0 or later. To get started, download it today from the Google Play Store. And for more information, visit our Help Center. We look forward to hearing your feedback as you bring AdWords with you on your business adventures.

Posted by Geoff Menegay, Product Manager, AdWords

Better than 1,000 words: introducing new photo tools to help you show off your business on Google

Google and Your Business - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 17:57
When it comes to attracting new customers, photos can both entice customers to your business when they’re browsing online and give customers confidence that they’ve come to the right place.

Starting today, you can tell us which image you’d like to appear when customers search for your business on Google. Just log in to Google My Business on the web or in the Android or iOS apps, and visit the Photos section. While you’re there, you can also give your business a fresh look online by updating your profile, logo and cover photos.

Photos you add through Google My Business can be displayed on Google Search, Maps and Google+
We’ll also guide you through adding the best photos to show off what makes your business unique. For example, hotels will receive guidance for adding exterior, room and common space photos that show guests what to expect inside and out. Cafes and restaurants can get customers drooling over their latest food and drink and provide more details with a menu photo.

Log in to Google My Business today to see suggestions of photos to add for your business.

Posted by Abhishek Poddar, Google My Business Product Manager

Charge up your phones with call-only campaigns

Google and Your Business - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 18:26
Cross-posted with Inside AdWords

People are living their lives online and engaging with your business in new ways. With smartphones in hand, consumers are increasingly looking for products or services while on the go and then placing a call right away. In fact, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.*

Today we’re introducing call-only campaigns, a new and easy way for businesses to reach potential customers by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button -- right when people are searching.

Uniquely built for businesses that value phone calls more than website clicks

Call-only campaigns are specially designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means every click you pay for can be a phone call to your business.

Bid just for phone calls

Since every click goes towards a phone call, you can design a bidding strategy based specifically on your CPA or ROAS goal for calls. This helps you maximize the value of every call to your business.

“Our customers are increasingly calling us on their mobile devices to get an insurance quote. The great part about call-only ads is that they give us the ability to bid based on the value of a call so we can meet the specific ROI goals that we have set up for sales that come through the phone."

Jason JohnsonMarketing Director, Clearlink Insurance
Customize ads focused on a single call to action - phone calls

Tailor your ads for phone calls with creatives like “speak to a specialist today" or “call to make an appointment" to let people know they can easily reach your business without needing to visit your site.

For BizLab, a national telecommunications retailer, most conversions happen offline over the phone. "The new call-only ads have improved lead volume and conversion rates by targeting mobile devices with ads, like “call now” that are simply focused on driving calls.”

Catherine WilsonSenior PPC Analyst, BizLab
Another major internet provider uses call-only campaigns to connect customers quickly and easily with their sales team. “With a phone call as the only call to action, call-only ads improve the mobile shopping experience by eliminating the intermediary step of visiting our website. They provide an easy way for consumers to get the product they want by calling into our sales center directly. Better customer experience coupled with an increase in calls & sales provides a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.”

Josh LeibnerDirector of Paid Search at Red Ventures, marketing partner for large businesses
Learn more

If you’re currently using the call extensions setting to create call-only ads, you can find details on how to upgrade to call-only campaigns in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Amit Agarwal, Product Manager, AdWords

*Google/Ipsos, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase, September, 2013.

Introducing Google Small Business Community Office Hours

Google and Your Business - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 23:50

With a mission to help small businesses to get the help they need to succeed on the web, the Google Small Business Community team connects small business owners to experts and each other every day. In addition to our monthly Hangouts on Air, we’re now excited to bring you more ways to connect with experts to answer your most pressing questions. Each month, we will have experts spanning different fields pertaining to small businesses.

This month, our theme is productivity and we have three experts in to lend their advice. Ray Ramon is joining us from InfusionSoft, a company that helps small businesses streamline their marketing processes. We have Jamie Viggiano from TaskRabbit, a task-based service that helps small businesses find temporary help. We’ll also have some experts from the Google for Work team to talk about cloud-based tools that help you and your team work better, together.

Join us on February 17 at 12 PM PT for a live text Q&A where our experts will answer your productivity questions, such as “What are some of the tasks a small business can automate to be more productive?” and “What are ways I can save time with Google apps?”

What are some topics you’d like us to cover in our monthly Office Hours? Join the Google Small Business Community and let us know.

Posted by the Google Small Business Community

Introducing .HOW: a new space for learning

Google and Your Business - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 17:00
Since its inception, the Internet has been a powerful platform to share knowledge, connect with others, and search for information. We turn to the web to learn how to look great, make a killer banh mi, impress a French woman, speak, play, learn, and live -- the list goes on. Indeed, more people search for “how” than any of the five “W”s, finding their answers in blogs, videos, online books, interactive tutorials and other corners of the web.

That’s why we’re happy to introduce .HOW as the latest domain from Google Registry, and the most recent addition to our broader effort to bring new spaces online. We believe .HOW can become an intuitive way for creators and consumers to share, identify and discover some of the best learning content on the web. Now you can buy a simple, memorable and meaningful .HOW domain name of your own, sending a clear message that your content is there to teach people something great.

People are already getting started. From sustainable renovators to a cappella aces, champion skydivers to video game makers; small businesses, nonprofits and teachers of all kinds are using .HOW domain names to reach their audiences.

What will you teach on your .HOW? Check www.get.how for more information, or to get your .HOW domain name now.

Making it easier to get your business online with Google Domains

Google and Your Business - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 17:00

A domain name says a lot about who you are and what you do. For businesses especially, picking out the right domain name is often the starting point to building a successful online presence. With new domain endings like .recipes and .clothing, there are now more options to choose from than ever before.

Last year, we shared news that we were beginning to test a new service called Google Domains to help people get online starting with a domain and website. We partnered with some of the most reliable and easy-to-use website building providers on the web: Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix. Together, we’ve helped businesses like Scott Pincus Design and Hidden Springs Soap get a domain, build a website and find new customers online. It’s really that easy.

Today, we’re excited to make Google Domains more widely available by lifting the invitation restriction for those in the U.S. For those in other countries, you can sign up here to be notified when it is available in your country. And thanks in large part to the feedback we received from our early beta testers, we’re opening the doors with a new batch of features. Some of the enhancements include:
  • Improved search and suggestion experience to help you find the perfect domain name
  • Over 60 new domain endings like .company, .florist and .coffee (view the full list here)
  • A simple dashboard to manage your domain, website and email settings
  • The integration of +Blogger so you can create a blog and easily connect it to your domain
  • The ability to quickly browse website template themes and compare the plans and features of our website building providers
  • Dynamic DNS so you can setup your domain and keep it pointing to the same computer even when the IP address changes. Read more about it here.
We’re excited to share the open beta with you today and still welcome your input, questions and feedback. Don’t be shy!

Get started today at www.google.com/domains.

3 simple steps to get your business mobile-ready

Google and Your Business - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 23:07

Is your business mobile-ready? It should be. With 1.75 billion smartphone users worldwide1, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Here are 3 steps you can take to maximize the potential of mobile for your business.

Step 1. Optimize your website for mobile
Have you checked out your website on a smartphone recently? For the 65% of users who start their search on their smartphones2, that may be their first and only exposure to your business. Make that a good one.

First, find out if your website is mobile-friendly. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you do that. You should also load your website on a smartphone and pay attention to these 3 things: How quickly does your page load? Does your page fit on a small screen? Is key information visible without scrolling?

There are many ways you can set up your website for mobile optimization. Google generally recommends responsive web design, where code is used to adjust the same page to different screen sizes. You can try to set up the code yourself, or you can use templates from sites like Strikingly or Wix.

Depending on your needs, you might want to consider creating a separate mobile site. Tools such as Mobify and DudaMobile can help you set that up easily. PageSpeed Insights is another useful tool that can suggest ways to improve the loading speed of your website for both mobile and desktop.

Listing on Google My Business might also be a good place to start. One of the great things about Google My Business is that all its listings are already optimized for different devices. It will also list your business info on Google Maps. Even if you already have a website, it is an easy way to start expanding your mobile presence.

Step 2. Engage your mobile users with social media
Social media is a big part of the mobile experience, and a great way to engage your customers. In the US, 42% of smartphone users visit social network sites at least weekly on their devices. This number is even higher in Asia, so if you’re based in Asia or thinking of reaching customers there, you should start thinking about social media3.

You can do this by sharing interesting content about your business, such as stories, photos and videos on sites like Google+ and YouTube. Have a new shipment of 60s dresses for your vintage clothing store? Share some photos. New fall dish on your restaurant’s menu? Let customers know. They might even share your content with friends, and help you find new customers that way.

Set yourself a schedule so that you get into the rhythm of updating regularly. It doesn’t have to be daily, just something that you think is manageable for you. You can also use your social pages as a way to share updates like extended opening hours or holiday sales. Planning on selling everything at 50% off for Christmas? Share it.

You can also respond to customers’ ratings and reviews using Google My Business. This is a great way to have a conversation, get feedback and really give a human voice to your business.

Step 3. Advertise to mobile users on search
Search is the activity that smartphone users engage in most frequently, even more so than social media4. Maybe you own a ramen store in Tokyo that is open late into the night. Chances are, someone searching for “dinner in Tokyo” at 1am is a potential customer you’ll want to reach.

Advertising on Google can help you reach the kind of customers who are already looking for what you offer. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, AdWords’ location extensions feature can direct people to visit you in person. You can even design your ad campaigns so they only appear to people already near your store. Someone searching for “flower shop” on their phone, 500m from your store, is someone you could reach with a Search ad. Did you set up a Google+ page in Step 2? You can show off your excellent ratings on your ads as well.

Mobile opens up many new ways to grow your business and connect with your customers. Get your business mobile-ready so you can take advantage!

1. Forecasted, eMarketer (2014)
2. In the US, Think with Google
3. Consumer Barometer (2014)
4. Consumer Barometer (2014)

Note to small businesses this holiday season: shopping never sleeps!

Google and Your Business - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:30
But don’t let restless shoppers keep you up.

One group of people who will be working extra hard this holiday season are small business owners. And our data shows that consumers will be even more restless, with one third of all shopping-related searches now happening between the hours of 10pm and 4am.

Small businesses that sell their products or services online need to know that the buying experience is no longer confined to daytime or normal business hours. You can make simple tweaks to your online advertising strategy to accommodate sleepless shoppers, and further capitalize on this exciting buying period. To do this, we’ve compiled a list of 5 AdWords tips to help your small business navigate the holiday season.

  1. Stay in the know. Every year, shoppers gravitate towards specific products, toys, foods, films, and more, to shape the season’s holiday trends. Google Trends can help you get a sense of the most popular searches by region, or help you identify searches that are just beginning to take off. Understanding search trends and where they’re coming from can help you focus your campaigns on the most meaningful terms for your audience.

  2. Show up in your audience’s searches. Peloton Cycle sells stationery bicycles and streams live cycling classes into customers’ homes. They know that many shoppers will be looking for health and fitness solutions this holiday, so they’re using broad match modifier keywords, which allows your ad to show up in searches that include a keyword and controlled variations. Peloton added keywords like “+buy” and “+holiday” to reach users most likely to make a purchase. This, along with other targeting refinements, allowed them to lower their cost-per-click by 30% and increase their clicks by 474%.

  3. Let AdWords work when you can’t. After a successful appearance on Shark Tank, the owners of Tower Paddle Boards have been hard at work creating unique and custom boards for first-time paddle-boarders. They’re serious about providing a quality customer experience, so they use website call conversions to track AdWords leads that kick off the consultation process for new customers, around the clock. Other tools in this vein are flexible bid strategies, which automate the bidding process and help you reach goals across specific campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. Some of these strategies are perfect for capturing night shoppers because they adjust bids using real-time details like device, browser, location, and time of day.

  4. Mobilize your advertising. The owner of Novica, an online artisan gift and jewelry company, became discouraged when he noticed low conversion rates on mobile, and eventually eliminated his mobile ad presence altogether. But Google Analytics insights showed him that mobile traffic was still profitable; it just had to be set at the right cost per click. Now, they’re adjusting their mobile bids to find that happy medium and get the most out of their AdWords investment this holiday season.

  5. Stand out in the crowd. Holiday shoppers visit up to 12 websites before deciding on a holiday purchase - so don’t get lost in the buy cycle! Make your ad extensions stand out by using information that will draw more people to your website, or use ad customizers to show highly strong promotional offers to your customers, in real-time, even when you have lots of products, services, and promotions—all changing by the day.

We hope these tips can help your small business connect with more holiday shoppers, as they hunt for deals around the clock from Black Friday to New Year’s Day. If you’d like some additional guidance, including free online courses, you can also visit our AdWords Help Center.

Start laying out your end-of-year strategy now, if you haven’t already - and best of luck meeting your goals this holiday season!

Businesses, start your smartphones

Google and Your Business - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 17:24
Running a successful small business is about finding and connecting with the right customers. Business owners are increasingly using their smartphones, and so today we are making enhancements to both the Google My Business and the AdWords Express apps. We hope this makes it easier to find the right customers, whether they are looking for you at their desktop computer or on their phone on the go.

See reviews and insights in Google My Business
Nothing makes your day like a great review from a happy customer. Starting today, business owners can see reviews from across the web in the Google My Business Android app (iOS update soon). Business users have told us how much customers appreciate a response, so we are also making it possible to respond to Google reviews in the app, along with real-time alerts if you want to keep a pulse on your reputation online.

Wondering how customers are using their smartphones to get in touch with your business? When people find you on Google, you can see when they call or from where they get driving directions, so you can be prepared for that next manic Monday rush.

Reach new customers with advertising
Finding more of the right customers doesn’t have to wait until you’re at your desk. Over the last few months, we’ve gotten great feedback about how easy it is to advertise with our AdWords Express mobile app, and today we are expanding the Android app to 20 additional countries (iOS coming soon).

When you advertise your business through AdWords Express, you can reach potential customers right when they’re searching for the product or service that you sell. Your top stats for the month are displayed in the Google My Business app, and you can switch over to AdWords Express to see more detail or edit the ad to promote your next big event.

These changes will be rolling out over the next few days, so check back soon if you don’t yet see the updates. For more information about the mobile apps, visit the Google My Business and AdWords Express help centers.

Posted by Abhishek Poddar and Zhouzhou He, Product Managers

Google launches our first US top-level domain -- .SOY

Google and Your Business - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 18:51
What if, as you browsed the web, you were able to quickly identify content that was directly relevant to you, your business, or your passion? That’s one of the ideas behind top-level domains (TLDs). Earlier this year at I/O, we talked about Google’s portfolio of TLDs that will be coming online over the next few years and how we’re investing in this space to develop cool things for the future of the web. A TLD helps you understand what a webpage is all about, like how you can tell that .edu domains are likely to be educational institutions. Today, we’re excited to announce our first new top-level domain in the United States: .SOY.

Built with the US Hispanic audience in mind (53 million strong and growing), .SOY means “I am” in Spanish and opens up a new place on the web for everyone to celebrate Hispanic culture - regardless of country of origin or language preference.

.SOY is a space for this influential community to create, discover and connect with culturally relevant content and ideas online. It’s a place where you can build a website for your growing small business or new business venture, or share your passion with the world. When you visit a site that ends in .SOY, you’ll know it was created with a Latino audience in mind.

To help jump start this new comunidad, we’ve partnered with several Hispanic organizations and small businesses, including the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. In addition, we’ve built HolaGoogle.soy, a place where Latinos can explore our products and be inspired by people doing really cool stuff.

Hispanic Heritage Foundation
ELLA Institute
Pix-l Graphx
Queen of Tacos
The .SOY story is just getting started, and we’re excited to see where la comunidad takes it from here. To learn more about .SOY and claim your domain, visit www.iam.soy.

Posted by Jordyn Buchanan, gTLD Team

Bring your local business online -- no website required!

Google and Your Business - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 17:27

“Hey, how do I get my business on the web?”

In my nine years at Google, I've heard this question all of the time.

To answer, today we’re releasing a short video series (30 minutes total), sharing the same advice we’d give to our friends and family. It’s the advice I’d give to my sister, Marnie, who owns a jewelry store, or my cousin, Scott, who works as a realtor.

Video spoiler alert: You won’t need to make a website, but you definitely need a way for your local business to reach potential customers using their mobile phones, tablets, or desktop computers.

Video series to help local business owners of all technical levels to get their business found on the web. It focuses on the benefits of creating a Yelp business page, Facebook page, Google+ page, etc.
The great thing about video is that you can pause at any time and work at your own pace. Next time you hear the question: “How do I get my business on Google?”, please share the link and help get more local businesses online!

Series: Build an online presence for your local business

Video #1: Introduction and hot topics (3:22)
Meet my sister, Marnie, who owns a jewelry store and my cousin, Scott, who works as a realtor. Follow them as we talk about the big changes in the last decade, such as making sure your business can reach customers at work, home, or on-the-go using their mobile phones.Video #2: Determine your business’ value-add and online goal (4:08)
With the example of Scott, the realtor, you’ll learn about the marketing funnel, setting an online goal, and highlighting what makes your business special.Video #3. Find potential customers (7:41)
Marnie and Scott figure out their customers’ most common journeys to reach their business. We'll use their examples to brainstorm how you can reach customers on review sites, through search engines, maps apps, and social and professional networking sites.Video #4: Basic implementation and best practices (5:23)
The fundamentals and best practices to take your business from offline to online!Video #5: Differentiate your business from the competition (5:09)
With Scott’s business as a realtor, see how to demonstrate that your local business is the best choice for customers by adding photos, videos, and getting reviews.Video #6: Engage customers with a holistic online identity (4:51)
We'll end the series by showing how Scott makes sure his online presence sends a cohesive message to customers and answers all their common questions. :)Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead

Bring customers in the door with Google Maps Business View

Google and Your Business - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 13:05
One of the toughest things about running a successful business is standing out from your competitors. With Google Maps Business View, you can show the unique character of your business and service to more than one billion Google users around the world. Business View uses Street View technology to let your potential customers explore your location through a 360-degree virtual tour. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have already gone live with their tours on Google to help give people the information they need when booking a trip, making a dinner reservation, and more.

If you're in the travel and tourism industry, Business View can help give potential visitors a glimpse of where they're going as they plan their trips. A great example is GeoVegas, a new website from Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. GeoVegas incorporates Business View to enable people to virtually experience hotels, restaurants and other noteworthy locations in Las Vegas before making their reservations. The site even lets them tailor their experience so they can plan their dream vacation. vacation.

Adventuredome at Circus Circus on GeoVegas
On a larger scale, as part of Andorra’s goal to grow tourism, the Actua Initiative helped get more than 95 percent of the country’s businesses online with Google. Visitors from across the globe can use Business View to preview restaurants like La Borda and salons like Anna Barroca Perruquers. This has resulted in an increase in online traffic and extended time spent on the business’ websites.

La Borda, Andorra
Business View can also be a powerful way to communicate your brand story to customers. For example, if you’re in the product manufacturing industry, you can show your customers not just what you make but how you make it. The Chrysler 200 Factory Tour gives consumers an interactive look inside the auto making process and allows them to tour aspects of the assembly process, bringing them inside the local Michigan plant.

Body analysis from Chrysler 200 Factory Tour on Chrysler200Factory.com
Getting the virtual tour of your business live on Google is easy:
  • How it works: A Google Trusted Photographer collects a series of high resolution panoramic photos of your business interior to create a 360-degree interactive experience. Google Maps Business View appears in Google Search results, Google Maps and Google+, whether your customers are using computers, smartphones or tablets. For hotels, Business View will also show up on Google Hotel Finder.
  • Why you should try it: People like to see photos of a location when deciding where to go, and Business View allows owners to put their best foot forward with a high quality interactive tour. Our testing has shown that "See Inside" drives more clicks to a business' site. This imagery also allows you to build unique experiences online for your potential customers to enjoy.
  • How to get started: Find a Google Trusted Photographer or Trusted Agency on the Google Maps Business View website and set up a photo shoot.
We look forward to seeing your business’ virtual tour going live on Google. And to learn more about other ways to connect directly with your customers on Google, check out Google My Business.

Posted by Soufi Esmaeilzadeh, Google Maps Business View Product Manager

One week left to apply for a Mission Main Street Grant

Google and Your Business - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 19:19
The Robot Garage was a past recipient of a Mission Main Street Grant from Chase. 
Small businesses are driven by turning big ideas into reality. A few weeks ago, we posted news that we’re once again teaming up with Chase for this year’s Mission Main Street Grants program, an effort helping small businesses across America bring some of those big ideas to life.

This year, twenty businesses will each get a $150,000 grant from Chase, as well as a Chromebook, $2000 towards one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys, and a trip to Google for a small business marketing workshop with Google experts.

We know how important the web can be to help small businesses grow, so we also worked with Chase again to build a marketing toolkit on www.MissionMainstreetGrants.com. The toolkit shares tips that every business can use, like best practices for digital marketing and social media, as well as how to make the most of online advertising and analytics.

ABL Denim, a small business based out of Los Angeles and a 2013 grant recipient, understands the benefits of the grant full well. The company produces a premium denim jean line designed with features that make dressing easier for people with limited mobility or sensory integration disorders. The grant has allowed owner Stephanie Alves and her team the opportunity to hire staff, rebuild their website, create a product catalogue, and learn more about investing in marketing and advertising - which lent tremendous credibility in their talks with bigger retailers about business partnerships.(Google to confirm that this has been verified by ABL)

The program is open to current businesses that have been operating for at least two years and have less than 100 full-time employees. Businesses must receive at least 250 votes on www.MissionMainStreetGrants.com via Facebook authenticator to be eligible for the opportunity to receive a grant. The deadline to apply is October 3, 2014, so hurry and sign up soon! You can find out more information about the program and all of the eligibility requirements at www.MissionMainstreetGrants.com. On the website you can also check out videos and a Google Hangout with last year’s grant recipients as they share how they used social channels to rally support and improve their applications.

The web opens up countless opportunities for small businesses to grow and reach new customers, and we’re excited to see your great submissions. Get moving before time runs out, and good luck!

Posted by Jon Kaplan, Vice President of US Sales & Operations

A Hangout On Air Conversation with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet

Google and Your Business - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:42
There are 28 million small businesses in the US, and small businesses represent almost half of US private-sector jobs. What kind of support and resources does our government provide to make sure these small businesses thrive? Where can we find tips on how to start or grow a business? What funding opportunities are there?

On Wednesday, August 27th, the leader of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice of small business in President Obama’s Cabinet, Maria Contreras-Sweet, will join the Google Small Business Community for a Hangout on Air to share tips and insights for small businesses.

Since being appointed by President Obama, Administrator Contreras-Sweet has made a priority to meet and hear from small businesses. On Wednesday, she will answer questions directly from small businesses through Hangouts. Over the past two weeks, thousands of small business owners from all over the US, representing various backgrounds, experiences, and businesses, have submitted questions for the Administrator covering funding for businesses to technology.

Five small business participants will be joining the Hangout on camera along with the Administrator. One of the attendees, Brantley Crowder, is the director of e-commerce for Savannah Bee Company. Savannah Bee Company started in 2002 with a single beehive and a mission to support regional beekeepers by selling their honey and making honey-related health and beauty products. They started delving into digital with their website which launched in 2010 to support their stores in Charleston and Savannah.

The Hangout has participants like David Winslow, writing, “the SBA is beginning to make headway in an effort to lead the Government into a friendlier, more engaging place!”

Join the SBA Administrator tomorrow at 1:30 PM PT / 4:30 PM ET in the Google Small Business Community, a public community, which gives business people direct access to experts and industry leaders like Contreras-Sweet. The event will also be accessible live on the Google+ Your Business YouTube channel, in the event invitation, and the SBA website, and the video will be posted for viewing post-event.

RSVP to view the broadcast and submit your questions for a chance to have them answered live, on-air during the Hangout.

Posted by the Google Small Business Community

Get fresh business feedback with Reviews

Google and Your Business - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 17:59
When’s the last time you checked out what your customers are saying about your business on the web?

With Google My Business, you can see and respond to reviews from Google users. You’ll also be able to see feedback that customers have left on other websites.

The first step to seeing and responding to reviews is to verify your business.

Once your business is verified, visit the Google My Business dashboard, scroll down, and click Manage Reviews.

For the best experience with reviews:
  • Encourage your customers to leave feedback on Google. Reviews on Google can help your business stand out from sites with fewer reviews. 
  • Respond to reviews. Your customers will notice that your business values their input and respond with more reviews. 
  • Keep it clean. We’ll remove reviews and responses on Google that contain advertising, spam, and other stuff that violates our policies
With Reviews, you’ll hear firsthand feedback from the people who matter most to your business: your customers!

See the metrics that matter for your business

Google and Your Business - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 17:35
With the launch of Google My Business, we’ll be exploring new ways to build a strong online presence for your local business.

For this post, we’ll be focusing on using Google My Business to see how your business performs on the web. Have you ever wondered how many customers search for your business on Google Maps or whether your customers are seeing that photo you uploaded last week?

Google My Business makes it easy to find valuable information about your local business on Google, including:
  • The number of times people saw your business information show up on Google Maps, Search and Maps for Mobile 
  • The areas from which users have searched for driving directions to your business using Google Maps 
  • The number of impressions of your Google+ photos, profile, posts 
To access Insights, open Google My Business, choose the page you’d like to manage, and click View Insights. Insights are another good reason to verify your local business--you won’t be able to see the data without going through that process.

Once you’re there, you’ll see three tabs: Visibility, Engagement, and Audience.

Click Visibility to get numbers on how customers engage with your business on Google--through driving directions, clicks to your website and more.

The charts on the Engagement tab lets you know how your customers interact with your posts. You can even breakdown the information by type of post to see whether your customers respond better to picture or text posts.

Visit the Audience tab to understand the makeup of your Google+ followers, including their age range, country, and gender.

With Insights, you have the tools to watch your local business grow online.