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Getting San Francisco Bay Area Businesses Online Ahead of Football’s Big Game

Google and Your Business - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 15:49

Earlier this year, we launched "Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” to provide businesses across the U.S. with simple ways to be found when customers search for them online. We’ve been making that process faster, easier, and free, so that more customers find businesses in their area when they turn to the web for information.

With pro football’s Big Game happening this February at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara -- the first in the Bay Area since 1985 -- we want Google’s hometown businesses to have the tools they need to show up when visiting sports lovers inevitably start searching online for local restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. That’s why we’re announcing a special series of “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” workshops designed especially for the Bay Area businesses we know and love to learn strategies to getting online -- and in front of everyone coming to town for the Big Game.

The 2015 championship game brought more than 1,000,000 people to downtown Phoenix earlier this year, and 500,000 people enjoyed events in downtown Scottsdale, driving over $700 million in economic impact to the region.1 Drawing the eyes of the nation, and with "near me" searches doubling over the last year,2 the opportunities for showing up are real. But small businesses are still notably behind the curve when it comes to showing up online. Four in five consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses,3 but less than half of US small businesses actually have a website4 and only 37% have claimed or updated their business information on a search engine.5

As part of the workshop series, we’ll share tips on how to build an online presence, offer a free website with a customized domain name including free web hosting for a year, and help businesses create a free business listing on Google Search and Maps. Interested local Bay Area business owners can RSVP below:


  • August 10, 2015 -- YouTube Headquarters, San Bruno, CA -- register here
  • September 22, 2015 -- Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA -- register here
  • December 4, 2015 -- Google San Francisco Office, San Francisco, CA -- register here

From farmers markets to taquerias to a virtual reality arcade, we know it's never too late to show up online -- even in the heart of Silicon Valley! We’re encouraging businesses to use this opportunity to take steps right now to maximize online interest they may experience leading up to the Big Game. Join us as we help put the San Francisco Bay Area on the map!

Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online 1. Seidman Research Institute and W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University Study, June 2015.
2. I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store. Think with Google, April 2015.
3. Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased, Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014.
4. Google/IPSOS, Survey of businesses with less than 250 employees, October 2013.
5. Marketing Sherpa, Search Marketing Benchmark Report SEO Edition, 2012.

Getting San Francisco Bay Area Businesses Online Ahead of Football's Big Game

Google and Your Business - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 15:00

Earlier this year, we launched "Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” to provide businesses across the U.S. with simple ways to be found when customers search for them online. We’ve been making that process faster, easier, and free, so that more customers find businesses in their area when they turn to the web for information.

With pro football’s Big Game happening this February at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara -- the first in the Bay Area since 1985 -- we want Google’s hometown businesses to have the tools they need to show up when visiting sports lovers inevitably start searching online for local restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. That’s why we’re announcing a special series of “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” workshops designed especially for the Bay Area businesses we know and love to learn strategies to getting online -- and in front of everyone coming to town for the Big Game.

The 2015 championship game brought more than 1,000,000 people to downtown Phoenix earlier this year, and 500,000 people enjoyed events in downtown Scottsdale, driving over $700 million in economic impact to the region.1 Drawing the eyes of the nation, and with "near me" searches doubling over the last year,2 the opportunities for showing up are real. But small businesses are still notably behind the curve when it comes to showing up online. Four in five consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses,3 but less than half of US small businesses actually have a website4 and only 37% have claimed or updated their business information on a search engine.5

As part of the workshop series, we’ll share tips on how to build an online presence, offer a free website with a customized domain name including free web hosting for a year, and help businesses create a free business listing on Google Search and Maps. Interested local Bay Area business owners can RSVP below:


  • August 10, 2015 -- YouTube Headquarters, San Bruno, CA -- register here
  • September 22, 2015 -- Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA -- register here
  • December 4, 2015 -- Google San Francisco Office, San Francisco, CA -- register here

From farmers markets to taquerias to a virtual reality arcade, we know it's never too late to show up online -- even in the heart of Silicon Valley! We’re encouraging businesses to use this opportunity to take steps right now to maximize online interest they may experience leading up to the Big Game. Join us as we help put the San Francisco Bay Area on the map!

Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online
1. Seidman Research Institute and W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University Study, June 2015.
2. I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store. Think with Google, April 2015.
3. Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased, Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014.
4. Google/IPSOS, Survey of businesses with less than 250 employees, October 2013.
5. Marketing Sherpa, Search Marketing Benchmark Report SEO Edition, 2012.

Updated summer hours make a difference for customers

Google and Your Business - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 17:06
It’s the first official week of summer! That means searches for warm weather favorites like iced coffee and BBQ are spiking and business owners are updating their hours to accommodate summer tastes and needs. But what good are seasonal hours if your customers don’t know about them? To welcome businesses into the start of summer, we’re shedding some sunshine on the importance of updating your business hours.

In a fresh round of new Google research, we found that:
  • 25% of small businesses change their operating hours during the summer.1
  • Most business owners aren’t cutting back for R&R, they’re extending their hours and staying open even longer.2
  • Yet since the unofficial start of summer (Memorial Day), only 1% of businesses have adjusted their hours on Google My Business.3
  • The states where businesses have changed their hours most on Google My Business are Ohio, Delaware, and Wisconsin.4


Keeping customers happy

84% of consumers turn to search engines to gather information for local purchases and 52% look specifically for business hours.5 However, according to a 2013 survey, over 50% of consumers have visited a business to find that its hours had changed, and 44% report having an outing “ruined” by the incorrect information.6

Show up in key moments

So how can you let customers know about your summer hours? Today we’re launching gybo.com/summer as a way for businesses to see how their hours currently show up on Google. If you haven’t already, claim your business listing on Google My Business and then update your hours. Once your hours are updated, people will see them when they look for you on Google Search and Maps. Closing early next Friday? No problem. You can can change your hours on Google My Business on Thursday and avoid having any disappointed customers on Friday.

The value for small businesses

Starting in July, Sedona Golf Resort in Arizona opens early, so golfers can hit the course in the morning and beat the midday heat. Kid’s Science Labs in Chicago also extends hours. Co-founder Keith Norsym says,“We open earlier, at 8am and stay open until 5:30pm to allow parents to drop-off and pick up their kids conveniently.” The summer schedule allows them to infuse a bit more science into summer vacation.

We want to help small business connect with customers in the moments that matter this summer. Businesses with complete listings are 2x as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.7 That means this simple change can make a big difference. Not to mention, it’s free and only takes a few minutes–so that you can get off the computer and get those burgers onto the grill.
1. Written by Google and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, June 2015
2. Written by Google and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, June 2015
3. Google My Business data, June 2015
4. Google My Business data, June 2015
5. Source: Ipsos MORI, Impact of Search Listings for Local Businesses, August 2014
6. InfoGroup, Real-Time in the Real-World: Local Search Driving Need for Faster Business Data, 2013
7. Google/Oxera, The Benefits of Complete Business Listings, December 2014

Building a Proud Community with Google My Business

Google and Your Business - Tue, 06/16/2015 - 16:09
No two businesses are the same. And for small business owners, their unique character is vital for their success and keeps their loyal customers coming back.

Hailee Bland Walsh, the owner of City Gym in Kansas City, believes her gym “should be more than a place to workout. It should be a place to belong." She uses Google My Business to share that her gym is a safe place where everyone is welcome.

This message has been especially meaningful for Jake who recently returned to City Gym for the first time after having surgery. For him, City Gym has been an integral part of his transition from female to male, providing a place to explore his changing body and a community of support for him and his friends.

In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, we are excited to share the story of Hailee and Jake, and the power of the web to connect remarkable businesses like City Gym with their people.


Posted by Arjan Dijk

Five ways to grow your business this Small Business Week

Google and Your Business - Mon, 05/04/2015 - 17:02


Susan Brown, owner of Los Angeles gardening store Potted, recently updated her business listing on Google. Susan says, “Putting your business on Google lets people find you easily. Your directions are right there, your hours are right there, what you sell is right there.”

Thanks to her decision, Susan has seen more customers walk through her door: “So many of the customers that come in here find us on Google. As a small business, you want to use every opportunity to help your business grow.”

National Small Business Week is one of those opportunities. So from May 4-8, instead of three cheers, we’re giving you five—five simple ways to get your small business online and growing.

Celebrating National Small Business Week with Google

A handful of bright ideas and quick-fixes, all five ways are doable in a week or less and will help you throw a digital spotlight on your business all year round.

1. SHOW UP ON GOOGLE

Check to see how your business shows up on Google. Then, claim your listing so that customers can find the right info about your business on Google Search and Maps. When you claim your listing this week: You could be one of 100 randomly selected businesses to get a 360° virtual tour photoshoot—a $255 value.

2. LEARN FROM PROS & PEERS

Get business advice from experts and colleagues in the Google Small Business Community. They're ready to chat! When you visit or join this week: Share your tips for summertime business success and we'll feature your tip in front of an audience of 400K members.

3. WORK BETTER, TOGETHER

With professional email, calendars, and docs that you can access anywhere, Google Apps for Work makes it easy for your team to create and collaborate. When you sign up this week you’ll receive 25% off Google Apps for Work for one year.

4. CLAIM YOUR DOMAIN

With a custom domain name and website, Google Domains helps you create a place for your business on the web. When you sign up and purchase a .co, .com or .company domain this week you could be one of 1,500 randomly selected businesses to get reimbursed for the first year of registration.

5. GET ADVICE FROM AN ADVERTISING PRO

Learn how you can promote your business online and work with a local digital marketing expert to craft a strategy that’s right for your business goals. When you RSVP this week you’ll get help from an expert who knows businesses like yours.

While these resources are available year-round, there’s no better time to embark on a digital reboot.

For more information, visit google.com/smallbusinessweek.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive Small Business Week!

PS: To join the conversation, use #5Days5Ways and #SBW15 on G+, Facebook or Twitter.

Posted by Rachel Sterling, Product Marketing Manager, Google Small Business Team

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 173.194.113.18 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
LATISM
WebsStarfish*Global
Republica
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

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