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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.

America's businesses are using the web to grow

Google and Your Business - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 18:33
Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog.

Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to talk to businesses all over the country and hear stories of how they’ve become successful. For many, it’s pretty simple: the Internet. The web is helping businesses and communities across the U.S. to grow and succeed. In fact, last year Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $111 billion of economic activity for more than 1.5 million businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits—across the U.S.

Take Go2marine, a boat supply company located on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington State. Because of their remote location, bringing traffic to their website using Google AdWords plays an important role in their ability to sell their 250,000+ boat supplies to customers in 176 countries. When it’s winter in the U.S., they rely on customers located in other parts of the world where it’s boating season, with the web bringing them business from any place, in any season.

Or meet Don Morton, who taught reading, writing and language in lower-income neighborhoods in my home town of Chicago for nine years. In 2005, he began creating his own materials to supplement what the school system provided. Realizing that his worksheets could be useful for students and teachers everywhere, he created ereadingworksheets.com to provide his worksheets for free. Don started using Google AdSense to offset his costs by placing ads next to his content, and today he’s able to work full-time on his website and make an impact on students around the world.

These are just two examples of enterprising people making the most of Google tools to find new customers, connect with existing ones and grow their businesses; you can find plenty more of them in our Economic Impact Report. Our tools help connect business owners to their customers, whether they’re around the corner or across the world from each other. And when businesses flourish, it’s good news for the rest of us. Recent data shows that businesses that are online are expected to grow 40 percent faster and hire twice as many workers as businesses that aren’t. Every year, it gets clearer that the web helps lead to more successful businesses, stronger economies, more vibrant towns, and more prosperous communities.

Learn more about our economic impact in all 50 U.S. states, and how businesses are finding success through the web. Whether it’s a part for a boat or a grammar worksheet, we’re proud to play a role in giving businesses the tools they need to do more--to grow and thrive and connect with customers and communities all over the world. Posted by Jim Lecinski, Vice President, Customer Solutions

Advertising on your schedule with AdWords Express

Google and Your Business - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:06
Cross-posted with the Inside AdWords blog.

Small businesses know the importance of being online, but running that first ad can be overwhelming. Google introduced AdWords Express to help small businesses start advertising online easily, without the need for daily management. Fast-forward nearly three years to today, and businesses around the world are seeing success with AdWords Express.

Nick Valle, owner of Nick’s Towing and Roadside Assistance, uses AdWords Express to run his business from the road. After a decade of driving an 18-wheeler and working part-time for a towing company, Nick decided to start his own small business. He started using AdWords Express six months ago, and his business is doing better than ever. He gets enough calls to keep himself and a driver busy throughout the day, and can easily track calls back to his ad with the call reporting feature.

Get results on the go with the AdWords Express app 
Nearly 74% of small business owners like Nick use mobile devices to help manage their business*, and earlier this year, we announced improvements to AdWords Express across all screen sizes. To make starting a new ad and managing an existing one even easier on mobile, we’ve now introduced a free app for Android and iOS users in the U.S. The app gives you access to all the features of AdWords Express while on the go:

Reach the right customers with new targeting options 
AdWords Express has added more control where it counts for defining your target audience. Now advertisers can choose exactly where to promote their business -- in their zip code, city, state or others around the country (currently in English-speaking countries). When customers search from their phone, they can get driving directions, call your business, or visit your website in one tap.

Let AdWords Express do the rest
When you select your business category, AdWords Express makes sure that customers searching for related topics see your ad. To improve the targeting of your ad, products and services that are mentioned on your website can now be added by AdWords Express as keywords if they are related to your ad. We’ve also added more negative keywords to exclude unwanted searches, which improves the click-through rates of ads and means a lower cost for advertisers.

Let us know how AdWords Express is working for your business, and stay tuned for additional improvements in the coming months.

Posted by Xuefu Wang, Engineering Director
*NSBA, page 4

Help your business shine with Google My Business

Google and Your Business - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:16
There’s one thing that lies at the heart of every business: customers. Customers are the reason why businesses flourish, and their shared passion for your craft is what makes running a business so rewarding. For many business owners, customers are more than just patrons - they’re your regulars, your advocates and your friends. In other words, they’re your people.

The Internet is connecting more businesses with their people every day. However, our users tell us that finding these loyal customers can be complex and time-consuming. We believe it shouldn’t be. That’s why we are happy to introduce Google My Business - a free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are.

Google My Business brings together all the ways Google can help your business shine in one place:
  • Update your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ from one place to make it easy for customers to get in touch
  • Add beautiful photos of your business and a virtual tour of your business interior to help customers see what makes your business unique
  • Connect directly with your fans and customers by sharing news, events and other important updates from your Google+ page
  • Stay on top of reviews from across the web, and respond to Google reviews
  • Understand how people find and interact with your business using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express
  • Manage your information on-the-go with the Google My Business Android app and the iOS app (launching soon)

In addition to new businesses getting started with Google My Business, we’re also upgrading current users of Places for Business and the Google+ Dashboard to this new experience.

Businesses with a passion for everything from beautiful hand-made hats and fresh crab cakes, to the best local pale ale, are finding their people with Google.

To learn more about how you can find your people, visit google.com/mybusiness.

Posted by Dan Pritchett & Dennis Troper

Happy Small Business Week!

Google and Your Business - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:16

Small business owners are some of our favorite dreamers and doers. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year are created by small businesses. It’s clear that you make a big impact with your creativity, hard work and passion.

As you grow, we know that you may have lots of questions on how to make the most of the web. National Small Business Week is a chance to say thanks for all you do for us and our communities and to share a few helpful resources.

Today we’re launching the Google Small Business Community, a place for you to share what makes your business special, connect with other businesses, and get a direct line to help from online experts. Join the community from May 12 - 16 for special content like a message from President Obama and tips from business leaders and the Small Business Administration.

After this week, the Google Small Business Community will continue providing information and inspiration. Daily posts, weekly trainings and regular Hangout series will be based directly on what you want to learn. And a team of trusted Advisors and Googlers with digital expertise will always be around to answer your questions.

We’ve also created a new Helpouts page for small businesses to get one-on-one advice with experts over video on topics like online marketing, branding and web design. And if you join the Google Business Community between May 12 - 16, you’ll get access to a Helpout of your choice.

We’re excited to meet you. Drop in and tell us a little bit about your business. Happy Small Business Week!

Posted by the Google Small Business Community team

Announcing Reviews in Google Places for Business

Google and Your Business - Mon, 11/25/2013 - 19:35
People come to Google to search for information about local shops and restaurants so they can make the best plans and purchases. That’s why as a business owner, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward online. With a quick search, locals -- or even people new in town -- can read reviews from your regulars to find the right place for a romantic dinner, a prize-winning turkey, or the perfect (last-minute) present for Mom.

Today, we’re introducing Reviews in Google Places for Business. Now you can learn what your customers are saying about your business on Google and across the web, in one place. If you have a verified business listing, you will now see your customer ratings and reviews in the easy-to-use review inbox.

Read and respond to customer reviews in the reviews inbox
Easily respond to customer reviews
Reviews also allows you to start a conversation with your customers by directly responding to comments left by users on Google. Are your customers happy with your service? Thank them for the kind words so they recommend you to their friends. Do they mention some areas for improvement? Ask them for suggestions so they visit you again.

And if you feel your business deserves more good reviews, or if you are missing feedback on your work, all you need to do now is to encourage your customers to post reviews on your Google+ page.

Business owners using the new Places for Business interface can now find the Reviews tab when they log into their dashboard as usual.

Not verified yet? Seize the moment and get started now at www.google.com/places.

Posted by Qasar Younis, Senior Product Manager

Create offers in minutes and reach customers on Google Maps with Google Offers

Google and Your Business - Thu, 10/24/2013 - 16:49
Back in July we announced new ways for consumers to discover offers with Google. Today we’re introducing an updated self-service tool for all businesses in the U.S. to easily create offers and attract customers to their stores. Using the simple offer creation tool, businesses can create their offer in minutes and showcase it to local customers across Google, including Google Maps.

Create your offer in minutes and see it go live in just a few hours
With the updated creation tool, which is rolling out within the next week, you can create your offer in minutes. Simply choose the type of offer you’d like to create and assign a budget.

Unlike traditional promotions or coupons, Google Offers will show your offer to customers based on their location, what they like, and what they're looking for. You'll only pay when a customer saves your offer, and you keep the full value of the sales you make.

Reach the right customers, at the right time, now through Google Maps
With this launch, your offer can reach customers on Google Maps when they are searching for places nearby or looking for local businesses like yours. Your business will be prominently displayed with a blue tag icon next to it, alerting customers to your offer.

Once a customer saves your offer, we’ll bring them to your door by sharing an offer reminder when they are near your store. We can help remind them when your offer is expiring too, through email and mobile alerts. Just create the offer; we’ll take care of the rest. To get started and drive more traffic to your store, visit Google Offers.

Posted by Gayathri Rajan, Director of Product Management, Google Offers