What Business Leaders Need to Know About Google
By: Thomas Young
At the time of this writing, Google is the single best resource on the planet for strategic digital marketing. Business leaders should have a fundamental understanding of how Google works and what Google is doing on the web. The impact from Google on your strategic digital marketing strategy and business in general is significant. Much has been written about Google and here is a summary of what business leaders need to know about one of the world’s most successful companies.
Get to Know Google
Google became popular because their home page is so easy to use. They emerged at a time when search engines were very cluttered and not focused on the search on their home page, but rather banner ads. They quickly took advantage of this growth in traffic by introducing online ads through a pay-per-click program called AdWords. This was not a new idea and was already happening at a search engine called GoTo.com, which changed its name to Overture, was eventually purchased by Yahoo and is now owned by Microsoft.
Google surpassed and dominated competitors by providing a very easy-to-use search engine home page that produced excellent search results based on a website’s popularity. Google also offered many free tools including Google Analytics for measuring website stats and Gmail. Google’s policy of simplicity and giving away free services to grow a huge user base worked very well. Today, more than ever, Google is looking to monetize these services and products into increased revenue from multiple sources.
Just about all your customers and prospects use Google. Here are the numbers:
- 80 percent of consumers research on Google before buying.
- 57 percent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers research on Google before contacting a company. This number is higher if you remove government contracting, which has a more structured procurement process that involves less research.
- Google claims a 70 percent search engine market share, but our client statistics show it to be higher.
Your goal is to get found in your target market’s research in Google! A basic understanding of how Google works and what they want is critical to making this happen.
What Does Google Want?
A great question to ask is: What does Google want? The better you understand Google’s mission, the better you can take advantage of what Google offers. It is important to know that Google has very ambitious goals to be just about everything Internet and more. Here are a few key things to know about Google:
- Google makes it a priority to prevent spam in web searches.
- Google wants to reward websites with great content that is updated on a regular basis.
- Local search and mobile advertisements are a key growth area for Google.
- Facebook and Apple are seen as competitors for Google.
- Google has big plans for Google+.
- They also have ambitious plans for the future of technology (nothing to do with search engines).
- Google is building a significant customer support presence to help people use their many products and build AdWords campaigns.
- Google wants to grow AdWords significantly as most companies are not using AdWords.
- Google gives away many services and products for free and this is likely to change over time as they attempt to recruit new paying customers for AdWords and other services.
- The best web data and statistics collection on the Internet belongs to Google and they are using this wisely to market online.
Google is Branding
Google is now an important part of your branding and marketing plans. Google is so popular that the first page of Google search results is in itself branding for your business. Getting found on the first page of Google for your targeted search terms is not just about getting found, but also about defining your company, services and products. The definition of branding is the impression left in the minds of your target market when exposed to your company. Part of that branding strategy is how your website appears in Google search results.
Sales Prospecting is Now Google Searches
Google has managed to flip the sales process on its head as prospecting is replaced by Google searches. This has driven the growth of “inbound marketing” which we will discuss in more detail in coming chapters. Inbound marketing is the process of bringing people to your website and online content. This pulls them into your company and leads to an interaction which starts the sales process, as opposed to your sales team prospecting or cold calling them for business.
Here are a few questions to ask about how Google is changing your sales process:
- How has Google changed the way your sales team prospects for business?
- Is your sales team finding prospecting more difficult?
- Are you getting found in Google searches for targeted search terms?
- Is your sales team using Google searches to drive sales and leads?
- How does your target market use Google to find your products or services?
The Google AdWords program is the driving force behind the success of Google. Google ads drive 97 percent of Google’s revenue in staggering numbers worldwide. That’s currently about $50 billion a year in sales as of 2014. The reason for this huge revenue stream is that the ads work. AdWords has helped thousands of companies grow their sales online.
Most companies are not taking advantage of this marketing opportunity because they do not have the knowledge to run the ads properly or have tried AdWords in the past and did not see results. AdWords is used to drive traffic to your website. As you have now learned, if your entire strategic digital marketing process is not effective, then driving more traffic to your site will not bring a return on your time and money.
Google Forces Measurable Value with Google Analytics
Google has forced a lack of measurable value in marketing or advertising to disappear. If your marketing efforts fail to show a measurable return, chances are you will stop funding them. Google has driven this by making everything they do extremely measurable. This is a fundamental shift in marketing, advertising and sales that is still in progress.
Google’s major tool to drive this ROI is Google Analytics, a leading website data program run and managed by Google. They give away Analytics for free so you can see for yourself the return and power of strategic digital marketing and closely track your AdWords budgets and return. AdWords is also a very solid tracking and monitoring program for website data and online conversions.
Talk to Google on the Phone and with Webmaster Tools
It has historically been very difficult to communicate with Google. It was impossible to reach someone on the phone and hard to know when Google indexes your site and includes it in search results. Google now offers Webmaster Tools, a free tool that allows you to see the communications between your website and Google. Google also has account representatives to help with AdWords setup and questions.
Here is a direct phone number for Google AdWords: 877-906-7955. More to come in later chapters on both AdWords and Webmaster Tools, two must-have Google products to effectively market online.
More Google Tools and Resources
Google is the starting point for the most essential strategic digital marketing tools and resources. Google has a variety of tools that are standards in strategic digital marketing and statistics. Most of these tools are free, and can be found by searching Google and developing an account with Google under one username and password. Here are a few of the most important Google tools:
- Google Analytics – used to measure your website stats in great detail.
- Google Keyword Tool – for researching keywords used to find websites.
- Google Webmaster Tools – to track how Google has indexed your website in their search engine results and see what search terms are being used to find your site.
- Google AdWords – the Google online advertising program.
- Google Alerts – Google will track and e-mail content to you as it is posted on the web, based on requested search terms. For example, if you set up an alert for your company name, then any time your company is mentioned on the web Google will send you an e-mail with a link to that new content.
- Google Insights for Search – a report showing trends in search by keywords.
- Google Think Insights – a newsletter with the latest findings on strategic digital marketing and a variety of topics.
In addition to these tools, Google also owns YouTube and Google+ for social media and content distribution.
It is impossible for the business leader to know everything about Google. The goals are to know how Google can impact your business, understand Google fundamentals and better manage the team driving results for your website on the world’s most popular search engine. This knowledge provides a foundation to help you better develop and implement a winning strategic digital marketing strategy.
- Set up an account with Google to review their tools and resources.
- Keep one master login for your company in a safe place for all Google websites, products and services.
- Read and learn more about Google and their company goals.
- Learn about Google AdWords and how it works.
- Set up Webmaster Tools and submit your website to Google.
- Understand Google’s impact on your business based on your alignment with Google’s goals and its mission.