In this video, we cover Google tools for productivity, marketing, creativity, business listings and more. Topics include Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Trends, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, G Suite (formerly Google Apps) with includes Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Forms, as well as a few other tools. We also demonstrated some of these tools at the end of the presentation.
This presentation was done for the St Charles County Chambers of Commerce Technology Committee (featuring the Greater St Charles County Chamber and the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce and Industries).
The presentation was done by Ken Tucker of Changescape Web and Beth Richter of Protonics
Ken Tucker: A lot of things listed on this, so I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get through some of these tools, but Google has such a rich environment of things that if there’s anything that you guys use or want to talk about, just jump right in, and let’s make this more of a discussion than a presentation. So, Paul, are we good? Are we …?
Paul: We’re recording.
Ken Tucker: Okay. Cool. The Technology Committee, we represent all of the chambers across the county in Saint Charles, and we focus on trying to provide educational content to our membership. These are never sales pitches. We always try to orient them to be useful and valuable information for people who are involved in a business and within the chamber. We have a subcommittee that meets outside of this meeting to do all of the planning, and so the folks that are a part of this subcommittee are listed on this. If you guys could just kind of raise your hands. Paul, you can raise your hand.
My name’s Ken Tucker. I’m one of the co-chairs, along with Mark Peiman, who couldn’t make it today. You know, we get together once a month, based on feedback that we get from all of you to determine what topics we’re going to be covering next and in subsequent meetings. The next slide I believe is … Oh yeah. Okay. We do have a Facebook event, if you want to check in. It’s good to help promote the committee, if you can do that for us. We also encourage you to like the page on Facebook, if you can, and that way what we do is we typically are going to post some informational things periodically throughout the month, but we usually post a video and/or any slide decks, or handouts, or things like that on this Facebook page.
Like I said, there are a whole bunch of different tools that Google has to offer. I just kind of came up with some basic organization to kind of start the talking points around some of these Google tools. There are productivity tools, so that you can actually use tools in place of like Microsoft Office Suite or something like that. You’ve got a whole set of marketing tools, which are pretty fantastic. You’ve got some things that allow you to be pretty creative with what you do, so we’ll touch a little bit upon that. Yes. Google Plus is still out there, and it’s still a social network that needs to be mentioned. Then, last, but absolutely not least, is the directory listing aspect of Google, and this is basically what’s become, you know, a really big replacement for like a yellow pages kind of thing, but it’s online. Google My Business listing is so critical to most local focused businesses.
The first thing that I’m going to talk about is Google Keyword Planner. This is a part of Google’s AdWords tool set. AdWords is Google’s platform to create online ads, so when you hear about Keyword Planner, you might think, “Well, I don’t want to have to pay for an ad to be able to use this.” Well, right now all you have to do is you have to sign up and create an account for AdWords. You might even have to start creating and to kind of launch your first ad, but you certainly don’t have to pay for running any ad, but you do have to create an account. Right now it’s still free, and it’s still available to anybody who creates an AdWords account. If you aren’t going to be advertising, in the future, who knows, but right now it is still free.
This is a keyword research tool that gives you the ability to basically type in a keyword phrase and get a whole list of suggested keyword phrases back. If you’re trying to think about whether you’re going to be running ads or whether you want to try to get your website to be found organically, meaning where you’re not having to pay for ads and it’s showing up on the first page of Google, this is a great tool to start with. You can plug in, you know, one or two keyword phrases, and it’s going to come back and give you a lot of suggestions. It gives you some information that’s important to know in terms of competition for that keyword.
Keep in mind that everything that is in the Keyword Planner Tool is an advertising tool, so we frequently use it for organic keyword research, where we’re not going to pay for ads, because it is still really valuable there, but all of the data that’s in here is basically driven and built upon Google’s advertising model, so when you see a competition level of how competitive a keyword phrase might be, that’s based on the advertising that people are doing for that keyword phrase. It’s going to give you an estimate cost per click. You know, it’s going to give you a good ballpark figure, if you chose to run an ad, how much would that ad cost? You don’t need that if you’re just going to be doing keyword research to think about what content you need to be writing and putting on your website, but it is still there, and it can still be valuable.
Obviously a higher priced keyword phrase is also a little bit of an indication, I think, of how competitive something might be, so if you’re a personal injury attorney, your keyword, you might see keyword clicks on the other side of $100 per click, but some things might be a dollar or a dollar 50, or whatever. It’s just going to vary widely. The nice thing about this is it’s going to give you suggested keywords, as I mentioned, but you can also kind of ratchet this is. You can look in particular areas, so you can go pick like a DMA, a marketing area, so you could pick all of Saint Louis, or you could just pick Saint Louis City, or you could just pick Saint Charles.
The thing is, the more refined or the more zeroed in you get on a smaller geographic area, you may not get the search volume data showing up at all. Honestly, that’s one of the things about that this is a free tool, the search volume data really is a little suspect, because it is a free tool. It’s a good guide, but it’s not going to be accurate by any means, but it will give you a pretty good idea of do people tend to search more for bankruptcy attorney Saint Charles, bankruptcy lawyer Saint Charles, Saint Charles bankruptcy lawyer? Those are all different phrases, and you’ll be able to see, based on the search volume numbers that come back, at least which one is maybe the most likely phrase that somebody might use.
Female: What this helps is your SEO?
Ken Tucker: It absolutely helps for SEO. You can use it to run ads on Google if you’re not ranking on the first page. You can buy an ad to run on the first page of Google, and this is de the tool you would use to do that, but if you also just want your website to rank, you can use this to find the keywords that you want to try to get your website to rank for, organically meaning where you’re not having to pay for it.
Female: If anybody doesn’t know, SEO is search engine optimization.
Ken Tucker: Thanks. Google Analytics. Hopefully everybody in here who has a website has Google Analytics hooked up to their website, because this is what’s going to tell you what behaviors are happening on your website, who’s visiting your website, how much time they’re spending on a particular page or cumulatively on your site, where they’re surfing from, based on, again, this is information that’s disclosed through your internet service provider, so it’s not 100% accurate. If most of your website traffic is coming from Russia or Kazakhstan, you know, that might mean that maybe somebody’s trying to find a way to hack into your website, and if you haven’t updates it for a while, maybe you want to take a look at that.
It also though is going to give you information based on how many people who are visiting your website are doing so from a mobile device, which is becoming more and more important. A business like mine, you know a marketing company, we’re business to business oriented. Most of our traffic is still coming from the desktop. The overwhelming majority of traffic actually is coming from the desktop, but if you’re a restaurant or a brick and mortar type place, a boutique down on Main Street or in Old Town Saint Peters or what not, people, the predominant way they may be finding you is by doing a search on their phone. Also, from a demographics perspective, younger people tend to not buy computers as much, and they do a lot more on their phones, so if your business is naturally tailored to a younger audience, then obviously being found on mobile is very important.
Well, this is how you can tell what’s actually happening with your traffic. It’s also going to give you an idea of what other websites are referring traffic to you, so if you’re putting in investment and doing a lot of social media posting, you know, on Facebook or Twitter, you’re going to be able to see how much traffic is being driven to your website because of posts that people might be clicking through from one of the social media platforms, for example, or from another website. If you wanted to know how much traffic you’re getting from the chamber website, you can track that with Google Analytics. This is free, so I would highly encourage everybody to make sure that you have it. It gives you a lot of data. Sometimes it’s hard to kind of parse through and figure out what is the most important data, because you do have a lot of different options. Again, it’s all free, and it’s valuable information for sure.
Paul Barthel: When you set that up you actually have to put the code on your website.
Ken Tucker: That’s right. You have to go create an account. It’s going to give you some code. Then you have to put the code onto your website, so that it can actually track the traffic that’s coming to your website. Good point. All right. Google Search Console. This is closely related to Google Analytics, and you might get some overlapping data or very similar data, but what Search Console’s going to do is … It used to be called Google Web Master Tools. Again, it’s a free tool. Again, every website should have this, and somebody should have the responsibility of going and checking this on a fairly regular basis, at least once a month would say, if not more, because it’s going to tell you if Google’s made an algorithm change. It’s going to tell you if anything on your website is causing problems because of that algorithm change.
It’s going to tell you if you have broken links on your website, so if you used to have a page that you used to link to, and you forgot to remove that link from one page to the next, because you deleted that page, it’s going to tell you you’ve got a broken link. Well, you need to go in and fix that, because Google sees those things, and it sees those little errors, and it may seem fairly inconsequential, but every one of those errors just erodes confidence that Google has. It kind of chips away at your SEO credibility ultimately, so you definitely need to be paying attention to this.
It’s going to tell you whether or not your website’s mobile friendly and any mobile friendly issues that are there. Another thing it’s going to tell you, it’s going to tell you how many back links you’re getting, which is ultimately probably still the most important criteria for ranking for search, getting other high quality websites, like the chamber websites, linking to your website. When they put you in the chamber directory and you put a link to your website, guess what? That’s a really valuable back link.
You can see who’s linking to you, but also it is possible for people to create spamming links without even your knowledge of it, and this is the way that you find out about that is you go to Google Search Console and see if somebody that created a link purely for spam, purely trying to fool the search engines, thinking that it’s going to help them rank their website, you can find those, and then you can go in and disavow those, or you can begin the process of contacting their webmaster to say, “Please remove this.” Or if you see a broken link from somebody that is a trusted source, maybe they changed their webpage and they forgot to update the link to the page that they used to link to you on, it’s going to tell you that, so you might want to reach out to them and say, “Hey. You used to link to this page. That link’s broken. Can you go update it? Here’s the proper link.”
Paul Barthel: It’ll also tell you if you have structured data issues on your website?
Ken Tucker: Explain structured data.
Paul Barthel: Structured data, it’s metadata that helps the search engines know what your website’s about, the address and phone number. It’s a data format that the search engines like, because it helps confirm that this is accurate data. You also need to claim all versions of your website, because you’ll have a www version, a non-www version, and you have an SSL certificate, security socket. You’ll have the HTTPS versions, and they all need to be claimed in there, and then you need to tell them what your preferred domain is. That matters to Google from a ranking perspective.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. It’s possible for Google to say, “Changescapeweb.com and www.changescapeweb.com are two different websites.”
Paul Barthel: They will look at them as two different websites.
Ken Tucker: They will, unless you tell them. Tell It in Search Console, this is my primary URL for my website. Then if you have an HTTPS, which is a security certificate, which everybody should be thinking about that and making plans to do that, because that’s having a very strong impact on search rankings right now … Basically in essence it’s adding an SSL certificate, which just encrypts the data while it’s in transit from … over the lines basically. You probably could elaborate on that, but that’s a pretty simple explanation. It’s a big trust factor, and historically it has not been a penalizing factor, but now if you use Google Chrome Browser, if you see that little icon beside the URL that’s like an exclamation point, a white circle with an exclamation point, that’s telling you and in some cases it might even say not secure on the website.
Paul Barthel: Well, right now if you don’t have HTTPS and you have a credit card payment page on your website, it will pop up saying not secure. Starting in October, I think October of this year, any page you have that [inaudible 00:15:34], even if it’s just a contact form, if you don’t have that HTTPS, it’s going to say not secure.
Ken Tucker: On that page or on your site?
Paul Barthel: On that page.
Ken Tucker: On that page. I mean, ideally you’d implement it all the way across your site.
Paul Barthel: Yeah. Google’s recommendation is to secure all URLs.
Ken Tucker: You don’t have to, but you should. Yeah.
Male: I’m sorry. How exactly do you access this information here?
Ken Tucker: You have to go in and create a Google Search Console account. Again, it’s going to give you some code that you’re going to have to integrate into your website.
Female: Is it part of your analytics account?
Ken Tucker: It’s different. It is different.
Female: Oh. It is different.
Paul Barthel: You can connect the two though.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. Yes?
Female: What did you call it when you said the www, just the website. What did you call all those?
Ken Tucker: Well, it’s possible in this day and age, with HTTPS requirements for websites now, to where you can actually have four different versions of your website that Google could identify. It could be the www. version, so www.changescapeweb.com. Then just changescapeweb.com. You don’t have to put the www in front of that, but then also HTTP or HTTPS, depending on if you have the security certificate. I don’t want to get too far down in the weeds, but also, while we’re talking about HTTPS, if you’ve uploaded photos to like a WordPress website, those photos are going to live on a URL that is not going to be included in your SSL certificate, so you’re going to have to download those photos and re-upload those to get those to work, to have your website completely secure.
Paul Barthel: Yeah. Any picture that was on there before HTTPS was implemented.
Male: Any picture on your website or just in WordPress?
Ken Tucker: Well, I know specifically in WordPress. I don’t know about every other web platform, but if you’re using WordPress and you’ve put picture on your website, and then you go in after you’ve uploaded picture on your website, and you install the SSL certificate, then you’re going to have to re-upload those pictures. Otherwise, Google is going to flag at least part of your website as not being secure.
Female: If you have HTTPS, you don’t have to worry about HTTP do I?
Ken Tucker: Well, you still have to set it up in Search Console to map it properly, so that Google is only going to match the primary property. It’s not going to identify the others.
Male: Be careful with the HTTPS. There’s been some security issues that have come out. Look at the whole address in the bar. If you see something that might say google.com.sel or whatever before you even get to the slash, it could be a spoof website, so you have to be careful about with what that HTTPS really is saying, because they are spoofing it now.
Ken Tucker: Okay. Google Trends. We’re not going to spend a whole lot of time on this, but I thought it would be fun, since the Cardinals and the Royals, you know, we’ve had some recent success in the post season. Google Trends is a really cool tool, and it’s a great way to find a lot of interesting data. You can slice and dice it. You can get different kinds of graphs and things like that. I thought it was interesting, when you look at over the last five years or so, search volume traffic for the Cardinals in the red line and the Royals in the blue line. I would like to think that it’s because the Cardinals are already such a popular team that a lot of people don’t need to go find out much about us, because they already know a lot about us, but then the Royals all of a sudden come out of nowhere, and it’s like, “What? They’re in the World Series? What’s going on here?” That’s why you see the spikes in traffic there.
I mean, you can look at political campaigns. You can look at world events. Local data might be kind of tricky, but if you’re looking … For example, one of the things that I would do is I would look at trends for marketing consultant versus search engine optimization and plot those together, and kind of see are people still searching for marketing consultant, or are they searching for that less and less, and they’re starting to search more for search engine optimization consultant? If the latter is the case, which it is, then I’m going to change my messaging. I’m going to change the focus of my website. I’m going to make sure I have content on my website, things like that. It’s a pretty good research tool, and it’s free. Kind of a hidden gem.
Google Drive. We’re going to have a demo of this later, but if you sign up for a Gmail address, you get Google Drive for free, and Google Drive actually gives you, what, 15 gigs of space that you can upload, and store, and share documents. That’s pretty cool. It’s pretty amazing that they’ve been doing this for a long, long time too.
Beth: You actually don’t need to sign up for a Gmail account.
Ken Tucker: Oh, really?
Beth: Just create a Google account. I don’t know if it’s 15 gigs for free, but for instance, I have my personal email, Gmail, and then I also have registered my [bethatprotronics.com] as a Google account, and I have a Google Drive account on there, and it’s free, so I don’t know space wise if there’s a difference or not.
Ken Tucker: You have controls that you can set in regard to who you share it with and things like that.
Male: If you need more space, it’s really cheap.
Ken Tucker: It is.
Male: It’s like $10 a terabyte.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. The cool thing is, and if you go to our Facebook page after this presentation, this will be a link that you can actually click on. We’ll upload the PDF. There’s an article that says that effective June 28th Google’s supposed to release, for personal Gmail accounts, you’ll have the ability to back up your entire computer with your personal Google Drive account. Now, you may have more than 15 gigs of data, so Paul being the skeptic that he is said, “Oh. It’s probably just a way for them to sell storage.” That’s probably right, but still, it’s pretty nice to just have it integrated in here, and if you don’t have any other solution, it’s a pretty good deal. I’ve had Google Apps, which is now called G Suite, which we’ll talk a little bit more about, gosh, I don’t know, since 2009 or so. I have unlimited storage, because of the plan that I got in. It’s a really sweet deal, and it’s a really good business suite, if you need email to your account or things like that.
That’s probably a segue into Google Sheets, Slides, and Docs, which are the family of products that Google has to create and share documents, similar to what you’re going to see in Microsoft Office Suite or like the Open Source equivalent with LibreOffice or things like that. Again, you can use all these for free. I know if you signed up for a personal Gmail account, it’s going to give you the ability to have all these tools. This is actually done in Google Slides, so it’s a PowerPoint equivalent. Google Sheets is similar to Excel. These are web based, so I think there are some things that you can do maybe offline with these, which I don’t do personally, so I can’t really speak to that. These are online tools, so it’s really best if you have access to the internet to be able to utilize these.
One of the things that I like about Google Sheets over Excel, and maybe you can do this in Excel and I just don’t know about it, but I find myself always needing to drag a column and relocate a column on a spreadsheet, because I want to see it in column B instead of column F, and I didn’t think about creating the column until I was in column F, or I didn’t even think about the placement. I was just busy doing things. It actually gives you the ability to drag and drop that column and replace it that way. I know Numbers on the iPad gives you that same capability, but I don’t know of any way you can do that in Excel.
Female: You can.
Male: You can.
Ken Tucker: All right. Okay. Well, so, you just shattered my world a little bit. If I need to do some serious work, I’m going to go to Excel, but if you’ve got to do something quick and dirty, or if you need to have a real easy, convenient way to share data, like Paul and I share a lot of things in a Google Sheet, so that we can both access it and update it, so that we’re not having version controls over Paul updated this version of Excel, and I didn’t have the right version when I went in and made my changes. It works really well in that environment, and likewise, Google Docs is really cool. You can actually have multiple people editing the document at the same time and making changes to the document at the same time, so that’s …
Beth: It’ll highlight … Sorry. It’ll highlight … For instance, when we’re creating Google Slides, a couple months ago, Anna and I were both working at the same time, and it would tell me on the left hand side she was on, and we could also do kind of like an instant messenger, yeah, a chat and say, “I really wanted to say this instead. Are you okay with that?”, stuff like that.
Male: It’s really a collaboration tool.
Beth: Yeah. It is.
Ken Tucker: You know, the Microsoft equivalent to this is probably, what, like SharePoint or something?
Male: Office 365 has got collaboration built into their office tools now, so Word, and Excel, and PowerPoint.
Beth: Yeah, but this is free.
Male: Well, it’s free for education.
Male: I meant Office.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. It used to called Google Apps. It’s now called G Suite. There’s a business version that’s paid. I think it’s $5 per user per month or $50 per year if you pay annually, so it’s a really inexpensive way to have a team environment. Education and nonprofits, I know they have free versions. Before I forget to … Well, I do actually have a slide on here. Anybody who is in a nonprofit here, you actually can get Google AdWords for free. It’s like a grant. I mean, you have to be a specifically qualified nonprofit, but …
Male: Up to $10,000.
Ken Tucker: Up to $10,000 a month of free Google AdWords, so that’s … Yeah. Yeah. Very impressive.
Ken Tucker: Google Forms. I like Google Forms. I don’t use it a whole lot, but it’s a really nice, convenient way to create a form. There are endless varieties of things that you can do with these. It’s going to take the data that’s entered and it’s going to put it into a Google Sheet or the equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet or a CSV file. You can actually set it up to do quizzes, where it’s going to grade and score for you, so that that has some intriguing possibilities. You can customize it. You can create a form on a Google Sheet, so that it’s in a collaborative environment, where people can see the results. Then you can embed that form on the website, so maybe only one or two people might have access to be able to go in and make a change to the website.
You use Google Forms to create the form that you want to put on your website. You embed it, but then everybody who has access to the Google Sheet can actually see all the results of the information that people have filled out. It’s definitely a tool I would recommend people checking out. It’s a little bit hidden. If you’re in Google Drive and you click new, you’re going to see the default of Sheets, and the Docs, and Slides, and stuff like that. You have to actually click the more button to see that. We’ve got another tool that’s in there as well called Drawing, which we probably won’t have a chance to talk much about, but that’s how you would get to Google Drawings as well. If you’re doing flow charts or something like that, that’s what Google Drawing’s all about.
Female: What did you say you had to go to Google Drive and then what?
Ken Tucker: If you’re trying to create a Google Form, you go to Google Drive. Beth can probably demo this when we get there. You click on new to create something new, so it could be a new folder, or it could be a new Google Doc, or Sheet, or whatever, but there’s also the more button. You click on the more button, and then it’ll give you the choice to create a Google Drawing or a Google Form and a couple other things. Oh yeah. There we go.
Google Plus. Yup. It’s still around, and it is still very important in certain respects for SEO purposes. It’s certainly not the social network that I think a lot of people thought it might be. There may be still groups of people that are maybe a little more inclined to use to use Google Plus as their social media platform than maybe Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or whatnot, but where it is really important is it gives you the ability to create some Google Badge Code that you can put and integrate into your website. What that does is it provides the linkage between your Google Plus page for your business and your website. That’s just another signal that’s sent to the search engines that you’re paying attention and you’re doing the things that Google wants you to do.
The other thing about Google Plus is even if you’re not going to actively … I probably shouldn’t say this publicly with Google listening, but even if you’re not going to really engage and do much using it as a social network, it’s still a fantastic place to publish your content to. If you’re writing a blog post, absolutely take the extra two minutes and post that on your Google Plus page. Just put that new content out there, because Google cares about Google Plus. Users might not care a whole lot about it. Some people do. Some people do. You can create communities, so if you have a collaborative environment, you know, if you’re in a highly technical industry, you’re probably as likely or more likely to use a Google Plus community than you might use Facebook certainly. Facebook Groups has kind of changed that a little bit, but there are still plenty of people who are out there on Google Plus. If no other take away, just make sure you publish to it. Make sure you claim your account and you publish to it whenever you’re writing a blog post.
Male: I read something recently that to show you’re really active you should be posting to your social media accounts at least four times a day. Do you know anything about that?
Ken Tucker: I don’t know.
Beth: I think that might be another topic.
Ken Tucker: I haven’t heard that. I’d be a little shocked about that honestly, because certain social …
Male: Social in general? That’s fine on Twitter, because it moves so fast, but it’s different on every platform.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. I mean, you got to balance that with social media fatigue too. If you sell insurance and you’re posting about insurance related topics four to five times a day, the people who have liked your page probably …
Male: It was something you do with the idea that only 5% of the people see it. If you post more, it goes out to more of your friends. They start seeing activity. They push it up as…
Ken Tucker: I mean, that’s certainly a possibility. You know, it may make sense to post the same piece of content in the morning and afternoon, you know, during your surge periods, if you’re monitoring what’s happening in terms of who’s liking your page or engaging with any content on your page and you find that between … Like, Susan, for you maybe evenings are a busy time, because people get home and they’re like, “Oh yeah. I really need to get my carpets cleaned.” You know, they’re on social media, and they see your posts, and they’re engaging with that. Well, yeah. By all means, you might have some people who are pretty active in the morning, but take advantage of that natural window of when you see people who are already naturally active with your page. For sure.
Female: I have a quick question on Google Plus. What you’re saying is even though your audience may not be out there, you need to go ahead and put stuff out there for your business, so Google sees it?
Ken Tucker: Yeah. It’s not going to hurt you at all. I think it only helps you. We’ve seen pretty positive impact just by doing that. You can auto post things, depending on the platforms that you’re using. Google has been a little tricky to do some of that auto posting with, so even if you have to take that extra two minutes, just make it a part of your process. When you put it on Twitter, take it and just put it on Google Plus. Were you going to demonstrate some of this stuff too?
Ken Tucker: Yeah. You guys are probably pretty familiar already with Gmail. People either love it or hate it based on the way it kind of stacks messages. You can kind of lose the thread of a conversation sometimes. One of the things that I’ve always liked about it, especially for a free version, is it’s always had a great spam filter. For a free product it’s done a really good job there. It gives you a lot of storage, so if you send a lot of attachments, you get a decent amount of storage with it, unlike if you were to sign up for an email account using your website domain, you might get a very small amount of data that you can have for storage for any content in your emails. It’s always been nice from that perspective.
I love it, because Google Calendars. I mean, you can share them with other people. You can pull in other Google Calendars, so anything that’s of interest. Sometimes it’s a pain. For example, there was, I don’t know, I think it was Coachella or Bonnaroo a couple of years ago, I went and pull in who was performing at those, because it was being broadcast on one of the satellite radio stations, and it filled up my calendar, but it was kind of cool, because I pulled it right into my personal calendar, and I could quickly just go in and say, “Yeah. I want to tune in and catch this.” The problem is I forget to turn it off, so it was a little obnoxious, but it’s kind of cool. You can do that with co-workers. You can do it with friends. You can do it with organizations that publish a public calendar of events.
Male: Sports teams.
Ken Tucker: Sports team. Yeah. Google My Business. If you do business where your customers are coming from predominantly a very localized region, could be a two mile radius, it could be the Saint Louis metro are, it could even be a little bit broader than that, claiming your Google My Business Page is probably the most important thing that I think every business needs to go do. You just go do that. You go to business.google.com, or you just Google Google My Business. It’ll take you there. Make sure you claim that. Make sure that you give consideration to what data you put in there, what information you put in there, because that is going to become really critical to whether or not you’re going to show up on a Google Map result.
Put in the name of your business the way you want it to be found, and it should be consistent with your website and any other place you’re listed online. Put in your business address. Put in your phone number. Give some thought to what your primary business category is, because that’s probably the thing that you’re going to wind up having a chance to rank for the best. It may be a situation where if you do two things pretty close to equally important for your business, one of them is very, very competitive.
Let’s just say a divorce lawyer or a family lawyer might be a really competitive environment, but you also do criminal law, or maybe you do bankruptcy or something like that. Bankruptcy might be less competitive. Just think about it, because it may be that if you put yourself in the primary category of a bankruptcy lawyer, that you’re going to show up higher for those searches for bankruptcy lawyer than you might have the opportunity to show up for searches for family law, or divorce attorney, or something like that. You can actually put yourself in multiple categories, but the primary category you pick is going to be really important.
Female: Can you create a category?
Ken Tucker: You can, but you really should try to use the Google categories, because that’s what’s going to … Because Google’s created those categories for a reason. If you create a category …
Female: We know more about our audience than Google knows about our audience.
Male: No. Nobody knows more than Google.
Female: I have had people find me. I say, “How’d you find us?”, because we have a shop on Main Street. They’ll say, “I found you on the internet,” which I’m amazed, because our website needs a lot of help. At any rate, I’ve claimed my Google spot, but now I occasionally will get calls from Google saying, “You still need to claim your spot.”
Ken Tucker: Those are spam.
Female: Those are spam.
Female: Yeah. That’s what I thought, and I hang up on them. Okay. Good. I’m glad to know that that was spam.
Ken Tucker: Paul, do you know of any instance where anybody form Google ever calls a business to get them to claim their business?
Ken Tucker: I don’t. All of those are spam.
Female: Okay. Good to know.
Ken Tucker: Ultimately what they’re trying to do is probably trying to sell you advertising ultimately.
Female: Right. That’s what I figured.
Ken Tucker: A Google My Business page is free, so anybody who ever tries to sell it to you, they may be bundling some services with that, but just make sure you understand, because you can go do this. Yeah. You can pay us to go set up a Google My Business page. We’re going to set it up. We’re going to optimize it using some best practices, but you can also just go do it for free by yourself if you want. Put pictures and videos on there. If Google gives you the place where you can put 10 pictures, if you’ve got 10 good quality images, put them on there. I also recommend naming your pictures in a meaningful way. Don’t just upload it from your camera and it’s image one, two, three, four, five. Say what that picture is in the file name of your picture, because on a Google My Business page that’s the only way that Google’s going to know what that picture is.
We also go through and put the geo coding information on that picture, so that we put the physical address attributes of where that picture was taken when we upload it, because that’s another signal to say this business is physically located here.
Paul Barthel: You used to be able to put up business descriptions on Google My Business, but they moved that to Google Plus now. They’re trying to force people to use it.
Ken Tucker: And whenever you create a Google My Business page, it creates a Google Plus account for you, so if you’ve already created a Google Plus account, you’re going to have two Google Plus accounts, which means that you probably need to go through the process of cleaning those up, because again, the more accurate and authoritative that you can have that one Google My Business page and one Google Plus account that’s associated with it, the better. If Google sees that there are multiples out there, that can be problematic, and it certainly waters down your local presence. We run across all kinds of bizarre things that happen.
Paul Barthel: Don’t confuse your Google Plus page, which will be created with a Google Account, with your local business Google Plus page.
Ken Tucker: Good point.
Male: Say that again. Don’t do what?
Paul Barthel: If you have a Gmail account, Google created a personal Google Plus page for you, but it also creates, if you create a Google My Business page, it creates a Google Plus business page for it. They’re two separate things.
Ken Tucker: Two separate accounts.
Male: The business …
Male: But my business is Gmail. It’s a Gmail account, a business account.
Male: If you have a Google My Business Page, there’s a Google Plus page associated with that Google My Business.
Male: You can merge the two or you delete one
Ken Tucker: Last but not least, a couple of other really key points. Get people to go write reviews about your business on your Google My Business page. Absolutely critical. It’s going to be the thing that’s going to help you rank the fastest, again, if you’re going to be able to show up on Google Map results. Make sure you have a process in place to ask for people who are happy, satisfied customers to go write reviews. This is what’s going to ultimately going to show up in the Google Map results. You know, if you look at the way Google is structuring search results, paid ads at the top. You have to pay to be there. Above the fold, so if somebody types in a search for plumber Saint Charles or plumber Saint Charles Missouri, where they’re adding that location as a part of the search, Google is usually going to show the ads, if people are running ads. People are going to be running ads for plumbers.
It’s going to show Google Map results, and then you get the organic listings, and the organic listings don’t even show up until you start to have to scroll. Maybe you get the first position, but everything else is below the fold, so you have to scroll. That Google Map position is absolutely critical. If you do business in a local marker or your customers come to you from a fairly close geographic area, showing up on Google Maps is critically important.
Ken Tucker: Yeah. I don’t have a whole lot here. Google Photos. Don’t forget about Google Photos. It gives you a way to go in and edit photos and do some things. You’ve got some filters, and you put text over the top, and some things like that. Google Drawings. We talked a little bit about them. I’m not going to say anything more about that. Google Keep, Beth is going to talk a lot more about here in a minute. I do want to talk about Google Lens. Beth, I didn’t even tell you, but can you pull up that video real quick?
Ken Tucker: Google Lens is coming soon, and this is going to be really cool stuff. Basically it’s going to use Google Assistant, which is what’s powering like voice searches with Google Home on the Google App that you put on your phone. It’s going to be integrated in as a part of this. I don’t know how loud this …
Check out this video on Google Lens