When you’re searching for answers to life’s questions, Google is often the go-to information resource.
But Google holds much more value than your typical search engine. Since establishing itself in 1998, it has grown into an online marketing beast, offering tools that go well beyond just ‘search’.
For small business owners, Google’s digital tools come with big benefits. Not only are they free and easy to use, but they’re specifically created to help you market your business online. Combined with a search engine that leads all others, Google’s multitude of resources are ones every marketer and small business can benefit from.
If you’re looking to run effective digital marketing campaigns and get your business off the ground, Google has you covered. One login through a free Google account opens the doors to countless marketing possibilities. Here are some of the best free Google digital marketing tools for your small business:
1. Google My Business
For small businesses owners that want to attract more local clients, consider a free Google My Business (GMB) listing.
GMB can increase your chances of showing in Google’s local search results, Google Maps as well as organic rankings. That means people searching for your products and services in your service area will be better able to find you.
Importantly, higher positions in local results cannot be bought; unlike Google AdWords. All business listings appear naturally based on how well they’re optimised, the number of online reviews and other factors.
Once you’ve claimed your GMB listing and added information, you can use features such as Google Posts which are like free ads that show up below your listing in search results.
Keep adding posts and optimising your listing to get greater engagement and better search results for your brand. New features are often added, so go back and check or update information regularly and take advantage of any new features.
The more interaction with GMB, the better your chances of ranking higher in the local three-pack and organic rankings in general.
Bonus Tip: Encourage clients to write online reviews via GMB. The more positive reviews your business receives, the more it will benefit your listing.
2. Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools)
Both Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) and Google Analytics are vital tools to check the health and performance of your website.
Google Search Console monitors website search traffic, search appearance and crawl data. It also provides technical status updates and additional education resources beneficial to business owners and web marketers.
If there are any red flags that are preventing users finding your site, such as blocked URLS or HTML errors, this tool will notify you. It includes powerful insights into how your visitors are finding you and what terms they’re searching to get there.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is an important digital marketing tool, but often underused by most businesses.
It allows you to measure the traffic to your website, the results of campaigns over selected time periods as well as providing invaluable user information.
GA data can tell you who visits your website, where they came from and what they did while they were browsing your site pages.
You’ll have access to:
- Visitor Reports: Data for how much time users spend on your site, where they’re from and what they’re doing. Also includes new vs returning visitors, bounce rates and the total number of people visiting daily, monthly or yearly.
- Keywords: Essential for keyword research and tailoring content, you can see the keywords which bring traffic, produce sales or keep users on your site for longer.
- Content: GA shows you which web pages are bringing in the most traffic, so you can better tailor content and content marketing strategies.
While it won’t measure your entire marketing funnel, GA data makes it possible for small business owners to craft the right SEO-friendly content for users and properly identify audiences.
Find out how to set up GA and add your tracking code to your website.
4. Google Trends
If you’re looking for a smart keyword tool, Google Trends is your answer.
It allows you to explore the latest trending topics using keyword data and search traffic trends. The popularity of these keywords and search terms can then be evaluated and compared against other variations for new content ideas, efficient targeting and new keyword suggestions.
Google Trends also allows you to monitor your business brand and industry competitors. This is an effective way to see if users are searching for your business over others.
Bonus Tip: Use Google Trends to find out important questions being asked in Google’s search engine. This is great for fresh content inspiration and to understand your target audience and their needs better.
5. Google Drive
Small business owners need all the help they can get to run things smoothly.
To drive productivity and make sharing documents between clients/partners/staff easier, Google Drive is a handy cloud-storage tool.
Gmail account holders can store 10GB in Gmail and 15GB in Google Drive for free. For an additional 25GB, pricing starts at $2.49 per month. For communication, content creation and real-time collaboration, the tool is highly useful.
6. Google Calendar
The best business owners and marketers pride themselves on organisation and planning.
Google Calendar gets your business in order by tracking meetings and setting up editorial calendars. Information can be easily shared with others, which is especially handy if you’re engaging with internal or external content writers. HubSpot has free editorial calendar templates available, so all content is planned and optimised in advance.
7. Digital Garage
Google’s initiative with Digital Garage is your one-stop shop to master digital marketing.
The platform was launched specifically to assist small businesses to grow online. The free online training platform includes over 90 training modules, from social media to digital marketing.
Whether you want more knowledge on how to market your business, build your web presence or improve search campaigns, Digital Garage can develop your skills through an easy-to-learn online environment.
Everyone benefits from self-improvement and professional development, but courses can get costly. These modules teach you the fundamental principles of digital marketing, with quizzes and a comprehensive final exam. If you complete and master all courses, you’ll receive a certificate from Google supported by IAB Australia which you can promote on LinkedIn and your website.
8. Google Primer
Google Primer is a free app from Google which makes learning new business and digital marketing skills fast and easy.
The app delivers short lessons, ranging from three to five minutes, on a wide range of business topics.
To get started, download the app. The next time you have a few minutes, search the app for the skills you want to learn. Topics include:
- Content marketing, creating and sharing.
- Business leadership and developing your team.
- Customer engagement and finding your target market.
- Marketing and business insights, campaign analytics and other digital metrics.
- Video marketing.
- Mobile marketing.
Time is a precious commodity when you’re busy running a business. Google recognises this and offers invaluable free tools to make marketing efforts easier. Which tools have you found helpful? Leave your comments below.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson – Senior Content Creator for White Chalk Road specialising in SEO and online marketing. You can catch Jayde on Google+ or LinkedIn to discuss this piece.