Unless you’ve been living under a rock or a remote village in the Amazon, you’ve heard of Google. The tech giant got its start in 1996 when a couple of Stanford Ph.D. students figured out how to catalogue and search all the information on the rapidly growing internet.
This company-turned-verb has blossomed into one of the most influential technological innovations of the 21stcentury and has become a part of everyday life. Today, the company still holds the majority of search engine traffic in the U.S. With 93 percent of online experiences beginning on a search engine, Google has access to millions, even billions, of people every single day. As a small business, this matters to you. Google provides not only an opportunity to be found organically by potential customers, but also it grants you the ability to target potential customers for prices as low as $1 per day. With upwards of 3.5 billion searches a day, that’s a lot of chances for impressions and conversions.
Google, and search engines in general, can be a daunting channel to undertake. Whether your business is a restaurant, software firm, or animal rescue, properly utilizing Google can make a big difference in what you’re able to do. There are three key areas you must understand to better use this platform: search engine optimization, search advertising, and display advertising.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
After design and user experience, SEO is the biggest consideration for your website. The SEO-driven content on your website tells Google what your site is about and what information users will find. Google then plugs this information into its algorithm and shares your site to users it thinks will benefit from the information.
SEO is made up of several components – like keywords, domain authority, and meta data – that play a large part in terms of how high Google ranks your website. The higher you rank in Google’s algorithm, the more users your site will see. The best part of SEO: it’s free! Unlike other forms of Google marketing, you don’t pay for your results, just the time you put into optimizing your site.
Google Search Advertising
Being a company that wants to make money, Google places ads on their search results pages. These ads are a great solution for businesses up against big competitors or in a crowded market. By spending a little money on search advertising, you are able to jump the line and appear at the top of search results. Not only that, but also you can target specific groups and audiences to ensure that your money is being used to reach consumers who are the most likely to be interested in your product or service.
The main goal for a search campaign is to get clicks to your website. For this reason, you pay per click. While a healthy budget is your best bet at winning placement, depending on the competition for your keywords and audience, you can create effective campaigns for as little as $1 per day. To determine if your site is ad-worthy, Google takes into account the relevancy of your keywords and ad copy, the relevancy and quality of your landing page (which is great, thanks to your SEO efforts!), historical account data, and projected click-through rate. These factors combine to create your ad’s quality score – which can be a small budget’s saving grace.
Google Display Advertising
Google’s reach extends far beyond just search results. The company has created a network of websites that show visual ads on their pages. This community of websites is called Google’s Display Network and includes over 2 million websites that reach over 90 percent of internet users. Like search ads, you can target your audience through age, location, interests, etc. You can also target specific types of websites such as finance, sports, or parenting.
Unlike Google search, display campaigns are typically trying to increase awareness. Thanks to the use of visual (both still and animated) ads, you can share compelling messaging and images to your potential customers. The daily cost is similar to search, but varies depending on competition. Typically with display ads, you pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Ads are created in many sizes depending on where they will go on a website – banner, sidebar, footer, etc. The most popular types of ads are leaderboards, skyscrapers, and rectangles.
Advertising with Google is a cost-effective way to use your marketing budget to reach your target audience. Thanks to integrations between Google’s advertising platform (AdWords) and Google Analytics, businesses are easily able to manage and track the efficiency of their campaigns. With a little help from a digital strategist and creative team, your business could be taking advantage of Google opportunities in no time!
This article originally appeared on The Greater Memphis Chamber Small Business blog.