Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools

Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools

by Greg Holden

Google is not only the search engine of choice for millions of users, it is an immensely powerful tool for savvy businesspeople who know how to use its advanced features. Go Google is a comprehensive guide to everything readers need to know about Google’s myriad applications, including Google Apps, Google Docs and

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Google is not only the search engine of choice for millions of users, it is an immensely powerful tool for savvy businesspeople who know how to use its advanced features. Go Google is a comprehensive guide to everything readers need to know about Google’s myriad applications, including Google Apps, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google SMS, Google Base, and other services that will help businesses get organized—and get noticed. Companies will learn how to get their message heard and take their marketing to a new level by:

• Creating and strengthening their business websites with Google Page Creator, Google Analytics, and Google Checkout.

• Improving communication with clients and co-workers using Google Talk, Google SMS, and Google Groups.

• Marketing themselves to prospective customers using Google AdWords, AdSense, and Google directory placement.

• Improving their visibility by creating business blogs with Blogger.

Complete with information on research tools like Google Local, Google News, and Google Alerts, this is the ultimate guide for businesses of every size.

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Product Details

Publication date:
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Age Range:
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Meet the Author

Greg Holden (Chicago, IL) has written more than 30 books on computers and the Internet, including Starting an Online Business for Dummies , Selling Beyond eBay (978-0-8144-7349-8), and How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business. He is founder and owner of Stylus Media, his own small Internet-based business.

Read an Excerpt

Learning from Google:

A 21st-Century Model for


You know what Google is. At least, you think you know Google. Chances are you

associate Google with being among the most successful high-tech businesses in the

world, as well as being the most popular search service on the World Wide Web. And

you have probably heard ‘‘google’’ used as a verb, meaning ‘‘to search for or find

something online,’’ as in: ‘‘I Googled my professor and found his home page . . . I

Gmailed him my report.’’ (Gmail is Google’s email service; you’ll hear quite a bit

about it in the pages that follow.) If that’s all you think of when you hear the word

‘‘Google,’’ you’re missing the latest Internet revolution. What you can learn from this

book will improve your life immeasurably, especially if your goals are to work more

efficiently and to do a better job of marketing yourself or your company.

What’s So Great About Google?

Back in 1996, two graduate students started their own Web-based search service,

which they called BackRub. By 1998, the project had gained a lot of attention, secured

some investors, and turned into a corporation called Google—a Web site that

made specific Web pages, discussion groups, or even individual words and phrases

easy to locate. In recent years, Google has expanded its services for businesses in a

dramatic way. Its Gmail and AdWords services are now in widespread use. For example,

Google offers scheduling, word processing, spreadsheet, email, and other applications

both separately and as part of an umbrella package called Google Apps. These

days, Google is also an increasingly popular solution for small businesses that need

to increase their visibility and build their brand. Google is fast becoming the most

affordable and effective marketing venue for businesses.

Through its expansion into the business services space, Google itself provides you

with a role model that you can follow as you develop your own business online. It all

starts when you create a service that gives you a solid foundation. After a steady

stream of customers are knocking at your virtual door, you can expand into new

areas. Google can help you make that exciting move.

This book will give you comprehensive descriptions of the site’s search engine,

advertising, marketing, workflow, and communications features. Not only that, but

you’ll be provided with tips on how they can best meet your needs. Google’s search

tool and other services can help businesses get organized and on the same page,

often for little or no cost. The new Google Apps will let businesses take their online

communications and data sharing to a new level. This book will examine ways in

which businesses like yours can communicate messages and make Web sites more

visible to prospective customers; it will go a step beyond what has previously been

said about Google to describe how clients and coworkers can use it to communicate

with one another more effectively.

These days, Google is much more than a directory of the Web’s contents. It’s on

the verge of becoming an integral part of many small business operations. Google is

itself a model for a 21st-century business. You can learn a great deal about how a

successful company operates by reading the sections that follow.

Googling Google: Researching an Internet Success Story

Plenty of books have written about Google and how it started. In a nutshell, the

business was founded by two men, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who first met in late

1995 when they were graduate students at the University of Michigan. They spent a

lot of time and programming effort to come up with a complex algorithm for finding

content on the Web with amazing accuracy.

It should come as no surprise that the best way to find out about Google is to

Google the company history yourself. If you enter the search terms Google History on

the home page (http://www.google.com), you will see that the first returned result is

a link to Google Corporate Information: Google Milestones (http://www.google.com/

corporate/history.html). This will reveal a comprehensive and up-to-date timeline detailing

the company’s achievements. Here you will find personal anecdotes from and

biographies of Larry and Sergey (who are shown below), as well as a detailed history

of their company’s humble beginnings and remarkable growth. Don’t be afraid of being

bored. You won’t be. It’s all told with the straightforward and laid-back style that have

become synonymous with the name Google.

For more information, you can also scroll down to the bottom of any page on the

Google website and click on the link labeled About Google (http://www.google.com/

about.html). This will take you to a map of all of the products, services, and support

features that Google offers, as well as provide links to more corporate information.

The ‘‘take away’’ point here is that Google succeeds by providing a service that

everyone wants and needs: access to information and links to virtually any kind of

online content.

Information Sells

What’s the first lesson you learn from Google’s story? Having identified a need that

is shared by each one of the millions of individuals who go online every day, Brin

and Page stuck to their core business and kept improving it. They spent many years

building their company, slowly focusing on the basic activity of searching for content

on the Web. Only when that process became widely accepted did they begin to sell

ads that would appear alongside search results pages. Only after several years did the

company go public. Only recently have they begun to provide the business applications

described in this book.

When you start up your own Web site, whether or not you use Google, you need

to identify your mission and stick to it without trying to take on too much at once.

Define the kinds of customers, clients, or visitors you want to reach. Determine how

you’re going to meet their needs by making your own products or services available

online. Start with a few pages or business applications and build your presence gradually.

Once you have a firm base—a Web site created with Google’s Web Page Creator

(see Chapter 11), a domain name obtained through Google Apps (Chapter 6), or a

sales channel created with Google Base (Chapter 15)—you can expand your presence

to build a wider audience.

On the Internet, the more prospective customers who can reach and the richer

the level of content you provide, the more effective your business will be. As you’ll

learn in subsequent chapters, you improve your search engine rankings for both venues

when you are able to make links from one Web site you own to another one you

own. If your sites have three or four ‘‘levels’’ of content (in other words, if your

visitors are able to click through from one page to another and keep finding new

forms of information) your site will be ‘‘stickier.’’ You’ll be able to hold those visitors

on your site for a longer period of time, which make it that much more likely they’ll

perform the action you are hoping for—whether that action is making a purchase,

filling out a form, or sending you an email inquiry.

Google gives you a virtual toolbox full of options for creating a Web presence

that is expansive and extensive. It can help you in one of two ways:

• If you already have a Web site dedicated to your business or club (or to your

own personal exploits), Google provides you with a set of tools that are surefire

ways to help you meet your goals. (And you can use Google’s Page Creator

as described in Chapter 11 to create another Web site, too.)

• Google gives you a free and yet powerful way to establish a full-fledged Web

presence if you don’t have one already.

Keep It Simple

When you look at the Google home page shown in Figure 1-1, what do you see?

Along with the search box and heading and links, your eyes will rest on lots of white

space. While other Web sites (such as that of Google’s competitor Yahoo!) are cluttered

with links, words, images, and corporate logos, Google’s remains remarkably

Figure 1-1. Google’s home page points to a model of simplicity you should try to emulate.

uncluttered. No doubt Google could make millions by placing a single ad or two on

its well-traveled home page. But the site’s managers know the value of simplicity, and

you should appreciate it too.

There’s no doubt about it: You can go ahead and hire Web designers and computer

programmers to create a complex and world-class Web site that will ‘‘Wow!’’

everyone who visits it. But chances are you have picked up this book because you

want to avoid just this sort of expense and complication. You want to be in control

and plan your online site in a way that reflects your personality and your interests.

And you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg—or, unless you sign up for the premium

Google Apps service which is aimed at businesses, anything at all. You want to ‘‘Go

Google,’’ in other words.

Focus on Your Core Business

Even as it expands to the desktops of individual business users, Google hasn’t lost

sight of its core business: providing accurate search results. Google doesn’t make

money off the search results by themselves. However, its paid advertising programs

such as AdWords, which place ads alongside search results, have proven to be highly

lucrative. Google has found a way to preserve its original mission and maintain the

quality of its product for the millions who search the Internet each day. At the same

time, it enables customers to take advantage of that product by providing advertising

in a targeted way. This system is based on making a decision on how much they will

pay each time a visitor clicks on one of their ads.

The lesson for you is to focus on your own core business and establish a base of

operations on the Web first. Then you can begin to think about branching out into

trying to boost productivity as well as revenue. Suppose you are starting from square

one: you have a Big Idea for an online business and you have identified the target

audience you want to reach. But that’s as far as you’ve gone so far. You have Internet

access through your office, your school, or your home. But you need to set up your

own business online. If you only wanted one service to get you started, the logical

first choice would be to sign up for email with Google’s Gmail service—email, after

all, is central to all online communications. But if you want a complete solution, sign

up for Google Apps and look around at other Google services.

Table 1-1 presents you with a road map for Google services that can help you

take your first step online: establishing a Web site, email, and a domain. That’s all

you need to do to make you or your company visible online.

Once you have a Web presence, you can follow Google’s example and start to

branch out. Google can help your company’s internal operations by improving collaboration

and workflow among your employees. You can create shared business documents,

set up user accounts, and schedule meetings. The Google offerings listed in

Table 1-2 are relatively new and exciting in many ways. That’s why they have the

potential to take business away from Microsoft, to mention just one example of other

companies that develop expensive business applications.

Table 1-1. Step One: Tools for Establishing an Online Presence

What You Need How to Get It Where to Find It

Gmail only Sign up http://mail.google.com

A Web domain, Gmail, Sign up for Google Apps and http://www.google.com/a

Google Calendar, Web Page buy a domain name for

Creator, Google Talk, Docs & $10/year


Get out news and updates to Create a blog with Blogger http://www.blogger.com

your customers quickly and


Make your business’s Add your business to Google

physical location easier to Maps


Make your Web site more Add Google Gadgets

content-rich and timely

Table 1-2. Tools for Working More Efficiently

What You Need How to Get It Where to Find It

Save money on long distance Sign up for Google Talk

phone calls by typing or

conducting voice chat


Creating group discussions Start your own Google http://groups.google.com


Set appointments, plan Use Google Calendar http://calendar.google.com

meetings, and share your (also part of Google Apps)

upcoming schedule

Set up a Google search Obtain Google Desktop

engine on your own computer

to search through your own

files or other computers on

the same network

Translating Web pages and Translate with Google

text in a foreign language Toolbar

Get the latest business Google Trends

statistics and trends

Organize your electronic Use Google’s Picasa service

image files

British company uses Google to Collaborate

Rock Kitchen Harris (http://www.rkh.co.uk) is an advertising, design, PR, and web

agency based in Leicester, England. There are eighteen employees working in the same

office but, as in any organization, staff people frequently need to work from home or

go on the road. The solution that has worked best for this company is to use Gmail to

keep in touch and Google Apps to share files.

‘‘Google Apps has been particularly helpful in allowing some of us to work from

home and all of us to check our email and schedules wherever we may be,’’ says Paul

Sculthorpe, Senior Web Developer for the company. Sculthorpe says that aside from

giving everyone on staff the ability to schedule upcoming meetings with Calendar and

share files, it’s made his job easier, too. ‘‘It has taken a big load off our general IT

administration staff. Now we can focus on our real work. The calendar and docs sharing

is particularly good.’’

Email is the primary Google service used by the company. ‘‘All of our emails are

stored at Google. We figure their systems are more resilient and secure than our own

shoddy solution that failed a few months back. Those using desktop clients still download

all of their emails too.’’ A desktop client is a program like Outlook Express that is

installed on your computer and that gathers information from a networked resource—

in this case, an e-mail server. Google’s Gmail service provides an alternative

for those who want to take advantage of it.

Although Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets service, which enables a company to prepare,

edit, and share word processing and spreadsheet files online, isn’t as fullfeatured

as, say, Microsoft Word or Excel, as Sculthorpe observes: ‘‘for simple day to

day stuff that needs collaboration, it’s ideal.’’

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