Google Business Ideas Grows Your Company












Google Business Ideas

A LOT Of Great Services And Tools

A few years ago, a tiny company of 10 employees launched a web search engine. Today, that search engine attracts more than hundreds of millions of different visitors each month! Of course, the search engine I'm talking about is none other than Google.com.

Visitors can access Google's web site in over 100 different languages (including Klingon, Pig Latin, and, a personal favorite, Elmer Fudd). Search results are generated from over eight billion indexed web pages and one billion images. And over 50% of the traffic to Google.com comes from outside the US.

Google has some impressive financial numbers, too. In mid-August 2004, they went public with their stock opening at $85; less than one year later, it is trading at just under $300 a share. They have been profitable month after month. In fact, in the first quarter of 2005, they made over $1 billion.

Quarterly profits are not what motivate Google, though. Google is very much focused on long-term development and will forego short term revenue for it. In fact, it's widely reported that when Google first launched one of their biggest search products, Google News, they forgot to put advertising on it! They were more focused on developing a high-quality product with the user's best interests in mind.

As you can imagine, it takes a lot more than 10 employees to hold down the Google fort these days. As of the end of 2004, Google employed over 3,000 people.

As the company has grown in numbers, it has also grown in scope. While Google is staying true to its philosophy of "doing one thing really, really well," it has expanded its reach in all kinds of different directions. If you haven't looked beyond the clean, simple interface of Google's main page, you are missing out on a LOT of great services and tools that can help you enhance your own business.

Google has a huge variety of services, tools, labs, and advertising avenues that every online entrepeneur should know about. Yet many people are unaware that Google is so much more than "just" a search engine. So let's look at some of the key resources you can use to benefit your online business.



Enhance Your Google Business Ideas With Their Services

The six most well-known services Google offers are easily accessed from Google's main page. Beyond the main page, there is a wider world of Google services that are less familiar to most people. The "more" link on the main page will give you access to some of them; for others, you'll have to dig a bit deeper...

We'll take a look at the "big six" from the main page, explaining what they are and how you can use them in your business, and then point you towards a few of the other services your business can benefit from.

  1. Web Search: (www.google.com) When people think of Google, web search is what comes to mind first. Google has harnessed the power of many computers to index eight billion web pages and then use a complex (and secret!) mathematical formula to determine the relevance or importance of each page. When you enter a "keyword" or search term into the search box, Google searches for web pages containing those words and lists the pages in order of importance.

    As a web site owner, you need to make sure that your own web site is optimized with keywords, high-quality content, and inbound links so that Google ranks you above your competitors in search results.

    Use Google search to monitor whether or not changes you make to your web site are helping you beat your competition to the top of the search results list! But don't expect changes to take effect immediately -- it may take days or even weeks for your changes to make a difference to your ranking.

  2. Images: (http://images.google.com) Google caches over one billion images that are searched in exactly the same way web pages are. Typing your search term in the box and clicking on "Search Images" gives you thumbnails of images related to the keyword search term you used. Each of the thumbnail images is linked back to its original page, where you can view the larger size. This can save you tons of time in locating an image that suits your purpose, since you don't need to sort through the standard search results to find a web page that might contain the image you need.

    (NOTE: Make sure the image is not protected by copyright before you download it. And, if one of YOUR images is protected and you prefer that it does not come up in Google's search results, you can request that it be removed.

  3. Within Google Groups, you can find communities of people discussing all kinds of different topics. Any member can join or start a group. This is a great way for you to discover what your potential customers are interested in.

    If, for example, your products promote natural and holistic health, you might find some great ideas for new products and markets by reading messages posted in the Natural Health group. You'll read about problems people have, which might spark a great idea for a way that you can solve that problem with a product of your own. You can also get the word out about your products to the targeted audience in the group.

  4. News: (http://news.google.com) Google News is a terrific way for you to stay on top of events. You can customize the news you get so that it comes from a specific region or source. You can also trace a particular story's history to see how it has developed over time. These can be really useful and time-saving ways to do research in your area. Rather than wading through oceans of news, tell Google to give you news on specific topics from your target area.

    Unfortunately, unless you are a news organization yourself, you can't add your own news story as a way of marketing your product. Press releases don't show up on Google News either.

  5. Froogle: (http://froogle.google.com) Froogle is a search engine that looks only for products that are for sale online. It helps buyers find a web site that sells the things they want to purchase. The search results are completely "organic"; in other words, online sellers can't "buy" a higher ranking in the search results by paying Google more money than a competitor.

    If your web site isn't already listed in Froogle's search results, you'll want to make sure it gets listed because the people who search through Froogle are there to buy something! You can submit your site at https://www.google.com/froogle/merchants/welcome. You can then use Froogle's "Product Feed" to automatically update your listing every time you make a change to your site. You can -- and should -- submit your product feed regularly so that Froogle always has the most current information about the products you are selling.

  6. Local: (http://local.google.com) Google Local is a quick way of limiting your search results to a specific region. When you click on the "Local" link on the Google main page, you get two search boxes labelled "What" and "Where." You can quickly and easily search for things like local suppliers and potential business contacts. In April of this year, Google integrated Local Search with Keyhole, a 3D mapping technology that gives a local business a "flag" on the map that accompanies search results.

    The businesses that are included in search results are ones that are already indexed by Google or that exist in one of the databases that Google accesses, like YellowPages. If your business is not showing up in search results, you can submit it to Google here: https://www.google.com/local/add/login.

    Now, let's move beyond Google's homepage to the wider world of Google tools and resources.

  7. Gmail: (http://gmail.google.com) Gmail is Google's free web-based e-mail service. It offers 2GB of storage space and the ability to send image files up to 10MB in size, which is much more than any of the other free webmail services offer. Gmail also offers new ways of storing, organizing, and archiving e-mail files.

    But the really unique thing about Gmail is that it "reads" each e-mail message it receives and matches ads to keywords it finds in the message. These ads are then displayed alongside the message. This is a great system for advertisers, of course, because their ads are being shown to a highly targeted group. Google's Privacy Policy and sensitivity filters assure Gmail users that their e-mail messages are secure and that the ads placed beside them will not be in poor taste. However, Google cannot guarantee that your competitors' ads won't show up on an e-mail you send to your customers.

    Gmail is still in beta, though, and it is likely that the number of people on your e-mail list who use it is very small.

  8. Maps: (http://local.google.com) As mentioned above, Google Maps works in tandem with Google Local, adding an interactive element to searches by location. You can toggle between street and satellite views of an area, and you can get directions simply by choosing "Directions" and typing an address in the search box.

    Your customers will easily find your brick-and-mortar business or the directions to an event you're sponsoring with a link to your own Google map right on your web site. All you have to do is navigate within Google Maps to the view you want your customers to see and click "Link to This Page." You'll get a URL that you can add to your web site's HTML. You also have the option to embed the map itself on your site. To do this, you'll need to sign up first. You can then add functionality and interest to the map on your site by overlaying information boxes and directional lines.

  9. Zeitgeist: Google Zeitgeist is a way of keeping on top of patterns, trends, and surprises in how people search on Google. It gives you a one-page snapshot of the top-ranked search terms over the past week and month, with links to the search results pages. "Zeitgeist Around the World" gives you similar tidbits organized by country.

    If you are interested in tracking keyword use related to the hottest trends online, this is a useful page for you to bookmark. And there are archives that go back to January 2001, too!

  10. PLUS MORE... (www.google.com/intl/en/options/) There are a lot more Google services to explore! Just for starters, have a look at Google Print to search the complete text of books, Google Mobile to search with your cell phone, and University Search to find links to the web sites of educational institutions.


Other Google Business Ideas:Save Time-And Money!-With Google's Free Tools

In addition to its many valuable services, Google offers you several really useful -- and free! - tools. You might be using some of them already, but you might not have considered how to really make them work to enhance your business.

  1. Toolbar: (http://toolbar.google.com) Google's free toolbar is a great way of adding functionality to your web browser. It can be a real time-saver as it spellchecks your URLs as you type them, autolinks addresses to maps, and jumps to searched words on a page. It also, of course, puts a handy Google search box right at your disposal, no matter where you are on the Web!

  2. PageRank: If you're familiar with the Google Toolbar, then you know that PageRank is the green bar and number that give you an instant sense of a web site's importance (ranked from 0 to 10). Google determines the "importance" of your site by monitoring how many other sites link to you and how "important" they are. PageRank is just one of the indicators (along with relevant links and high-quality content) that Google uses to place your web pages in search results. By monitoring your PageRank -- and that of your competitors -- you can get a general sense of how well-optimized your pages are for search. PageRank can also indicate the quality of a site you're checking out as a potential link partner.

  3. Blogger: (www.blogger.com) Google's free blogging tool is an excellent opportunity for you to develop a web presence with dynamic content and an RSS feed. The growing importance of RSS will change how new pages are optimized -- news goes out to readers rather than readers coming to look for news. According to a recent issue of Planet Ocean's "Search Engine Watch," in the not-so-distant future, it will become more important to have large numbers of sites pulling your RSS feed than it will to have a high rank in search results. Blogger is an easy way to get the jump on your competition!

    Google, itself, uses Blogger for its own blogs -- have a look at

  4. Code: (http://code.google.com) If you're a bit of a techie, then you'll appreciate Google Code! This is a site that Google has for external developers who want to try their hand at improving Google's products. There are currently several projects that are being featured, all related to different aspects of projects that are actively being developed at Google. Google's engineers decide which ones to release as open source for public development and welcome knowledgeable input.

  5. Desktop Search: (http://desktop.google.com/) Desktop Search is another of google business ideas:a free tool that you can use to search your own computer. You can locate files, previously visited web pages, e-mail, and more by installing Google's search bar on your desktop. If your business is growing and you want to be able to search several computers, you can use the free Enterprise edition of the Desktop Search box.

  6. Google Earth: (http://earth.google.com) For pure fun, you HAVE to take a look at another google business ideas: Google Earth. It lets you swoop around the Grand Canyon, zip over to your old neighborhood, and have a look at the area around that resort you booked online. You can zoom in and out and rotate the view. While you won't be able to see your dog wagging its tail in your backyard, it will give you a great sense of terrain, architecture, and landmarks.

  7. PLUS MORE... (www.google.com/intl/en/options/) Google offers a number of other tools like Hello, which is an instant messaging system with images, and Translate, which lets you view web pages in other languages.


Get more Google Business Ideas In Google Labs

Google devotes about 70% of its efforts to developing its web search and targeted ads, which are the core of its business, and about 10% on developing products - like Blogger - that are fun, interesting, and useful, but only peripherally related to web search. The remaining 20% of their time and energy is where a lot of Google's most innovative development comes from. The company requires its engineers to spend one-fifth of their time developing their own projects - things that interest them apart from their regular jobs - and this has led to other Google Business Ideas products like Google's desktop search engine, "search by location," and Gmail.

Unlike many companies, Google is not afraid to let people "look under its skirt." In other words, you can get a good idea of what Google is working on and what direction they might take with the services and tools they offer. Take a look at Google Labs (http://labs.google.com) for some current examples.

This is where Google showcases what its engineers have been up to in their "personal project" time. It is also where Google asks you for your input. You can try out tools while they are still in the development stage and give your feedback on how you think they could be improved or developed -- tools like...

  1. Site Flavored Search Box: (www.google.com/services/siteflavored.html) You can put a Google search box on your web site that will tailor your visitors' searches according to a profile you have predefined. You provide Google with information about yourself, your business, etc., and when your visitors use the search box, Google flags certain results as likely to be more relevant. You have the ability to veto sites from being presented in the search results, too.

  2. Personalized Search: Personalized Search orders your search results based on what you have searched for before. This can be a real time-saver for a small business owner who is trying to do market research.
    You can store and retrieve previous searches, and as your search history grows, so will the efficiency of your searches.

  3. PLUS MORE... (http://labs.google.com) Visit Google Labs to see what else is in the pipeline (or "recently graduated"). There is a ton of useful stuff, and by getting to know how Google plans to make things better for you -- and your customers -- tomorrow, you can be better prepared than your competition to take advantage of all of those tools and services.



Promote Your Google Business Ideas By Advertising With Google

If you're not already advertising with Google, it's time to get cracking! Because of the massive number of visitors to Google each day, it is a HUGE source of potential traffic for you.

  1. Web Search: Just showing up in your potential customers' search results is the easiest way to use Google for free advertising. You'll need to optimize your web site to achieve the highest ranking possible. You may already be aware that you need to spend some time getting the right keywords on your web site and increasing your "link popularity."

    You might not have known that Google looks at the first block of text it encounters on your web page and uses that for the few lines displayed about your site on search result pages. So if you want to get listed and also catch the eye of your customers, make your first paragraph of text count: It should be roughly 300 words with about 8% of them being keywords to be most effective.

  2. Sitemaps: (www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps) Google's spiders constantly index web pages, and it is impossible to predict accurately when they will visit your site. If you have paid attention to optimization for search, then they WILL crawl your pages. However, you cannot be sure that they have indexed ALL of your web pages -- they might index just part of your site on one visit. And since they start at the top of a page and work down, they might not even index the entire page before moving on!

    One thing you can do to increase the likelihood of your entire site being searchable is to submit your site to Google Sitemaps. (There are several ways to do this; for an overview go to (www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps) When you do this, Google creates and stores an XML file that allows for instant updates and indexing whenever your site's content changes. This is like having your own data cable running from your computer directly to Google!

  3. AdSense: (www.google.com/adsense) AdSense is one of the two kinds of advertising avenues Google offers. The ads generated through AdSense are third-party ads that sit on your web site. The program is free for you to use AND you make money each time someone clicks on an ad to move off of your web site. In other words, these ads entice your visitors away from your site (bad thing), but you are compensated each time that happens (good thing).

    Google matches the ads to your site by finding similarities in the keywords of each. You can set a filter to prevent your competitors' ads from appearing on your web site, and you can customize the appearance of the ads so that their background color is the same as your site's, making them look more like informative content than sales pitches.

    Try testing Google AdSense on your site to see if it negatively affects your traffic and sales. If it doesn't, then you've just found a new revenue stream! How much will you earn? That depends partly on how much the advertisers are paying Google for the keywords and partly on how many people click through the ads on your site. You could earn anywhere between $0.03 and $15.00 per click and up to several hundred dollars a day if you have a well-optimized site that draws lots of targeted traffic.

  4. AdWords: (www.google.com/adwords) The second of Google's advertising opportunities is AdWords. These are ads that you create to promote your business and that Google places on other sites for you. There are three main places that you will see AdWord ads --

    • On the right side of the page next to Google's "organic" search results
    • On other sites as AdSense ads
    • Alongside your e-mail messages in Gmail

    When you create your AdWord ads, you are in control of how much they cost. You decide how much you are willing to pay for specific keywords in your ads, and each time your ad is clicked you pay that amount. The amount ranges from a minimum of $0.05 to a maximum of $100, and you can set a daily budget that will not be exceeded.

    Google uses the keywords you chose to place your ads on sites that have content relevant to yours, so you can be assured that the traffic you are paying for is highly targeted. AdWords reach 80% of Internet users AND you can define their target region and language. If you're wary about using AdWords because of the possibility of your ads appearing on sites that do not convert to sales for you, you can apply a "negative filter" when creating your ad to exclude specific sites.

    As with AdSense ads, it's always a good idea to test whether your advertising investment is making money for you. If the click-through traffic is not converting to sales, if your traffic drops off, or if a particular keyword is not drawing the traffic -- and sales -- you had hoped for, it is time to rework your ads.



Monitor Google Business Ideas - And Your Site's Google Ranking - With Other Tools

We shouldn't always take a company's word for it about when it comes to what they offer. It's always wise to get a second opinion or look to the experts to see what the buzz is about a company's products. Using Google is no different, and there are a large number of ways that you can discover who is saying what about Google's plans and products. There are also a lot of people who provide tools and services that supplement Google's, and these, too, are worth knowing about.

Let's look at a few examples...

    This is a blog that focuses on AdSense, AdWords, and PageRank strategies. For information, tips, tricks, and strategies related to Google, this site is a good first stop.

  1. Check your Google rank: (www.GoogleRankings.com/ultimate_seo_tool.php) This site gives you a free tool for checking your keywords. You can enter your site's URL and get a report about your keyword density. You can then check how highly Google ranks your site for each of the keywords.

  2. GoogleGuide.com:
    (www.GoogleGuide.com) This site offers guides for both novice and experienced users. Experienced users can find out about creating a web site, including tips on PageRank, getting listed, and advertising revenue.

In addition, don't forget to "google" for blogs, resources, and news about Google. That's always a sure way of coming up with great ideas!



Final Thoughts on Google Business Ideas

You know you've really made it when your company name is turned into a verb. "Let me google that" is part of our everyday speech -- and the verb "to google" has even been added to the Webster's dictionary! From tiny beginnings not that long ago, Google has had a huge impact, not only on how we search the Web, but also on how we talk about it. Google has become synonymous with online information.

And there is much more to Google Business Ideas! In fact, we're barely scratching the surface of some of Google's most recent advancements here -- not to mention the complexities of improving your ranking in Google's search results...


Be sure to check out the sections on AdWords, AdSense, and tips for optimizing your site for Google in particular. We'll walk you through the tricky bits and point out the hidden gems that you can use to ensure you are coming out ahead of your competitors.

Above all, remember Google's philosophy: "Focus on the user, and all else will follow." Every step of your business should be about solving a problem for your customer. Google's services and tools will help you achieve that.








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