Inbound marketing efforts would be meaningless without the biggest inbound discovery tool of them all. With over 3.5 billion queries performed via its search engine every day, Google is king when it comes to attracting visitors to your website and content.
For successful inbound marketers, an understanding of Google and its products is essential knowledge.
Whether your goal is to maximise organic traffic, convert more visitors into leads or increase your content’s exposure around the web, knowing how to use Google tools properly will help you get the most out of your inbound marketing and advertising efforts.
At bandv’s first What’s the Future? event held in September 2015, senior campaign specialist at Google Vajinder Jabbar revealed how business owners and marketers can get the most out of Google products while promoting their business online.
We’ve rounded up the most essential Google tools and products for inbound marketers to make use of in order to get the most from their inbound activity.
Google is best known for its search engine, and for good reason. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and Google’s owns over 89% of the market share. SEO and keywords should form a large part of your inbound marketing strategy.
In its most basic form, SEO will help boost the amount of organic visitors coming through to your website and viewing your blog posts and other content.
The keywords you opt to rank for should relate to the problems, challenges and goals assigned to your buyer personas. After a stranger to your company stumbles across your website via Google search, it’s up to your content and buying process to convert them into a lead or customer.
Use keyword research and SEO tactics to select the right keywords, identify ranking opportunities and enhance your visibility on Google’s organic search results.
2. Google Analytics
How do you know whether your website is optimised to drive sales? If your keywords are performing well and visitors are coming to your website but not converting, Google Analytics can help you understand what is stopping them from becoming customers.
Looking at where visitors are coming from, corresponding bounce rates, what visitors click on and where they leave your website will reveal the answers to those all important questions:
Have you chosen the most relevant, effective keywords? Is there something on your website that needs to be changed? Should you be offering more valuable content to potential customers, or do you need to simplify the buying or decision-making process?
Use Google Analytics to look at visitors’ behaviour while browsing your website, viewing your content and undertaking the buyer journey.
Paid advertising doesn’t typically fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing tactics, but it can complement inbound methodology. Google AdWords allows you to run PPC campaigns across the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network and the YouTube Network.
With an AdWords account that’s linked up to your Google Analytics account, you can monitor the results of your campaigns and analyse the behaviour of your paid traffic on your website.
Use AdWords to give your organic efforts a leg up, as well as promoting your content to those who may find it relevant and those who are searching for related terms.
To learn more about running a PPC campaign via AdWords, download our new eBook about common myths and best practices.
If someone has visited your website without signing up for a newsletter, downloading a piece of content or making a purchase, Google’s Remarketing product shows your ads to previous visitors with a view to re-engaging them so that they convert and purchase the second time around.
Remarketing can be configured so that those visitors who are continuing to search for relevant keywords will be shown ads on the Search Network re-directing them back to your website.
Use remarketing to remind your potential customers that you’re still here, and ready to wow them with your content, product or service offering. It can also act as a way to promote more products and valuable content to previous customers, to encourage repeat business.
Is Google+ relevant or redundant to today's digital and inbound marketers? As a social media channel, it doesn't hold the same sway as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like for reaching audiences, engaging fans and customers, sharing content and networking.
In terms of SEO and content marketing however, Google+ is still a valid and effective channel. Google+ posts rank highly in search engine results, driving organic traffic to websites.
Google+ avatars may no longer appear alongside listings in search engine results, as they did in the days of Google Authorship, but Google still recommends keeping rel=author tags on websites. Since Google is building a more semantic search engine focussed on rewarding get content, it needs information about who is writing this content.
If you link your articles to a public Google+ profile for yourself or your brand (using the rel=publisher tag), you help the search engine connect the dots between you and your articles. Providing this public Google+ profile gives Google more information to place in knowledge graphs or direct answers.
So should you keep your Google+ account? Yes. Google's future plans for Google+ remain a mystery, so it makes no sense to get rid of it.
In short: the more information you can give Google, the better.