Saying that Google has the most amazing tools for small business is the biggest understatement of the year. As a website designer I routinely use many of their free products to help me optimize my websites and business.
All of these services are FREE.
Do you want someone to email you on a regular basis anything that people are saying about you or your competitors? Then you want Google Alerts. It is easy to sign up, change preferences, and cancel this service. Go ahead, give it a try.
Google places is a MUST for small business. Most importantly, list your business information. They also provide useful statistics about your business – impressions, keywords, clicks. I use Google Webmaster primarily for this information, but if you are not an website developer than this is the best place to get some statistics about your website. The statistical information takes about a month to generate, so if you aren’t getting any useful information right away that is normal.
Keywords are how the internet works. The search engines scan websites for keywords, and then index sites based off of what they find. If you have a website, you should have a solid understanding of keywords, and Google Adwords is there to help.
Did you need some idea on keywords for your website or business? Google AdWords shows you the estimated monthly traffic of certain keywords, and the competition associated with those keywords.
It has been my experience that Google AdWords does not work well for flash websites. Flash websites are not search engine friendly, and Google Adwords is a search engine product.
Submit Your Site To Google
Make sure to submit you site to Google. DO NOT overdo this. I have yet to see this confirmed, but there is speculation that submitting your sites to search engines too frequently can get you banned. Try to submit your website more than once a month, and only when there is new information.
*Advanced Tools – Webmasters Only*
Google Webmaster is a must for anybody with a website. You do need to have access to your website or hosting company so that you can validate the website is yours. It can take 1-2 days for the verification to take place.
After you’ve verified the website is yours, do not expect any information to populate for about a month. Google webmaster information is a little slow, and it seeks to report information about your site from all over the internet. There may be websites that report a little faster, but I like the price tag on this feature (free). And since Google is still the dominant search engine, I like knowing how Google sees my website.