It’s no secret that Google pretty much owns the Internet and you need to leverage their tools if you want to make the most of your web presence.
Also, with so many tools and properties, it’s hard to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ll share a few things we’ve learned in our many years of dealing with the tools.
In the following, we’ll explain some of the most popular tools and then give some advice on how to approach your overall Google setup.
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free utility that is placed on your website and does 2 things:
- Removes the need to access the site to place other tags like Google Analytics, the Facebook Pixel, Linkedin Retargeting Pixel, etc.
- Allows you to set tags and triggers which enable Google Analytics “goals” so you can see when visitors do things like download documents or watch videos (and these goals can, in turn, be attributed to the marketing sources that sent them).
Google Tag Manager is pretty much a “must” for advanced marketers, although is a bit intimidating and complex for setup for beginners.
Google Analytics is arguably the best free marketing tool in history. It allows you to monitor all your web traffic and break it down by elements like:
- Location – country, state/province, city
- Demographics – gender and age
- Device type – mobile, desktop, tablet
- Operating System and browser
- Marketing source.
What’s more, you can also set it up to measure your “conversions” like bookings, purchases and contact form submissions and attribute them to the marketing source that generated the visit (ads, social, email, links from other sites, etc).
Google Analytics is more or less a requirement if you place any value whatsoever on understanding your visitors and marketing efforts.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is essentially your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) monitoring tool and website checkup tool.
Using it you can see:
- If Google is able to properly crawl your site
- If you have broken pages or broken images
- Which search terms (keywords) visitors are clicking on to reach your website and where you rank for them
- Which pages are receiving visitors through Google Search
- Numerous other elements of your overall SEO
Like Google Analytics, if you are remotely concerned about your web and SEO presence, you need to set this up! This tool is fairly easy to use although the setup can be mildly confusing.
Google My Business
Google My Business is essentially your online calling card and is closely related to Google Maps and Google Search.
In short, it’s free promotion and exposure for your website.
In it you can:
- Share your critical information like hours, location(s), services, etc
- Gather Google reviews
- Integrate with Google Ads to support call extensions and location extensions
Google My Business is mission critical for “local” businesses who market to folks within their region but is still very important for companies of any size (noting if you’re a national ecommerce seller you’ll probably select your “service area” rather than posting your main office address).
Make sure to embed your Google My Business Map listing on your contact page to help ensure Google recognizes the relationship between your site and your GMB account.
PRO TIP: If you have multiple business locations you will want to set up one single account and manage your multiple addresses through that account – this will give you the best results and exposure in Maps and Search.
Google Merchant Center
Google Merchant Center plugs in your ecommerce inventory into Google. It allows you to advertise in Google Shopping and, as of mid-2020, also qualifies you for some free Shopping placements.
It can be a bit tricky to set up although if you are selling online, it ain’t optional – just do it!
If you are in a product category where you have products or services that people search for, chances are that a well-executed Google Search or Google Shopping campaign will be your absolute best value in advertising.
As well, you can also use the Google Display Network to place banners on tens of millions of websites and even YouTube. The Display Network can also be used for remarketing ads where you continue to advertise to recent visitors to your website while they are still in the decision-making process.
The challenge of Google Ads is that they can be quite difficult to set up, particularly in a competitive environment. Technically, the initial website is not that hard, but you’ll need to quickly be doing a better job of advertising and targeting than the folks you’re competing with or the ads may do rather poorly.
If you create videos for your business, you’ll definitely want a YouTube account. It’s considered the world’s “second largest search engine” and is great for exposure and discovery. Even if you don’t create videos, you can still create a company channel and aggregate public playlists of videos relevant to your customers, getting you some prominence and another link in the Google chain.
PRO TIP: It’s easy to embed your videos in your blog or news posts and get extra value from them, as well as helping ensure the account is clearly associated with your website in Google’s eyes.
While these are by no means all of the Google Tools, they are the common ones you’ll want to consider as part of your overall presence.
Google Account Strategy
Let me start by sharing what you DON’T want to do!
As an agency, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients’ Google setups. In most cases, you typically find that different Google accounts have been created with different email addresses and, quite often, it’s not even possible to get administrative access because it belongs to a defunct email address or signup.
This creates huge challenges in managing or integrating the accounts with one another (which you want/need to do with a majority of them).
On the flip side, it’s fairly easy to do it right in a way that will work for you for years to come:
- BEFORE signing up for accounts, create a brand new Gmail or Google Suite email address that will be used primarily for the purpose of administering Google accounts. This account should be accessible by someone senior/permanent in the company and you should store the credentials in a manner that it can always be accessed by the company.
- Use this “Admin” email as the account you use to sign up for all the Google accounts with (as the main admin “owner” of each one).
- If you’ve already set up some accounts, still do Step 1. After doing so, make sure that this new Admin is added as the owner of those accounts (you can leave the initial signup email as an administrator, just not the main administrator!)
NOTE: If you need to share access to this email, do it through a password manager like LastPass, rather than by sending someone else the password.
By following this simple process, you will:
- Have a sustainable setup where you’re not at risk of losing access to account.
- Have a setup that will allow you to integrate the accounts with each other. For example, to connect Google Ads and/or Google Search Console to Google Analytics, you need to be logged in as the Admin of all of them.
- Save yourself countless hassle and headaches down the road (trust us, we’ve felt the pain, even with some of our own accounts from when we first started out!).