Should you opt for Google Ads after verifying your small business on Google My Business? Will Google advertising help your niche?
Google Ads is the largest and most widely used online advertising platform for businesses. But is it right for everyone? To understand what you’re getting yourself in for, let’s take each topic into consideration.
WHAT IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?
Google My Business is a free tool helping small businesses manage their Google listings on Google Search and Maps. It helps your small business to reach the target audience and share information about the niche you’re specialising in.
Here’s an example of a restaurant, Houlihan’s Cranberry on Google My Business. It uses Google My Business post to promote their email list via a ‘Sign Up’ Call-To-Action button.
Another restaurant, The Capital Grille, promoted their ‘Summer Wine Event’ with an event post and a ‘Learn more’ CTA button.
Now, a question arises as to: Why is it important for your business to list on Google Search or Maps?
Today, 3 out of 4 shoppers search online in order to find a business Moreover, 7 out of 10 shoppers make purchases from businesses they find online, using a search engine. Thus, by listing your business on Google, you will be able to get in touch with interested and potential customers.
Millions of businesses are connecting their customers on Google Maps today. For example, below we can see a Google My Business account in action. It is an Oxford based SEO Consultancy appearing in Map Pack results.
Now, from here, potential customers can see a lot of information regarding:
- Business opening hours
- Contact details
- Details of products and services offered
- Relevant images or examples of work
- Customer Reviews (very helpful for potential customers and your business as well)
- Business updates
Thus, getting your business to Google My Business can help to drive interested customers to your store, through the searches carried out in both Google Maps and Google Search.
Now that you know, ‘what it is’, we’ll jump on to ‘how you can list your business on Google’. Here are 4 simple steps you can go about with:
- Go to Google My Business 🡪 Sign up 🡪 Create a new listing.
- Enter the name and address of your business in the search box and select a listing (if it pops up) or you can go ahead and create a new one, providing the necessary information.
- Google will then verify your business. This may take a few weeks. After which you’ll be provided with a verification PIN.
- Complete verification and start producing content for your potential customers.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS TO YOUR BENEFIT:
Here are some ways you can optimize your business listing and target the right audience:
- Claim your Google My Business listing: Check if your business shows up on local listings by making a Google Search. You can then take the next step of claiming your business listing and verifying that you’re the owner.
- Set up a Complete Profile: Make sure that your Google My Business page features important business information such as contact information, address, opening hours and website.
Here’s an example of Annex Vintage with a complete profile, offering all the necessary information.
- Have Customer Reviews: 90% buyers have said that having positive reviews was a crucial factor in making purchases from a particular business. Thus, ask your customers to share reviews on Google and attract more of them.
- Add relevant Pictures: Customers will then have a clear idea of what your business provides. If their interest matches yours, you’ve got a new client at your doorstep!
But hey! Do you think it’s so easy? Billions of people are wanting to know ‘something’ from the Google Search bar. On a daily basis, there are nearly 5.6 billion searches on Google. No matter whatever your business is focused in, some of these searches were definitely looking for the service your business provides.
Will they come crawling to you? Nah, you’re competing with nearly two billion other websites across the globe. Then, how can you get Google to rank you #1 or for that matter, to rank you on its first page?
How can this guide help you in selecting the best digital marketing course?
What’s available online?
The regular online digital marketing courses that appear on your quick Google search usually offer you –
- 20-50 hours of video-based training (pre-recorded videos).
- Quizzes to assess your learning.
- Downloadable checklist and notes.
- Access to a community on
- Assured updates along the way.
- Lifetime access to the course content.
ORGANIC SEARCH: The First Way to go!
Google provides relevant answers to all your searches. The mastermind behind this is Google’s algorithm, which undertakes a change on a regular basis. Thus, you cannot study the algorithm and implement it. It may work for you now. However, it’ll be aloof to you in a few days. It is too mysterious to play with!
So, in order to dominate Google’s organic searches, you need to have an upper hand on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This will help you to rank higher, thus attracting more traffic and conversions.
BUT, there’s still a possibility of you not appearing at the top of the first page on Google (even after outsourcing the work to an SEO expert). Why is this happening then?
PAID SEARCH: The Second Way to go!
Remember that Google is also a business which needs to make profit. Whenever Google identifies a search having a commercial intent, it displays up to four ads at the top of the page. Thus, pushing down any of the organic results. This is why your organic results may not be at the top.
Now, how will Google identify this ‘commercial intent’. No worries, Google is way smarter than you take it to be.
Supposing you search for “best yoga positions”, Google will take a guess that you want to learn about the most effective yoga positions and display the results.
On the other hand, if you search for “best yoga mats”, Google will assume that your current map is not serving the purpose and will display results (ads) showing where you can replace it or buy a new one.
Moreover, Google will also identify relevant local results and push down the organic results furthermore. Not forgetting that you’re competing with million other businesses too, there’s a high chance of you not being on the first page at all.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO APPEAR AT THE TOP OF A GIVEN SEARCH?
Whenever a customer does a Google Search having a commercial intent, the results are split into two categories: organic and pay per click (PPC) placements. This is the hierarchy which Google follows while listing:
- Paid Search results;
- Local Search results;
- Organic Search results.
Do you know that 3 out of 4 people never visit page 2 of Google Search results? Thus, diminishing the chances of organic results to show up.
So, will it be profitable to go about Google advertising? Will Google Ads help your business to grow and reach a greater audience? More importantly, are Google Ads worth it? Let’s analyse and find answers to these questions.
ARE GOOGLE ADS WORTH IT?:
Google Ads is a pay-per-click platform which allows you to place ads for your website for a specific keyword (related to your niche) on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). PPC ads appear right at the start of any Google Search result and you’ve to pay for them, if and only if, customers click on your ads.
In other words, Google Ads is Google’s paid advertising product to advertise your business on Google. This definitely sounds like a great opportunity to dive into it and expand your business. After all, people are always on Google, they’ll catch your ad, head to your site and you’ll gain many more customers. Is it that easy?
Now, here’s the catch. Google has two campaigns in particular: Google Ads Smart mode (formerly known as Google Ads Express mode) and Expert mode.
Which one is better? What is the difference between the two?
GOOGLE ADS SMART V/S EXPERT MODE:
SMART MODE: (NOT RECOMMENDED)
The Smart Mode is a very striped-down version of Google Ads (Expert Mode). Recommending Smart mode to a novice user isn’t a good idea as well. You’ll certainly be wasting your money.
Once you start with Google Ads, you’ve a simple procedure to follow that ends with entering credit card information. You’ve to fill out the following:
- Your target audience information
- Ad creation
- Payment method
Then, you’ll be drifted towards the Google Ads Smart interface. Here,
- The interface will show good information, but it will be very vague and unreliable.
- It provides so much less than what the Expert mode has for you.
- You can switch to Expert mode from here. Just click on the ‘Settings’ option in the top right-hand corner of the interface and then select ‘Switch to Expert Mode’.
EXPERT MODE: (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Here are some of the most important features of the Expert Mode, making it more reliable than the Smart version:
- Keyword Match Types:
- Broad: This is used in the Smart mode as well, thus allowing your ads to appear for a lot of irrelevant things. For example, if you’re bidding on “laptops”, then a broad match will make you appear for anything including the word ‘laptops’. For anything which Google thinks is somewhat related, your ad will show up. This isn’t a good way to go about it and would not do a good job.
- Phrase: This match will let you appear for phrases that include your targeted phrase. For example, if you bid on “yoga positions”, then you might appear for ‘effective yoga positions to cure PCOD’.
- Exact: This will allow your ads to appear only for a specific keyword. To make your keywords an exact match, put brackets around your keyword/search phrase while entering them. For example, if you bid on “graphic design”, then that will be the only keyword for which your ad will appear.
- The use of your bid strategy will greatly depend on your campaign and the time period you’ve been running it. This feature helps you in several ways as to getting more clicks, more appearances and conversions. Moreover, it will also help you leverage Google’s intelligence.
- For any campaign you’re running right now, with a goal of elevating conversions, you should first get the account running well with Manual or Automated CPC and also set a maximum bid limit.
The moment your account starts generating conversions consistently, you may then switch to the ‘maximize conversions’ strategy. Now, Google will use its technology in placing your ads appropriately, where you’re more likely to convert.
Extensions usually help your ads to expand. You can place a phone button and also provide your location in your ads. In addition to that, you can create sitelinks which would occupy more space in the search results.
Using these tips will make your ad more noticeable, more visible to the eye and will communicate more to your customer.
After covering up both the modes, could you decide what’s good for your business. If you could, well done! If you couldn’t, no worries!
To help you out, we’ll now take a look at the pros and cons of using Google Ads. This will certainly clear all your doubts.
- You can target the right audience:
If I want to buy a sofa, I’ll just type in “buy sofa online” into the Google Search Bar. Now, on the SERP, I’ll see a variety of relevant Google Ad links to furniture websites having sofas for sale before the organic results. I’ll click on one of the ads and start shopping.
Thus, targeting the right audience is the biggest advantage of Google Ads. Therefore, it’s imperative to bid on the right keywords for your business.
- You can focus on Local markets:
You can take great advantage of Google Ads if you’re a local business having an online presence. Statistics have shown that 72% of the people who perform a Google Search, have ended up visiting a store within five miles of their location.
Here’s an example of a local restaurant in Michigan city, Hammer’s Restaurant. You can clearly see how well maintained their Google My Business Page Account is, with all the relevant information from address, contact details, their website to a classy description of their cuisine.
They’ve also posted some beautiful photos of both their dishes and customer reviews.
Thus, local Google Ad campaigns can be efficient in attracting potential customers in the vicinity of your place of business. Moreover, by using a local range to limit your keyword, you’re avoiding competition with international brands and driving your focus on local audiences.
By using very specific keywords, you’ll be able to reach your audience in a more targeted way and can lower the cost of your ad as well. For example, if you live in Tampa, Florida and sell supplies to trained dogs. Now, if you bid on a keyword like ‘pet supplies’, you’ll find it to be very expensive for two specific reasons.
- You’re competing with the sellers of all kinds of pet supplies.
- Your competition is worldwide across the globe.
However, if you bid on ‘dog training supplies in Tampa’, you’ll get your ad at a much lower cost.
- You can track your Progress:
Google Analytics is a free tool which would serve the purpose. It would also help you to improve conversions on PPC ads.
Google Ads provides you with statistics, covering up everything from the average cost per click to the conversion rate. One very important feature of Google Ads is its ability to track ROI (Return On Investment).
- You can get Quick Results:
You need to religiously follow the following steps for instantaneous results:
- Set up your campaign,
- Enter your target keywords,
- Select your daily budget,
- Create ad messaging.
And that’s it. There’s even a possibility of generating sales from your campaign on the day you launch it. On the other hand, other approaches like SEO would take a long time to be functional.
However, all these advantages come at the cost of a huge budget. Will your small business cater to the cost? Will you waste a lot of money by investing in Google My Business Ads? So, let’s look at the cons of using Google My Business Ads.
- It isn’t easy to work with:
If you’re just starting, then navigating the tool can be complicated and tedious. You need to understand many concepts like:
- How does bidding work?
- Which keywords would potentially target the right audience?
- How do you monitor your ads?
- You also need to invest time in monitoring the performance of your ads and making adjustments whenever needed.
These concepts are very important in managing your ad campaign, otherwise you might end up wasting a lot of money.
- Keyword Pricing can take a toll on your budget:
Pricing is largely influenced by your competition. If more people are competing for the same keyword, then the bid will also be higher for that keyword. If your competitors’ business decides to increase their bid on keywords you’re targeting at, then you need to up your budget game in order to show up frequently.
So, if you’re on a low budget, you can just avoid competing with larger companies and focus on local keywords.
- You have to Pay for Clicks:
We know that Google PPC is advantageous for your business to expand. But not all the time! Remember that when someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay Google regardless of a sale being made or not.
This will be a big issue, wasting a lot of money if you would have visitors just browsing the web with no intention of investing in your service.
- It’s Hard to Compete with Large Companies:
Google Ads falls a bit on the expensive side, thus small businesses and startups find it difficult to compete with larger companies. Moreover, Robert Kenny also went on writing an article on the same called “Google AdWords – Destroyer of Small Business”.
Kenny believes that initially Google AdWords was an effective and growing platform for small businesses. However, later AdWords shifted to a pricey side, now known as Google Ads.
On the other hand, established companies have a consistent cash flow and can afford to invest over $400,000 per month on an AdWords campaign. However, this isn’t the case for a small business or startup. By the time a new startup launches, all of their relevant keywords would’ve been already taken. Thus, raising the price furthermore.
For example, big companies like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder already locked down terms like “moisturizer”. This means a startup would have to spend $8 or $10 per click for that term, which is certainly too much for a startup to spend while competing with larger companies.
- It won’t fit right into your niche
Don’t be under the impression that your services will reach interested, potential customers by merely working with the largest search engine in the world. Google Ads can be broad in general and not that relevant.
- It’s imperative to understand that Google Ads is a great platform to enhance your business’s reach. However, it can take a toll on your budget, if you’re competing with larger companies.
- The Smart mode doesn’t give you more control over the account. You’re restrained from using many useful features which would increase ad exposure and save money.
- Thus, opting for Expert Mode is highly recommended. However, as you’re competing with many, you need to do it right. Thus, outsourcing this to a professional agency would yield good results for your business.