Help Desk Hangouts: Adwords for video

Friday, June 1, 2012 | 8:45 AM

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Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we discussed video advertising using Adwords for video with Googlers Dori Storbeck, Courtney Pannell, Rob Warner, and Valentine Matrat. They taught us how AdWords for video can benefit business owners, how to set up and target campaigns, and how to collect metrics when evaluating your campaign’s performance. Missed the Hangout? Watch it on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel

Check out the video description for a minute-by-minute breakdown.


Here are a few of the questions you asked us to answer during the Hangout:

Is video advertising helpful for local businesses? Is there a way to choose people from a certain town or area?
Video advertising can be a huge help. Video helps increase awareness and create a relationship between the business and potential clients, ultimately reducing barriers to first-time visits and increasing chances for repeat visits to the store. Video advertising allows you to build a personality for your business and provide compelling arguments to your local audience as to why they should choose your business.

If you have a video you know you want to promote, is there a strategy for selecting which type of video ad format to choose or should you try all formats and evaluate performance?
We recommend that you always start with all four video ad formats. You want your ads to achieve a balance between engagement and traffic to your videos. In general, the best format for driving traffic to your site and brand awareness is the in-stream format (it also tends to be the cheapest). That being said, starting out with all four ad formats will allow you to make better informed decisions for your needs.

Is there a time limit or minimum time that a video must be in order to be a TrueView ad?

Your video ad can be any length, but you don’t want it to be too short or too long. We’ve found that the optimal time for a video ad is between 30 seconds to a minute and a half, which allows you enough time to market your business and help you stand out from the competition, but not too long that users lose interest and skip your ad. Here’s a tip: Try to get the main point of your messaging at the beginning of the video so that you capture the audience’s attention.

Can you use annotations offered by YouTube videos in your AdWords video ads?
The annotations that you set up on your video from your YouTube account will show on your video when it plays as a TrueView in-search or TrueView in-display format. However, it does not currently show when your ad plays as a TrueView in-stream ad.

Is analytics data provided for video ads?
You will get detailed performance reporting and video analytics data from the AdWords for video interface in your AdWords account. You should also check out the YouTube Analytics tool, found within your YouTube account. YouTube Analytics is a great resource for businesses on YouTube because you can access a rich set of data about who is watching your videos.

YouTube Analytics can capture the following data and more:
  • Chronological and geographic distribution of your views.
  • Demographic data about your viewers, which provides age and gender distributions.
  • Traffic sources data that allows you to determine what external sites and YouTube features are generating traffic for your videos. This will help you determine how many views are generated by your TrueView ads vs other sources of traffic.
You can find more information on YouTube Analytics in the Help Center.

To learn more about how to get started with the Display Network, visit our Help Center or check out the AdWords Community forum. And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout at 11 a.m. PT Wednesday June 6 — topic to be announced on the Google+ Your Business page early next week!

Posted by Dori Storbeck and Courtney Pannell, Global Online Advertising Associates

Webmaster Academy: How Search Works

Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 9:17 AM

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Many of the questions we get from webmasters boil down to “How does Google work?” What most webmasters are really asking is, how do I get my site to appear in search results? The first step of this answer is that your site needs to be discovered and comprehended by search engines, and understanding the fundamentals of how search works will help with this.

Google has lots of computers that continually visit and analyze web pages it knows about. These computers are collectively known as Googlebot. We give Googlebot an initial set of sites, then send it out to visit those sites. It scans the content, and then follows links to other sites or pages that it finds. It then repeats the process on each page it lands on, and continues to spider out, hence the term "spidering" or "crawling" many use to refer to a search engine's discovery process.

When Googlebot visits a webpage, it downloads and stores a copy (called a “cached” page) to our index. It analyzes each page, noting the words and any other relevant content. Googlebot understands some types of content, like text, better than others, like images or Flash (you can find some ways to make these better understood in Webmaster Academy). In order to perform well when customers search for you, it’s important that Googlebot can access and understand the content of your website.

Each time someone searches on Google, our ranking algorithms draw up a list of relevant webpages from the index of information that Googlebot has saved while “crawling” the web. This list is given back as the Google Search results page. To see if your website is included in Google’s index, you can use the site search operator, restricting search results to your site’s domain. For example a search for [site:youtube.com] would only show results from the website youtube.com.

For a more visual look at Google Search, check out the How Search Works video below:

If you’re interested, there’s a lot more to learn that’ll help you build your online presence at the Webmaster Academy. In our next post, we’ll explain best practices for brick and mortar business owners.

Posted by Garen Checkly, Search Quality Team

Helping people discover and share local businesses with Google+

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | 6:24 AM

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When a business owner's hard work and passion are celebrated and shared by customers, a humble space can become more than just bricks and mortar, but a favorite spot, a local landmark, or a meaningful memory.

With the release of Google+ Local, rolling out today, we are bringing the community of Google+ to local business owners around the world. We aim to improve the way people discover new businesses, rediscover places they love, and share them with their friends across the web.

Simple experience for your customers
The first thing you’ll notice is the new layout and design for the listing for your business. All your basic business information is still available. And by streamlining the layout and putting more focus on photos and reviews, we hope to help you highlight what makes your business truly unique.


                   

Helping people find, rate and share your business
With these updates, we’re connecting the millions of people on Google+ to local businesses around the world. With one listing, your business can now be found across Google search, maps, mobile and Google+, and your customers can easily recommend your business to their friends, or tell the world about it with a review.

Integrated Zagat reviews
For years, Zagat has provided trustworthy, concise, user-generated reviews, and we are excited to bring these to Google+ Local. We’ve also updated our scoring system to Zagat’s time-tested 30-point scale, so that users can better share their view about what makes a place unique.

Continue to manage through Google Places for Business
If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing.

More changes coming soon for business owners
We know many of you have already created a Google+ Page for your business, and have been hosting hangouts and sharing photos, videos and posts. We’re excited that we’ll soon extend these social experiences to more local Google+ pages in the weeks and months ahead. To give you a sense of what’s coming, we've worked with a few business owners to fully upgrade their listings early and share their Google+ business identity across Search, Maps and Mobile.


If you don’t yet have a Google+ Page for your business, we encourage you to create one now. And if you do already have one, hold tight for news on how to get it linked to your local listing. Follow our blog, or our Google+ page, for additional updates.

Posted by Jen Fitzpatrick, VP Engineering

Helping you grow your business, one post at a time

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | 2:03 PM

The Google Small Business blog has been around for a couple years now. Some things have changed since we first started, but the idea has always been to introduce business owners to Google tools and tips that help them grow their businesses and run them more effectively.

But we got to thinking - the name “Google Small Business Blog” doesn’t really capture what we’re trying to achieve anymore. OK, the words “Google” and “business” were pretty good, but these days no one is really small anymore. Our blog is really about bringing you the stories, best practices and updates that can help you make the web work for your business, and we wanted to emphasize that.

With that in mind we’d like to introduce the new Google and Your Business blog, here at googleandyourbusiness.blogspot.com. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date about new tools, product news and general tips to help you grow your business.

Posted by Vicky Tait, Google and Your Business Blog Team

Help Desk Hangout: Learn about Google Earth Pro

Friday, May 25, 2012 | 4:36 PM


Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, Google Earth experts +Dan Cohen and +Alex Kain taught us how your business can use Earth Pro to help you visualize your company’s data. Missed it? You can watch the full hour-long Hangout on the Google Business YouTube channel (look for the minute-by-minute breakdown in the description so you can easily skip around):



Here are a few of the questions you asked us to answer during the Hangout:

What is Google Earth?
Google Earth’s client software that's used primarily as a visualization tool. You may have even used it once or twice to swoop in to the globe and check out your house! And Earth Pro is a professional product with a few additional features you can use, which we dive deeper into during the Hangout.

What are some features of Earth Pro that can help my business?

A ton! Let’s break this down into the highlights:

  • Advanced measuring tools: Quickly and easily measure and stylize complex polygons. Property developers and building designers can quickly estimate the area and perimeter of a property. Afterward, they can quickly stylize the polygon so it’s easily seen on their map.
  • Save premium imagery: Save premium images of the maps you create in Earth Pro for inclusion in your business materials. Save a premium image of all your customer locations to share with your investors.
  • Bulk data import: Import and stylize CSV files (with address or lat/long data), GIS shapefiles, or GPS data to include in the maps you create. Real estate agents quickly upload and locate all the properties in their portfolios by importing CSV files containing the addresses of their properties.
  • U.S. premium data layers: Take advantage of the robust U.S. Demographic, Parcel and Traffic Count data layers that are a part of the Earth Pro package. Architects fly to the location of their next project, use the parcel data layer to find the parcel number, and use the parcel number to find the zoning restrictions for the property they’ll be working on.
  • Movie Maker: Quickly and easily create high-definition movies. Nature touring companies create high-definition videos using Earth Pro that take you along the path of their tours.

Do I have to commit to buying Earth Pro upfront? 
Nope — just sign up for a free seven-day trial to see how you like it.

To learn more about how to get started with Google Earth Pro, check out our overview site (FAQs, customer stories, and more!). And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout at 11 a.m. PT Wednesday May 30 when we teach you more about AdWords.

Posted by Vanessa Schneider, Google Places community manager

Small businesses talk about growing online

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 9:03 AM

With so much advice about what businesses should be doing online and not always enough time to sort through it all, sometimes the most useful thing is to hear from someone that’s doing it right.

Recently in Detroit, Accelerate with Google was proud to take the stage with several local small business leaders for a panel discussion on growing businesses and relationships online. Joined by 80 other Detroit-area businesses at the Michigan Minority Procurement Conference, the panelists shared stories of their successes and challenges forming relationships in the digital age.

Google has worked with these businesses to help them grow their presence online, and they’ve really embraced a digital-first strategy to finding new customers. Here are some of their tips:

Amy Courter, Chief Information Officer, VisionIT
“A good starting point is to first define and align your strategy for being online. Determine your goals, audience, message and interaction. For VisionIT, our roots were in web development and part of this industry requires us to continually evaluate our online presence. The new age of marketing is about building brand, interest and awareness through customer loyalty and adding value for the consumer. As traditional models lose their efficacy, and inbound marketing gains popularity, we learn that it’s more important to earn people’s interest, instead of buying and forcing it.”

Leah Fairman, Director of Sales, Corporate Snobs
“Having an online presence has opened many doors for our company. We have been able to capture a particular market share in our business that our local competitors haven't due to a lack of their online presence. Getting noticed when your customers are looking for your products and services speaks volumes for your company. It sends the message that you are serious about your business, trustworthy and in tune with current technology. This makes you a serious player in your industry.”

Linzie Venegas, Chief Marketing Officer, Ideal Shield
“The most important thing that I have learned since I have moved to online space is that you must put someone in charge; this person must continuously evaluate your website as well as website presence. I have also learned that it is important to adapt to new technology. For instance, we are looking to move to Google Apps for Business, and this will save our company money and allow our IT people to work more efficiently.”

Later this week, another group of entrepreneurs we admire – some of the startup founders from the NewMe Accelerator – will sit down at Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and share their wisdom on growing their internet businesses. Google will also be there to share classroom-style workshops staffed by our team on how to grow and promote your business online, and mastering search engine strategies. The Entrepreneurs Conference has been a great venue every year for entrepreneurs to network and find successful strategies for growth, and we are looking forward to meeting some of you there!

Posted by Chris Genteel, Business Development Manager - Global Diversity

Introducing the Webmaster Academy

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 3:51 PM

As more and more customers are searching for products and services online, it’s important for businesses to have an established presence on the Internet. We’ve heard a lot of business owners say they’d like to learn how to do this, so we are excited to announce Webmaster Academy. Webmaster Academy will walk you through the information you need to get your site up and running with Google in easy to understand steps.

For example, the Academy has information about how Google Search works and how to create a great website for your users, along with information on how to use great (and free!) diagnostic tools such as Webmaster Tools. It’s divided up into easy, short lessons so you can track your progress. At the end of every lesson you’ll be one step closer to having a great website.

Stay tuned here for upcoming posts from the Webmaster Academy, including topics like:

  • An explanation of how Google Search works (get a sneak peek by watching this video)
  • How best to represent a brick and mortar business online
  • An introduction to Search Engine Optimization

We’re excited to share more with business owners of all sizes. Be sure to check out the Webmaster Academy and spend some time exploring!

Posted by Garen Checkly, Search Quality Team