What I Learned at Google’s Let’s Put Our Cities On The Map Event
Last Thursday I attended the San Diego Google event, “Let’s Put Our Cities On The Map”. The 3 hour event was complimentary for business owners and took place at Liberty Station. Google created this event to help strengthen communities by connecting local businesses and customers so we can easily support each other. They realize how vital local business owners are to the economy and want to make sure we have all the tools to succeed at our disposal. I learned about the event through the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, but I did not feel like the event was heavily promoted outside of various chambers in San Diego County based on a lower than expected attendance and the amount of people who told me they wished they knew about the event after they saw me post a photo of being there.
The event began with networking and breakfast in the Google Microkitchen. Then we were led to our seats. Each seat had a laptop that was fully connected to wifi. I appreciated this because it allowed us to complete things that were being recommended right then and there. I often host hands on workshops for my business so it was nice to attend one where my intention was to learn.
There were several topics covered at the workshop including:
- Be Found on Google
- Get Unique Insights
- Be More Productive
Despite the low turnout, I found the event to be quite valuable. Since most of you were unable to attend, I want to share the top 5 things I learned that I feel will be helpful for your business. Some of these tips are basic, but they are still great reminders and since they are coming directly from Google, you can bet they focus on improving your search results. I’m presenting what I learned in a Q & A format so you know exactly what questions are being answered.
1. How do I create more content with keywords without actually repeating the keywords over and over again?
Name your photos- This is an easy to implement tip that most people ignore or don’t know about. When using photos on your website, blog or social media, take advantage of the search optimization you can create on photos by naming the photo. By default, most photos are saved under a random number or letter combination such as “IMG_9499.jpg”. Rename the photo to include keywords for your business, what the photo actually is or the event it’s taking places at. This way, it will show up on Google’s Image search and be an additional resource for keywords on your website. For example, I renamed the first photo on this blog post “Marketing Melodie at Google Let’s Put Our Cities on The Map Event.jpg”. If you are selling products, make sure name the photo the actual name of the product you want people to search for.
2. How do I know who’s talking about my business online?
Set up Google Alerts- Monitor the web for interesting new content related to your business and brand. What does this mean? Say you set up a Google Alert for your business. Any time, your company name is mentioned online, you will receive a notification (I this up to get notified by email). This allows you to know who is posting about your brand. If someone says something positive about your business, you can reach out and thank them, perhaps even create opportunities for them to become an ambassador for your company. If someone says something negative, you’ll know about it and can respond accordingly. If you have competitors you want to keep an eye out for, you can set a Google Alert for your competitor’s brand to learn about the sentiment happening around their company too.
3. How can I make sure my homepage and website show up on search results?
Use 250 words on your home page and include keywords- Stick to around 250 words on your home page and make sure you include all of your top keywords. The keywords are extremely important to have on your home page to improve search results. The 250 words can be your welcome message or description of your company.
4. How do I make sure my brand new website is found?
Publish your website even before it’s ready- Google made it very clear that the age of your site matters in search engine rankings. The longer your website has been around, the more authority it has. For anyone who is building a new website, it is recommended that you publish the website even if it’s not ready. When you first publish a website it takes time to be recognized by search engines, so this gives you time to finish your website while it’s gaining authority from being around longer. Most people don’t want to publish a website that is “Under Construction”. However, since you won’t be promoting the website yet, no one will see it or find any time soon. It does however look favorable to search engines that you are constantly updating the site with new information as you get it ready for a full launch. Again, there are many objections to this one but straight from the mouth of Google employees who know how to get your website found, publish your website asap even if it’s not complete!
5. How do I make sure I come up in local searches if I don’t list my address because I work from home?
Here’s how to list your business for local search if you don’t have a storefront- Many of you, like myself have a service based business without a storefront. Perhaps you work from home or at a location you don’t want to list because you don’t actually service clients there. Does this mean you lose out on local search opportunities? Nope! When listing the address for your Google business page, make sure to check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”. Then put a radius around your zip code with no more than 50 miles. This ensures that your address is hidden, but you also will come up in local search results near your zipcode. Even if you service customers nationwide, it’s still important to have a local presence. With this option, you can do just that!
I will do my best to keep you posted about events like this in the future in my Marketing Your Way to Success Newsletter. To make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up here (enter your email on the right) or leave me a comment with your email. Your email will be hidden from the public if you enter it before leaving a comment. Oh and if you learned even just 1 new tip to grow your business from reading this, then I’ve done my job.