Google is well aware of how much effect it has on small businesses. Not only do businesses of all sizes serve ads to millions of people every day through Google’s platform, but the search engine is how many people find a small business in the first place.
The Silicon Valley giant knows that when small businesses succeed using Google, Google succeeds, too. They have a well of resources for small businesses that you may not be using.
Many of the educational resources and features are free. Advertising on Google, of course, costs money, but the company has made efforts to bring more small businesses online, especially for traditionally underserved demographics.
Google Small Business Blog
Considering it actually owns Blogger, you can trust that Google has maintained a few great blogs of its own.
The Google Small Business blog has been online since 2010 and has some great content for small businesses attempting to succeed in the digital space. Though it isn’t updated constantly, the blog consistently features usable, interesting information beyond press releases or company updates.
Several times a year, Google hosts livestreams and webinars on small business topics, like getting your store ready for the holiday shopping season or finding local customers online. These online events often have a real-world element, like a viewing party with other local small businesses, which is great for building partnerships.
Google even hosts a “Small Business Summer School” workshop each July through the blog.
Google My Business
In May 2018, the company launched “Google My Business,” a free feature that gives businesses the ability to partly control their image on Google.
Between faulty algorithms and misguided user edits over the years, many businesses have been misrepresented on Google. Perhaps a blurry photo of a shabby exterior pops up as the first image Google searchers see or business hours are wrong. This misinformation can create confusion and annoyance for potential customers.
With Google My Business, you can edit your business’ images, open hours, and contact information.
“Your Business Profile appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps,” explains Google. “Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your Business Profile — so you can stand out, and bring customers in.”
You can even entice users with new product information or short term deals. It can take some sustained time and effort, but this feature that gives you the ability to take the reins of your online visibility is a pretty powerful tool, especially for free.
Accelerate with Google
Several years ago, Google launched “Accelerate with Google” specifically to boost underserved business communities across the globe. The initiative aims to help small businesses in both urban and rural settings, pretty much any place where online access has been limited in the past.
“To help people with unequal access to technology get started and accelerate growth in today’s digital economy, we provide success stories, resources, and free programs driven by Googlers and designed for communities who are currently underrepresented online,” Google said in its mission statement.
The website features online lessons about marketing, measuring analytics, and even using artificial intelligence. Through Accelerate, you can meet other entrepreneurs and learn about becoming a supplier to Google through its recent diversity initiatives. The feature has additional resources for veterans, too.
Small business coaching
One of the most successful aspects of Accelerate so far has been its small business coaching. Google has small business coaches in cities across the United States. Some 15,000 small business owners are already taking advantage of this service.
These local coaches help small business owners understand how best to use online tools to grow their business.
“For us, the coaches are the experts in their field,” Google’s Global Manager of External Community Affairs and Digital Coaches Program Lead Daraiha Greene told Forbes. “They’re in the community, and they’re doing the work every single day. So we really saw the value in hiring a vendor.”
Website creation, AdWords, and YouTube video ads
For years, Google has offered advertising and other services scaled to serve small businesses. You can buy a domain name for your business through Google Domains, or start creating blog content for your business through Blogger for free. The company also has the free Google Web Designer, which can be used to create beautiful HTML5 online ads.
Google Ads is the company’s stalwart advertising service. Google does a pretty good job of allowing small business owners to create advertising campaigns for a variety of budgets, ranging from a few bucks to the millions of dollars.