Google is the number one site for traffic online today. Around 13 years old, Google has built up the company through a simple concept: give people what they want in the best way possible.

If you’ve ever really looked at Google, you know there are many ways to use it to help you build your business. And those ways keep growing as Google is trying harder to penetrate the local market. Whether you can help clients anywhere in the world, or need to build up a local market share, Google has a solution for you.

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Google AdWords
The quickest way to take advantage of what Google has to offer is by using Google AdWords. When you do a search, have you ever noticed the sponsored ads along the left side of the screen? Google AdWords allows you to be at the top of this list in a matter of minutes. The key here isn’t to think big; its about thinking small. If you choose to advertise under large words such as “wedding photography”, it will cost you a bundle of money. But if you choose words more discriminately, such as “Vail wedding photography” you can save money, and still come up under relevant terms people are actually searching for.

I never think of Google AdWords as my predominate form of advertising. Instead, I look at it as a quick way to gain coverage. It’s my supplement. Use Google AdWords and you can be on the first page of any search in a matter of minutes. It’s a great way to start showing people all about your business.

Google Natural Placement
If Google AdWords allows you to be placed on the sponsor side of search results, Google Natural Placement allows you to be at the top of a natural search result performed by your prospects and clients. Natural placement is so important because that’s what people rely on when they search. Statistics show that when someone performs a search, they prefer clicking on an item that appears in the natural results.

  • 41 percent will click on the number one ranked result
  • 12 percent will click on the number two ranked result
  • 8.5 percent will click on the number three ranked result

And it falls off from there. Think about your own search strategy. When you type something into Google, what do you click on at the results page? That’s where you want to be when your clients are searching as well. To learn even more about natural placement, I would suggest you read my SEO Primer For Photographers as a starting point.

Google Local
Ever wonder how companies get in the local listings that appear at the top of a local search, connected to the Google Map? They have a free Google Local account. Set up your account and put in your contact information. The more the better – this is an extension of your website, and your window to people looking to find local businesses on Google. Once you submit your information, it may take Google a week or two to rank you, but don’t stop there. Ask a few clients to put up a review – they will help you gravitate to the top of local results.

Google Coupons
Google also utilizes a coupon feed that will come up on search results. Google has several different ways of creating a coupon, and getting it directly into the feed – read more about Google Coupon here. While this may not be appropriate for all types of photography business, it may be worth a try.

Google Social
Have you noticed the flexibility in search results through Google lately? They love giving options. So on the first page, you may see Google Maps with links to a few local businesses, natural results, sponsored results, videos, blog posts, audio files and social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Why? Google wants to give you every option possible, and let you make a choice.

Because social is still in its infancy, creating a podcast or a video for YouTube can have a huge impact on your search status. How many YouTube videos are targeted towards baby portraits (or fill in your niche)?

Remember, what makes online marketing so successful is what you do today will stay online “forever”, and help you build your business over time by impacting your result status. It’s not like creating a postcard that is either used or thrown away. It will have impact on your business indefinitely. So it’s worth the time to create something new, and use it to help build your business.

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