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Updated Jul 08, 2024

Google for Business: A Small Business Guide

Learn how this handy suite of tools can benefit your company.

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Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
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Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

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From calendars and email to business profiles and maps, Google helps you run your business efficiently and establish an online presence. Google for Small Business is the umbrella portal that explains how to use its suite of tools to establish and enhance your online presence.

Google has partnered with thousands of cities and local organizations to help businesses build their websites, stay on top of Google search results and be seen by customers. Here’s how Google’s solutions can help your business and how to get started.

Google Business Profile

If you’re a small business owner, a potential customer’s first exposure to your company is likely through a Google search. Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, gives them something to find.

What is Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profile is a business tool that helps companies establish themselves as an entity in the Google universe. A Google Business Profile allows you to appear in search and map results when someone searches for your business type locally. It also allows customers to leave Google reviews of your business, which goes a long way toward building your company’s credibility and generating leads. 

“[It] is a great starting point for a small business as it’s simple to set up and free too,” explained Ryan Scollon, a pay-per-click consultant. “It allows you to [appear] in the local/map results on a Google search results page when people are looking for a local service or business. It also allows you to show business opening hours, contact details and even directions to your place of work should people need to visit you.”

You’ll need to create or claim your Google Business Profile to take advantage of this service.

Benefits of Google Business Profile

In the past, a Google Business Profile gave businesses a competitive advantage. Today, not having one gives you a marked disadvantage. Here are some of the benefits of establishing your Google Business Profile:

  • Enhancing customer communication: You can tell potential customers about what you do, where you’re located, when you’re open, how others feel about you and anything else you want to share. You can also keep contacts informed by sharing status updates, photos, videos and links. 
  • Fostering repeat business and loyalty: You can build a following and keep customers coming back with news updates, event announcements, special offers, loyalty program enhancements and discounts. 
  • Improving your reputation: You can show your high level of customer care by viewing and responding to online reviews and answering customer questions. 

When the coronavirus hit, Google expanded its business profile section so companies could post pandemic-related changes, such as different hours of operation and service changes like curbside pickup or takeout only for restaurants. This experience demonstrated how useful a Google Business Profile can be when you need to communicate with customers.

Prepare your business for the holiday shopping season by posting your holiday hours, special events, new product presales, discounts and more on your Google Business Profile.

Google Maps and search

A Google business listing will allow others to find your company on Google Maps. You’ll also rank higher in Google search results, making it easier for customers to find directions, hours and contact information for your business, whether they’re searching on their computers or mobile devices. 

Google posts

You can share content directly on Google via your Google Business Profile by following these steps:

  1. Search for your company’s name on Google and go to your business profile. 
  2. Select Add update.
  3. Select the type of post you want to make and complete the dialog box prompts.
  4. Select an option to preview or publish your post.

Anyone searching for you or your business will have access to your posts. You can share pictures, videos, GIFs and event announcements. Setup is quick and simple.

Google Local Services Ads

Google Local Services Ads are local ads that appear when people in your area search for the services you offer. Unlike Google Ads, you only pay for Google Local Services Ads when a customer calls or messages your business directly through the ad, making it an excellent tool for lead generation.

Service-based businesses can get a Google Guaranteed badge by passing a series of screening and verification steps. The badge shows customers that Google has verified your business and backs your services. Professionals, such as lawyers and consultants, can get a Google Screened badge, showing that Google has verified their background and vouches for their expertise.

To begin using this service, tell Google how many leads you would like to get per week and set up your ad budget. These simple ads include the company’s name, the average number of stars from Google reviews and a few other words. Google will display your ad in accordance with the budget at the top of its search results, along with two or three competing companies.

Customers can reach you by selecting the ad and sending a direct message or by calling you. When your business receives phone calls through these ads, it’s crucial to have a live human answering, not a voicemail. If a person doesn’t answer calls, Google will reduce the number of times your ad appears. Having many good Google reviews also helps with your ad exposure. 

FYIDid you know
Google Local Services Ads are a significant lead source for many small businesses.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that helps you measure traffic and track website visitor behavior to determine what is — and isn’t — helping your website meet its goals. It shows various visitor metrics, such as audience engagement, mobile and social media traffic and bounce rates (the rate at which visitors stay on your website or move among pages). It also includes referral traffic information (where your traffic is coming from) to help you gauge whether your marketing campaigns are working and how they could improve. This is all valuable information about your target audience

“Google offers free certifications for business owners interested in leveraging the gold mine of data that comes from using this tool,” noted Jeanette Guardiola-Woods, design strategist and CEO of Sketch and Form.

Once you learn how to use Google Analytics, you can discover your customers’ geographical locations, other sites they’ve visited, what kind of devices they use, whether they completed a call to action on your site and which pages of the site they are abandoning the most.

“The real value in this data is that it allows you to target your customer more specifically, fix areas of your site that need to be optimized and track successful events,” Guardiola-Woods explained. 

Did You Know?Did you know
You can set up custom alerts within Google Analytics to notify you of fluctuations in your sales analytics data, including website traffic, interactions and conversions.

Google Workspace

You don’t need expensive productivity solutions to support your operations. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is an affordable alternative with a streamlined suite of web-based office applications and cloud storage and collaboration services. It consists of Gmail, Calendar and Drive, which includes the office apps Docs, Sheets and Slides. These platforms offer desktop and mobile access, offline support and Google-backed security.

Google Workspace starts at $6 per user, per month. The basic plan includes 30GB of storage for each user. The higher plans, for $12 or $18 per month, include 2TB and 5TB of storage, respectively. There is also an enterprise plan with an option for more storage. For that plan, you must contact the Google sales team for specific pricing information.

Here’s some more information about Google Workspace’s applications:

  • Gmail: If you love Gmail’s business features, you’ll appreciate that Google Workspace lets you access your business email on the Gmail platform but without the extension. You can use a custom email address with your business’s domain, such as This version of Gmail comes with 2TB of storage per user, Google’s search and security features and integration with Calendar.
  • Google Calendar: As its name implies, Google Calendar lets you manage your schedule and organize events. Features include meeting reminders and calendar sharing so you can see when team members are busy or free. Additionally, you can attach documents to events and embed event calendars on your company website, allowing clients to set up appointments instantly.
  • Google Drive: This cloud storage and collaboration platform helps you and your team store, share and edit files in real time over the web. Drive includes full-featured productivity apps, including Docs (word processor), Sheets (spreadsheet editor) and Slides (presentation software). These services are available as stand-alone mobile apps from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store for on-the-go access. These apps are excellent communication and collaboration tools for employees who work from different locations.

Google Gemini for Workspace

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses and Google isn’t about to be left behind. Google Gemini is a multimodal AI technology designed to assist with various tasks and make your business run smoother and more efficiently. As an AI assistant, Google Gemini integrates seamlessly with all the applications in Google Workspace.

There are two versions of Google Gemini, Gemini Business and Gemini Enterprise, to suit your different business requirements:

  • Gemini Business: Gemini Business costs $20 per user, per month, and gives you access to some of Gemini’s most advanced models. With these capabilities, you can generate and summarize content in Docs, create images in Google Slides, make detailed tables in Google Sheets and enhance the lighting and video quality of your Google Meet calls.
  • Gemini Enterprise: Gemini Enterprise costs $30 per user, per month, and includes all the features of the Business plan plus additional benefits. This version offers advanced translation features that generate captions in more than a dozen languages, making it easier to communicate with international clients and team members. Furthermore, it provides full access to everything Gemini offers, including its most sophisticated models and functionalities.

Leveraging Google’s suite of tools

Google offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help small businesses succeed, from setting up a professional online presence to managing day-to-day operations. While you might already use Google for searching and email, using some of its platforms dedicated to supporting businesses can enhance your efficiency greatly. These applications allow you to take advantage of advanced technology to increase your brand’s visibility, streamline your operations and improve your team’s productivity.

Shayna Waltower and Jennifer Dublino contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

author image
Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Sammi Caramela is a trusted business advisor whose work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others centers around creating digestible but informative guidance on all things small business. Whether she's discussing cash flow management or intellectual property, work trends or employer branding, Caramela provides actionable tips designed for small business owners to take their entrepreneurship to the next level. Caramela, who also lends her expertise to the financial outlet 24/7 Wall St., has business management experience that allows her to provide personal insights on day-to-day operations and the working relationship between managers and independent contractors. Amidst all this, Caramela has found time to publish a young adult novel, develop a poetry collection and contribute short stories to various anthologies.
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