Episode 11: Google's Core Update and Features for Small Businesses

Episode 11: Google's Core Update and Features for Small Businesses
#naturalmarketer Podcast
Episode 11: Google's Core Update and Features for Small Businesses

May 15 2024 | 01:04:09

Episode 11 May 15, 2024 01:04:09

Hosted By

Victoria Smith

Show Notes

In this episode, Victoria digs into the latest Google Core Update of 2024, the great Google Business Profile shakeup, and five features every small business should know about in 2024.


What started March 5, 2024 and completed and released to the public on April 19, 2024 shook up the digital marketing world for upwards of 72 hours as industry icons reviewed, researched and got a better understanding of the key feature changes that were made.  With a staggering 60% of organic traffic diminished on some leading websites, marketers began to scurry.  But fear not.  I have looked into everything, explored what it means for you.


So sit back, turn up the volume and grab the key points that you feel affect your business.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Natural Marketer podcast. I am your host and digital marketing specialist, Victoria Smith. As the owner of V. Smith Media in Oakland, Tennessee, it's my goal to make the landscape of digital marketing easier, affordable and manageable for small business owners and managers alike. I do this by offering key tools for local search and social media marketing. Join me as I explore areas of importance for any small business that will grow their business, drive sales, and expand their brands. Hey there, marketing marvels and welcome to the Natural Marketer podcast. Buckle up because this episode is all about the latest and greatest Google headquarters, specifically aimed at your awesome small business audience. That's right, Google's been busy showering small businesses with some pretty cool updates, and I'm here to unpack them all for you. Are you feeling a little lost with the Google labyrinth? Don't worry, I've got you covered. I'll be taking the March 2024 core update, Google Business profile changes and website deprecation and features like small business identification, making it easier than ever to allow customers to find and support you. Plus, we're going to delve into Google's enhanced shopping experience, which is about to revolutionize the way people discover your products. And that's not all. We've got the scoop on AI powered tools, appointment scheduling, magic, and a whole lot more. So whether you're a seasoned small business owner or just starting out, this episode is guaranteed to equip you with knowledge, your need to leverage Google's latest offerings and take the business to the next level. Are you ready to supercharge your small business marketing with the power of Google? Well then, let's get started. Alright folks, let's shift gears for a minute. Remember, way back in March, Google rolled out a core update that sent shockwaves through the FCO world. First, they announced on March 5 the core algorithm update is to complete. As of April 19, it took 45 days to complete this update. Unlike more routine core refreshes, Google warned this one would be more complex. Google's documentation reads as this is a complex update, the roll up may take up to a month. Is likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than a regular core update as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other. These shock worries were tangible, with some websites reporting losses for over 60% of their organic traffic, according to data from the industry observers. A core update of accurate proportions? Some might say it was a big one, and for many website owners, it was a nail biting wait to see how their rankings would stand out. But fear not, today, I'm diving deep into the Google Core update of March 2024, unpacking its goals, its impacts and what it means for websites search visibility. I'll be talking about Google's focus on eliminating unhelpful content, how they identified it, and some key takeaway. Website owners can learn from this major update. The March 2024 core update sent ripples to the SEO world with a clear message. User friendly content reigns supreme. This wasn't just about technical tweak. It was a significant shift in Google's algorithm designed to elevate high quality, informative content and demote low quality, user frustrating experiences. This significant update, dubbed by some as the user friendly content revolution, aims significantly improved search results by prioritizing websites that offer genuine value and a positive user experience. So let's delve deeper into the specifics of this update and how it contacts content creators like myself, particularly those targeting small businesses first targeting the pain points what was Google trying to fix in the first place? For years, SEO strategies often focused on keyword stuffing, thin content and minimal value, and building backlinks through questionable means. This resulted in search results cluttered with websites that didn't truly address user needs. The 2024 update aimed to rectify this by prioritizing the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness also known as eat. Google wants to surface content from credible sources. This is specifically important for small businesses and competitive niches like marketing. Building eat involves showcasing expertise through well researched content, establishing content authority by building a recognized voice in the industry, and fostering trust with transparent practices and positive user reviews. It also addresses value driven content. Forget churning out content just to trick key word boxes. Google now prioritizes content that generally solves user problems, answers questions comprehensively, and offers unique insights or perspectives. This means small businesses need to understand their target audience pain points and create content that addresses them directly. It addresses readability and user experiences. Google wants users to have a smooth experience. This translates to well written, easy to understand content that formatted for readability, complex sentences structures, excessive jargon and poor structuring pages will likely see a decline in ranking. But most importantly, Google is focusing on a mobile first indexing. While mobile surpassing desktop searches, a mobile friendly website is no longer option. It's a requirement. Websites that offer a clunky, frustrating mobile experiences will be penalized. So here's a breakdown of how these updates affected small businesses. First, they focused on content quality, demoting low value content. This update aimed to reduce the visibility of websites within recycled content and those created solely for search engine optimization purposes. This means blog posts with little original information or websites. Overwhelmingly, keyword stuffing content likely saw a decline in search ranking. It also prioritizes user experience. Google now prioritizes websites that offer a valuable and helpful user experience. This includes factors like website speed, mobile friendliness and content that generally informs entertainers, entertains the reader, but most importantly, it cracks down on spam. De indexing websites identifies as spammy tactics to inflate search ranking or at risk of being dextrose entirely. This means they wouldn't show up in search results at all, potentially devastating small businesses who rely on visibility, but they emphasized on backlink quality. The update placed a stronger focus on quality and content of backlinks, links from other websites pointing to yours. Low quality backlinks from irrelevant sources can negatively impact search ranking. So how does all this impact small businesses? Well, it increased the focus on SEO. The update highlighted the importance of strong SEO strategy that emphasizes user experience and high quality content creation. Small businesses may need to invest in SEO audits or consultations to ensure their website aligns with Google's involving standards, but it also gave content marketing a boost by creating valuable, informative content that generally helps the audience becomes more crucial. Businesses that prioritize content marketing strategies are likely to see improved search visibility, but it's mostly about a mobile search approach. With the rise of mobile browsing, ensuring a website is mobile friendly becomes even more critical. Businesses that haven't yet optimized their web sort for a mobile device risk losing out on potential customers. Overall, the 2024 Google update aimed to create a search landscape that prioritizes user experiences and rewards websites that offer genuine value. Small businesses that adapt their online presence to focus on this high quality content. Mobile optimization and ethical SEO practices are well positioned to thrive in this evolving digital landscape. So how can small businesses adapt? Well? The good news is that focusing on user centric creation, small businesses can only navigate this update by building a strong foundation with long term SEO success. Here are some actionable steps you can take. First, do a content audit. Conduct a thorough audit of your existing content. Identify pages that are thin, outdated and offer minimal value. Consider revising and removing them altogether. Focus on your expertise leverage the knowledge and experience within your small business. Encourage qualified individuals to create content that showcases your expertise in that niche. Do a content strategy revamp develop a content strategy that aligns with your target audience needs. Conduct keyword research, but prioritize topics that generally address user pain points. Rethink your content formats. Explore diverse content forms like blog posts, infographics, videos and case studies to cater to different learning styles and preferences. Consider website optimization. Ensure your website is mobile friendly with fast loading times, clear navigation and user friendly design, but most importantly, embrace user engagement. Encourage user interaction through comments sections, q and a forums, and social media engagement. Positive user reviews also contribute to building trust with Google. So what's the key takeaway? A long term play the March 2024 core update isn't a one time fix. It's a call to prioritize user centricity in content creation by consistently creating high quality, informative content that generally helps your target audiences. Small businesses can only weather further algorithm updates, but also establish themselves as trusted resources within their niche. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on building long term value for customers and Google will likely reward you with such search ranking. So let's now discuss Google's Business profile shakeup, its farewell website feature, hello Optimization focus, with the March 2024 update. It's a move that surprised many small businesses. Google rolled out a significant update for Google Business profile, formerly Google My Business, in March 2024. This update involved the much talked about deprecation of the website creation feature within Google Business profiles. While it offers a simple website solution for some, the change has left many businesses scrambling to understand what it means for their online presence. So let's dissect this update and explore the implications for all small businesses. The update phased out this feature entirely as of today, May 20 May 15, 2024. You will no longer create a website through your GBP. But don't panic. Here's what's happening. Existing websites march through June 2024 if you had a website built through GBP before March 2024, it continued to function for a short grace period. However, this functionality seized entirely will be seized entirely on June 10, 2024. What's next? It's the redirection phase. During this period, anyone visiting a website created through GBP will automatically be redirected to corresponding Google Business profile on June 10, 2024. But here's the new reality. As of today, May 15, any attempt to access a website built through GBP will result in page not found error. So what's with the goodbye? Why did Google Ditch website creation? While the built in website builder within Google Business profile was convenient, it had limitations. The basic websites often lacked customization options, and functionality is crucial to establishing a strong online brand presence. Google's reasoning for deprecation likely stemmed from a desire to encourage businesses to build dedicated websites. Google wants businesses to invest in creating professional websites that offer a more personalized and feature rich experience for their customers. It also wants them to improve your user experience. Simple, template based websites might not always have, might not always provide the best user experience. So what do you do? You focus on core functionality. Google wants business profiles to go to the hub for managing a business's online presence, focusing on formation and focusing on information accuracy, customer reviews and engagement features. That is the purpose of the business profile. With the built in website builder gone, some businesses now need to consider developing dedicated websites. This might seem daunting, but there are several website creation platforms available that are user friendly and affordable. And here are some of the benefits of those standalone website creators it gives you greater control and customization. A dedicated website allows you to fully control the design, layout and functionality, tailoring to your specific brand and needs. It enhances your customers experience. You can create a more engaging, informative experience for visitors, showcasing your products services in much detail, and it most importantly improves your SEO potential. Standalone websites offer more opportunities for search engine optimization, potentially improving your ranking in search results. So here's the new reality. What do businesses need to do with the website creation feature gone? Here's what small businesses need to consider one they should develop a standalone website. This is the most crucial step, investing in creating a professional website that allows you to showcase your brand offerings and unique propositions. What's the difference between website builders versus custom development? Website builders like Wix or Squarespace offer user friendly options for creating website without extensive coding knowledge. However, custom development gives you more control over your designs functionality. You need to focus on mobile optimization, ensuring your website offers a seamless mobile experience with fast loading times and responsive layout that adjusts in different screen sizes. A significant portion of users search on mobile, so neglecting this aspect can hurt you dearly. But that's okay because as a seasoned digital marketing specialist myself, I can tell you that I, like many other website hosts or creators websites built in WordPress have seen major SEO enhancements. You can use tools like Elementor page builder like I do to create your website's content for for mobile and desktop. But most importantly, it offers valuable tools to optimize the website with speed, functionality and user friendliness. I've created over 50 websites in the last five years that have allowed customers to see a major impact across the board, from e commerce to real estate to my own digital marketing space, and even taking it a step further by building learning content within the thinkific platform built into my WordPress websites. You can do all this too. It's not that expensive, but in reality, let's just say if you were using the website builder within Google Business profile, you've been missing out. So if you're ready to take the next step, don't panic. It's time to optimize. While the website feature is gone, Google Business profiles remain a vital tool for small businesses and here's how you can optimize and maximize your profile's potential on your Google Business profile, be sure to complete and make sure your information is accurate. Ensure your profile has accurate, up to date business information, including content details, operating hours and a clear description of your services. Show high quality photos showcase your business with high quality photos that capture the essence of your brand and offerings. Embrace customer reviews within the platform encourage satisfies customers to leave positive reviews on your profile respond to both positive and negative reviews professionally and most importantly, utilize posts and Q and a leveraging the posts feature to share updates, promotions and engaging content with your audience. The Q and a section allows you to directly address customers inquiries and showcase your expertise. And the Q and a section is so beneficial for small businesses because it allows them to rank in the local pack and if you aren't familiar with the local pack, you need to stay tuned because that is a big part of what I handle. And lastly, it showcases products and services. Your Google Business profile should highlight your products and services through detailed descriptions and high quality photos within your GBP listing. So what's the silver lining? A shift towards a stronger online presence. While the website deprecation might seem like a hurdle, it can be viewed as an opportunity for many. By investing in dedicated websites, small businesses gain greater control over their online presence or their digital footprint. As I refer to it, they can create a website tailored to a more specific brand identity and target audience, offering a more comprehensive and engaging experience for potential customers. So what were the key takeaways of all this? Google Business profiles no longer offer website creation functionality. Obviously, develop a professional, standalone website to showcase your brand and offering ranks. Optimize your website for mobile devices to ensure smooth user experiences and double down on optimizing your Google Business profile with accurate information, high quality photos and engaging features. By adapting to this update, small businesses can strengthen their online presence, build trust with customers and ultimately achieve their growth goals. So embrace this change. Leverage the power of Google Business profile and establish a robust online platform that reflects your unique brand identity. The Google Business profile website deprecation is an adjustment for small businesses. However, it presents an opportunity to build more robust online presence through a dedicated website and a well optimized Google Business profile. By understanding the changes and taking the necessary steps, business continue to connect with customers and thrive in the digital landscape. Google has been rolling out several initiatives to support small businesses, but like you, most are unaware or don't understand. So what are these initiatives? Well, the first one is very important. It's small business identification. Google introduced a small business attribute for merchants in Google search and maps. This allows customers to easily identify businesses that can't support or help those businesses stand out. Google also automatically assign this label to small businesses based on various factors. They've also introduced the shopping experience improvements. Google is making it easier for people to find nearby stores and access essential information. They're also working on more visual visual shopping feed with features like price alerts and ability to chat with businesses directly through the shopping on search. This one is fantastic. AI tools for product imagery Google is offering AI powered tools to help businesses create and manage product images. This can be a game changer for small businesses that might have the resources of a professional photographer. Even better, they've introduced appointment scheduling within Gmail. Google Workspace has expanded appointment scheduling features, allowing businesses to create booking pages and manage appointments directly through their calendars. This is available in both free and paid workspace plans, with additional features available in premium plans. I'm already using this and it's fantastic because I can see all my stuff in one calendar instead of five. And of course, Google for small business. This is a central hub where small businesses can find personalized plans, attend workshops, and stay updated on Google's latest tools and services to help them grow online. But these are just some of the recent changes Google has made to better serve bombuses. By providing helpful tools and resources, Google does make it easier for small businesses to compete in the digital landscape. While they continue to go through challenges with Congress, they're still working to improve small business enhancements. You can find out information about Google for small business on their website@google.com, business so let's talk about these five elements that I just talked. The first one was Google small business identification for search and maps. This is shining a light on local businesses. Google's new initiatives aim to empower both businesses and consumers who want to support them. And here's a breakdown on this feature. First of all, what is it? A small business attribute displayed on Google search and map listings acts as a badge to help customers identify small businesses that they can support and then may automatically be. This badge may automatically be assigned by Google's manually claimed businesses. So that obviously goes from your Google Business profile. So if you are a small business, make sure you identify your business size from your employment size, which is one to five, I'm sorry, one to 1011 to 20, et cetera, et cetera. Small businesses are anything under 400. So if you're a small businesses, you're going to be considered anything under 400 employees. Remember that when you're working on your profiles. So what are the benefits for these businesses? Well, obviously it increases visibility. The small business label makes your listings stand out, especially when consumers are actively searching for small business businesses to support. It enhances the target audience reach. Customers are prioritized supporting local and independent businesses versus the big conglomerates. And of course, as like other Google features, this is a free promotion. This feature is entirely free to use for small businesses. But what are the benefits to consumers? Well, it's an easy identification. It effortlessly, I cannot say that word guys, effortlessly finds small business in your search results. It also allows you to support local discover and patronize businesses that contribute to your community specifically. Now, see, that can help or hurt people like me. Because I work with several communities, I am a nationwide small business. I don't just work within my local community here in Oakland. I work with other areas that I have lived previously and know the community well. But I am a digital marketer, so I am more of a nationwide community in essence. So be careful when you're, when you're labeling that like I do, make sure you are identified as a service based business that supports local. Because when you do that, you're going to see an increased algorithm search. When it comes to digital marketers. Near me, for instance, it aligns with values. The new label allows consumers to choose businesses based on shared values. Whether it's local, whether it's sustainability, whether it's, you know, women owned, veteran owned, LGBTQ owned. However you want to look or search, they're going to find it for you. Google is so impactful when it comes to targeting specific niches that it benefits them. So how does this all work? It's an automatic assignment. Google uses factors like the number of products offered, location count, and web traffic to identify potential small businesses. But there's also a manual claiming businesses can claim the small business attribute through the Google Merchant center and business profiles. It also has the search and Maps integration. The small business label appears next to your listing on both Google search and Maps. Well, what's the filtering option? Why is it so limited? While not currently available on all platforms, some features allow filtering search results to only small businesses. But it is being worked on and is supposed to expand. But there are things to consider. Self identification is for us based businesses only currently claiming the small business attribute is only available in the United States. The eligibility criteria through Google uses various factors to assign the label. There's no official definition of a small business within the context, however, franchises are generally generally excluded. That's a big one, guys. Franchises are generally excluded. So if you are a franchise small business, you cannot be included with the small business credit criteria. It has limited control. It's augmented assignment. If Google automatically assigns a label, you can't dispute it, but you can opt out through Google Business profile overall, Google's small business identification is a valuable tool for both small businesses and consumers. It fosters a more supportive online environment and empowers people to make informed shopping decisions. That's a big one, guys. Make sure you keep an eye on that. The second one is Google's quest to elevate your online shopping journey. Google is constantly innovating to make more shopping a smoother, more satisfying experience. And here's a glimpse into their recent efforts. Enhanced product discovery smart search results is Google levering its AI capabilities to understand user intent and service relevant product listings? Simply typing in a descriptive search term like blue women's sundress will display a comparison table within the search results, eliminating the need to visit multiple websites. It gives you a visual shopping feed. Google is moving beyond text based results, experimenting with a more visual shopping experience. Imagine browsing through a curated feed with product images along with features like price alerts, direct chats with businesses, just to name a couple. You're going to get notified when the price of an item you're interested in drops. You're also going to be able to connect with the retailers directly through Google shopping, similar to the live chat features on e commerce website. This allows you for real time questions and potentially faster purchase decisions. But guys, remember this feature shopping experience. This is not social commerce. This is. This is the next step of shopping experiences. Many people are moving away from Facebook as a platform for their small businesses because of all the changes that they've made, myself included. I still use it because it's there. But I'm going to tell you, the way Google is making changes to small business is making it so much better for people like myself and even yourself. Because if you're an ecom, if you're a real estate agent, if you're a brick and mortar shopping center, wherever you may be in the United States, you have these abilities and you can take them to the next level. But you have to take advantage of these features because if you don't, you're taking yourself ten steps back, why not take yourself 20 steps forward? And that's why Google has streamlined the shopping experience. Because of the effort local business directly, Google is making it easier to find stores within your vicinity. Search results will prioritize local businesses alongside relevant product listings, particularly for essential products or those within local availability. So if you do the again, digital marketer near me and you're driving down the street and you're like, oh, I need to talk to somebody about this, I'm getting sick of it. You go, I need a digital marketer near me. It's going to tap in your phone, your location data. It's going to then say, okay, here's your location and it's going to say, these are the top ten digital marketers near me based on the Google's algorithm. Once that's done, it's then going to take you to a shopping experience. And if those digital marketers don't have a shopping channel available, it's going to take you to the website. So what does that mean for you? It improves the business's information. Google Maps and search listings are becoming more informative, providing detail like in store availability, curbside pickup options and even return policies. In some cases, that is big guys, because aren't you sick of searching and trying to understand a business's return policy for something that you purchased? Aren't you sick of trying to find the store hours, the curbside pickup options, whatever they may be, aren't you tired of looking and searching for so many different things? It's all right there. It's all about focusing on transparency and user control. Rich product information is Google is encouraging businesses to upload detailed descriptions, high quality images and accurate pricing information. This empowers you to make an informed decision by clicking buy now. And of course, it also has vetted seller rankings. Google integrates user reviews and seller ratings to a highly trustworthy business. This transparency allows you to shop within confidence. So what does this mean for the future of online shopping with Google? These are just the initial steps in Google's quest to create a more user centric online shopping experience. We can expect further advancements in areas like visual search refinements, that is, image taking a picture of an item you like and using Google to find similar identification, identical products online. This functionality is already available in Google Lens, and further integration with Google Shopping is likely. It also is going to enhance personalized recommendations. Google's new AI capabilities can be leveraged to curate product suggestions based on your past purchases, browsing history and even interests gleaned from Google services you use. By focusing on user friendliness, transparency and leveraging the power of AI, Google aims to transform online shopping into a seamless, enjoyable experience. But remember, with the new user content regulations being challenged with Congress, a lot of this has to be segmented and understood by all consumers. So Google will continue to aim for the best possible outcome for its users. Whether you're on Android, Apple doesn't matter. Google is still the most used search engine available. You don't hear people saying Apple it, you hear people saying Google it. Remember that when you're searching for your next online shopping experience. [00:33:08] Speaker B: Is it time to upgrade your digital footprint? Does your brand feel stale? Then it's time to call v. Smith Media in Oakland, Tennessee to review your brand store strategy. It's time to discuss your digital marketing blueprint with a seasoned professional with a proven track record. Let v. Smith Media analyze, prioritize and optimize your digital footprint with a customized blueprint that includes 25 hours of research, an outline of suggested smart goals, customer Personas, content mapping, conversion paths, digital marking tactics, and reporting to show proof of performance. This investment will allow us to to jumpstart the framework of success for your brand. Visit vsmithmedia.com digitalmarketingblueprint to get more details and book a discovery call to get started today. [00:34:00] Speaker A: All right, so we've tackled the identification for small businesses and Google's quest to elevate your online shopping journey. So that's just two new features. Let's go into number three. Google's generative AI revolutionizes product imagery. Now, while you should be cautious about using AI, you need to understand that authenticity is still a crucial part of the Google algorithm. So when you're using AI, make sure you're using its functionality, not its content. Okay, what do I mean by that? I mean it is a research tool that is helpful for many people like myself, but it is not used to do your job for you. Okay? AI tools were designed to eliminate the headache when you're stuck, when you're having writer's block per se. But product imagery, this is a new one, so be ready to be amazed. Okay, Google has unveiled a powerful set of AI tools, cleverly named product studio. They're designed to transform the way businesses create and manage product images. And here's a breakdown of this game changing innovation. It's the magic of text to image AI, effortless image creation. Gone are the days of expensive photo shoots or reliance on stock photo photos. Product studio empowers you to create high quality product images simply by describing them in text prompts yes, I said it. You can type in what you're looking for and it will generate a photo for you. Now how is that different than your standard stock photography website? It's really not. It's just the next step of what it can do. I'm going to use an example from Adobe. If you've seen the latest Adobe Photoshop commercial, you see a, I think it's a frog. I can't remember what amphibian it is, but it is a creature sitting on the side of a pond. Okay? They then enhance it to be a pond surrounded by a library, surrounded by forest, surrounded by many other things. But what did they do? All they did was take multiple photos and combine them together to create a picture. That's all this is doing, guys. Now, I'm not downsizing product studio by any means, because believe me, it's going to be helpful for small businesses that can't afford a $2,000 Photoshop session by a photographer, okay? I use Photoshop every day, guys. Okay? I am a master of Photoshop. I've been using it for 20 plus years. Okay? However, AI has revolutionized the way we look for product imagery for small businesses. There's no need for customization galore. There's no need to change the background of your product image. No problem. Product studio allows you to place your product in any scene imaginable, from a tropical beach to a cozy living room. You pick it, it'll do it. And also say goodbye to low quality images. Don't worry about fretting over blurry or poorly lit product photos because product studio can breathe new life into them by automatically enhancing quality and removing distracting backgrounds. So let's say you take a picture of your office and that office has polka dotted walls because you've been painting and you want to make it a nice, vibrant digital marketing studio for yourself. You can do that. All you have to do is tell Google to create an image with a studio background, with a desk and an image, and it'll do it. So goodbye to all the headaches of creating in Photoshop. It is an effortless process, but it benefits small businesses of all size, not small businesses of all sizes. It benefits businesses of all sizes. It's cost effective, especially for small businesses. Professional photographer can be a budget burden. Product studio eliminates this barrier by offering a free, AI powered alternative for creating stunning product visuals. It increases efficiency, image generating multiple variations of product images in a fraction of the time it takes to traditional methods. This allows businesses to experiment and optimize their product presentations very quickly. It also boosts sales with appealing imagery. High quality product images are proven to increase click through rates and conversions, and product studio empowers businesses to create visuals that grab attention and showcase their products in the best light. So how does it work? Product student integration this AI tool seamlessly integrates with Google Merchant Center, a platform already used by many businesses to manage their online product listings. The simple text prompts describe the desired image using clear and concise language. For example, a pair of sunglasses on a beach with the turquoise water and palms. Simple, right? AI generates the image. Product studio empowers AI, takes the text prompt and generates high resolution image based on specifications. But there are things you must consider. The current availability as of now, product Studio is only available businesses located in the United States. However, with the success of initial rollout, a water release can be expected soon. Limitations with AI is expensive. It's still under development. It's crucial carefully review the generated images to ensure them accurately represent your product and align with your branding. It leaves you room for creativity. Don't underestimate the power of human creativity. Product studio is best seen as a tool to enhance your existing creative vision, not replace it entirely. And that's what I said earlier. AI is still under development, guys. It is not ready to be rolled out to the masses. We saw that with Google Gemini, previously known as Bard. I'm not knocking it because again, I use it. I use a lot of the Google research tools, productive tools, creative tools, workspace tools, everything. I use everything, okay? But I'm not using it to replace human interactivity. I'm using it to enhance my productivity and increase my opportunities, okay? And that's what you guys should be doing as well. Overall, Google's AI tools for product imagery represent a significantly afford for e commerce. By offering a free, user friendly solution, Google empowers businesses to create high quality products, visuals, and compete more effectively in the online marketplace. But again, it's an opportunity, not a replacement, guys. So that's the third one. The fourth one is scheduling. We are all trying to book clients. We are looking for those leads. I cannot stress that enough. Every day when I talk to my real estate agents, all they say is, I need leads. I need leads. So here's another simple tool that they've rolled out. It's actually been available since early 2024 and I implemented it as soon as it was available because I have my lead generation, my CRM platform, where I do all of my marketing for my clients and whatnot. But I also still use my Google calendar to keep up with all of my responsibilities. I mean, everything I do is in Google, okay? Google probably knows my entire life at this point, okay? But it's scheduling made simple. Appointment scheduling is now included with your Google workspace. Whether you're doing a free or paid version of Google workspace. And Google workspace, guys is an expansion of Gmail. So if you're using Gmail, you need to look at your calendar within Gmail to understand what I'm saying. There are a lot of people that go, what is workspace? What is, what's the difference between that and Google? That's the difference. Google workspace is all of your tools. So if you look for the little, what do they call it? The little product icon in the corner next to your profile on Google, you're going to see a whole bunch of tools that are available. A lot of people don't explore that, but you need to because there are so many different things available. And that is why Google kind of incorporated the new taskbar on the right side of your Google. Okay? You can now see your tasks, you can see your calendar, you can see your contacts, you can see your maps, and you can even see insights. And it's beneficial because it allows you to keep it all right there. You don't need to go through five different screens. It's all right there. So let's get into it. Managing appointments can be a time consuming hassle for both businesses and their clients. And thankfully, Google Workspace offers a built in appointment scheduling feature that streamlines the process for everyone involved. Here's a closer look at how it works. So what is it? It's an integrated tool within Google Calendar that allows businesses to create a public booking page. Clients can view available appointment time slots and book directly through that page. It integrates seamlessly with the existing calendars, preventing double bookings. It is a game changer. And what are the benefits for businesses? It reduces administrative burden, eliminate the back and forth communication of scheduling appointments, increase efficiency by managing appointments directly through your calendar, saving valuable time, and improve your clients experiences by empowering clients to book appointments at their convenience 24/7 it also guides you for a professional presentation. You can create a branded booking page that reflects your business image. It's a game changer, guys. Like I said, the one thing that people don't know about it too is you can also, if you're doing services and you want to book appointments and you have to collect money for those services, you can link a stripe account to it. And yes, I said stripe. And a lot of people hesitate with stripe. But stripe is so powerful, guys, because you have one dashboard for stripe that allows you to see all of your ecommerce solutions all within one dashboard. I'm actually moving away from PayPal and more efficiently using stripe because PayPal's new features where you can no longer rollover from your bank account to your PayPal business, it's damaging. It's damaging. It hurts. You have to constantly in, you have to constantly import funds into the account. Whereas it used to just pull it from your bank account. Now you can't do that. Like people don't realize it. But again, back to this. It's back to the scheduling. These features are all customizable. You can set your availability to find appointment duration and add buffers between appointments. You can even offer multiple appointment types by creating different appointment schedules within the durations and purposes, like consultations, initial meetings, client meetings, etcetera. And it's great because it has automatic reminders. You can send automated emails or SMS reminders to clients to minimize no shows. Again, seamless integration at its best. Okay, but I got one better for you. It has the booking information collection. By collecting additional information from clients during the booking process, like intake forms, you can capture exactly what you need to discuss. Okay, that's easy. All you have to do is use Google forms. It's amazing. Now that's all part of the free features. Let's go into the premium features. Okay, premium features for paid workspecs plans. Like I mentioned, it includes payment integrations that is available for only paid workspace plans. Okay, as small as 550 a month. Guys, you can do it. Okay. Co host schedule appointments with multiple team members. Create secondary calendars to create booking pages linked to specific calendars for different locations for your businesses per se. So again, great tools, right? How does it work? You create an appointment schedule, access Google Calendar and navigate to create appointment schedule. Set up your schedule, define details like availability, title, appointment duration and buffer time. Then you customize your branding options by choosing whether to require email verification, allowing rescheduling, or collect additional information during booking. Then you go out and you share your booking page. Distribute the link in your booking page through your website, your email signature and social media. Fabulous options. I do all three. Okay, the next thing you need to consider, what do you want to do with a free versus a paid plan? The basic appointment scheduling feature will be available in all workspace plans, including the free tier. However, premium features require paid subscription to workspace. Limited customization is offered in the free version while offering some customization options the booking page design remains fairly basic, but with integration with existing workflows, ensure your appointment scheduling integrates smoothly with your existing communication and management tools. That is your CRM. If you're like me, you already have one in place, so you need to, you need to coexist the two, correct? So you don't have double bookings option. Fabulous. Done. Amazing. Everybody should try it. Overall, Google Workspace appointment scheduling is a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. It streamlines the booking process, saves time and enhances the client experience. Whether you're a solopreneur like myself or a large team, a Google workspace can help you manage your appointments efficiently. But if you have outside resources like I do, I'm a solopreneur, but I have a team of people that I work with. Easy. All you have to do is set up an appointment scheduler and you're on to the next thing. So those are the four major ones. But what does all this mean? Okay, the last and most important thing that I want to focus on is how Google for small business is becoming your one stop shop for online success. As a digital marketing expert, I'm going to say very loosely that if you are not using Google within your small business, you need to start now and you need to consider how you're going to take your business to the next level. You're going to feel overwhelmed by the vast digital landscape. Okay, Google for small business is here to guide your light is a comprehensive platform designed to empower small businesses with lots of tools, resources and guidance that you need to thrive online. And here's how Google for small business can benefit your business and how you can leverage effectively. Okay, first of all, what is Google for small business? When I started my business in 2017, I already had come from corporate America, was transitioning to becoming a solopreneur after doing consulting work for about a year. And then I decided, okay, it's time to really get my agency started. And I say agency because as a solopreneur, I still offer a lot of things. Okay. And within that space, I utilize a lot of Google's tools. Okay, so Google for business Google for small Business is a centralized hub acting as a gateway to various Google products and services specifically tailored to small businesses. It offers a treasure trove of resources, including free online presence management, by claiming your Google Business profile, ensuring businesses appear accurately on Google search and maps. This allows customers to find your location, contact information, reviews and photos. Again, that's what we consider a local SEO. The next thing that they have available is marketing and advertising tools. You have Google Ads to create targeted online advertising campaigns that reach your ideal customers within a budget. And guys, I offer a tier where you can spend $99 a month and you can still target high level, high level customers. Okay. You are going to see the benefits and the perks of Google in a instance. Okay. And the other thing, Google for small business, it also grabs website builders like Wix and Squarespace make it easier to create your online presence. Additionally, Google Analytics provides valuable insights into web space, traffic and user behavior, allowing you to optimize your online marketing efforts. Now, one thing that I just said there with Google Analytics, Google Analytics is the most trusted, most used analytic base for looking at online traffic, mobile traffic, email traffic, every kind of traffic you can think of in your, in your digital marketing world should be being tracked in Google Analytics. If it is not, you need to call me immediately because we need to get you set up. Okay? If you're doing online marketing and you'd have no idea the results or the outcome, then you are wasting your money and you're wasting your time. Okay? And I say that very, very lively because I saw the impact of that with one of my clients. We were like amazed by the amount of organic traffic that was not being captured because the Google Analytics account was not set up correctly. And when the new G four analytics was released last year, game changer for everything. Because you can now set it up more effectively for small businesses and you don't have to have all this knowledge and experience to be able to understand it. Now, I do this for a living, okay? But you as a small business owner need to know what is happening. You need to know that every penny you're spending is being spent effectively, okay? And that's why Google also offers educational resources and workshops. And I attend them regularly. I still go through them because again, an ever evolving, changing and digital landscape. It offers free online courses and workshops on various digital marketing topics like obviously, SEO, social media marketing and email marketing. These resources can equip you with the knowledge and skills to navigate the digital world. So if you're like me and you want to pay somebody to do something, but you still need to understand it, utilize Google for small business because you're going to benefit, okay? You're going to see it. And obviously they have free business advisors. Google for small business provides access to free consultation with Google trained advisors. These are people that have been working within the Google platform for more than ten years and they become experts and they can help you develop personalized digital strategies tailored to your small business goals. Okay? It's not just about Google Ads. It's not just about, you know, spending money with Google. They, Google truly does see the value in small business, okay? They are a huge conglomerate. Yes. Okay? And I'm not saying that because I value the platform and I'm not saying it because, you know, I partner with them. I'm saying this because I have seen the benefits myself. All right? And you too can take advantage of these. Okay? So how can you, how can your small business take advantage of Google for small business? Well, it's easy. You go to Smallbusiness with google.com. Again, that's Smallbusiness. Dot withgoogle.com and explore the platform. Okay? I'll have the link in, I'll have the link in the comments during the podcast. Okay, next, you need to claim your business profile. If you have not done this, if you want me to do it for you, $80, I can get it. I can get it for you. I can get it optimized. $80 will allow me to verify it, capture it, link it, set it up and optimize it. Okay? $80. If you want that done, you can reach out to me anytime. Okay? The next thing you need to do is explore the marketing tools. Consider, just consider creating a free Google Ads account to test online advertising and reach a wider audience. Okay? Again, I said a dollar 99 budget. I can set it up for you. You don't have to create your own Google Ads account because I can set it up within my Google, my Google platform and I can help you and guide you. Okay? Not just me, but my team. Okay. I have a specific team that I work with that they do nothing but dedicate their time to paid advertising. Okay? They are fantastic. I've seen it there. I'm currently working with them for Amazon ads as well as Google Business ads for two different clients. All right? I've seen the traffic improvements and I've seen the conversion improvements, okay? So don't hesitate with that. Again, you don't have to create your own Google Ads account. Just explore it as an option. I can set you up on my, on my business platform and you can explore it yourself. All right? Okay, next, if you haven't already and you have to build your website, okay? There is no longer, like we talked about throughout this podcast, Google Business profile no longer offers free websites. You now have to build your own website because that's going to help your SEO. So Google for small business integrates with beginner friendly website builders like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etcetera, allowing you to create a professional on presence without needing coding expertise. Okay? Again, I recommend word space because it is the most user friendly. If you're doing ecommerce, a lot of people will say Spotify, but Spotify is a lot more expensive and you have to have a lot of patience with it. I've, I've seen the downfalls of it, but I've also seen the benefits of it. So when you're looking at, when you're looking at Shopify for Ecom, beware of that. It is a great platform, but it does have its limitations, especially with costs. Okay? And then always remember, as a small business owner and person that's in the world of digital, you need to upskill yourself. Take advantage of free educational resources and workshops offered by Google for small business. This knowledge can empower you to make more informed decisions about your digital marketing strategy and obviously, understanding what your digital marketer, like myself, can do. Okay? And always remember to connect with advisors. You can consider me an advisor. You can look at other advisors from Google specifically, and you can always just say, hey, you know what can, what can you help me with? Okay. If you just need a consultation and you need to understand it, book some free time with me. Go to my Google calendar. It's on my website. You can also click on my link in the, in the podcast here. And you can go to my Google calendar and book a consultation. I am free to talk about options with you. There is a no cost. There is no cost to an initial consultation. Okay? Everything we talk about is obviously proprietary. I can never say that word. Proprietary. And it will not be shared. Okay? Okay. So everything we discuss is private and it will not be shared. Okay. Until you sign a contract with me. Once you sign a. Not a contract, a commitment. Okay. I don't like saying the word contract. Contracts is so old school. I like commitments. Because you're committing to a partner with me to see the benefits of the future, and you're committing to working alongside with me, not above me. We are working side by side to grow together. Okay? I work with every client like that. I will do that with you and I will do that with everybody. Okay? So there are many, many benefits to using all this. So again, I didn't mean to get off on a little sales pitch there, but I just want you to know, as a marketing expert for the last, officially seven years as my own business, but been doing this for almost 20 years, actually, over 20 years. So, 98, 99, I started. Yeah, let's, let's, let's let's just say 24 years to call it even. Okay? Bottom line is, I have lots of experience. I've worked in different, different genres of the marketing world, from advertising, graphic design, traditional advertising, radio advertising, all of that, okay? But all of these Google changes that I've talked about in this episode, you're gonna benefit this in your small business. You're going to save time and resources, it's going to be more cost effective, and you're going to see a growth in your online presence. But you're mostly going to learn to adapt, okay? The educational resources and workshops that they equip you with will give you the knowledge needed to make a data driven digital marketing decision to enhance your online strategy. And then you can decide if you want to work with me or a different marketing companion. But the goal here is to increase your digital footprint. If you do not take advantage of these changes that Google has made in the March 2024 updates, you're shooting yourself in the foot and you're not going to succeed. And I don't want to be a Debbie downer, but that's the reality. Take advantage of the resources available for small businesses, the educational resources and the expert guidance, okay? So you can establish that strong online presence and attract more customers and achieve your business goals in the ever evolving digital world. [01:00:12] Speaker C: We want you to host your show or podcast on Trim radio network or free. Yes, free for six months when you commit to one year of syndication with us. Straightforward podcast news who need a jump start in their career, or that seasoned pro who needs a new outlet for their show. No matter which end of the career path you're on, we're ready to air your show. Visit trimradio.com to learn how to get your show on the network. One year commitment required for a six month discount, then $25 on month seven. We are licensed to air music using our BMI license number 6105-1658 views and content shared on each show is that of the show host and guests and not necessarily that of Trim radio network. We run a clean, fair and balanced lineup, so don't hesitate. Visit trimradio.com to get on the air. [01:01:11] Speaker A: Alright everybody, that about wraps it up for our exploration of Google's March 24 core. Update the features and how they impact small business. Remember, while update focus on eliminating unhelpful content, it also presents exciting opportunities for all businesses. Focus on quality content Google continues to prioritize high quality, informative content that generally helps users double down on creating valuable blog posts, articles and website content that solves your audience's problems and establishes you as an authority figure. And remember, helpful content isn't just written text. This is also about videos, infographics, even interactive elements that enhance your user experience. It's all about creating engaging content that keeps users on your site and coming back for more now. The March 2024 update also highlighted Google's emphasis on user experience, so this is a great time to audit your website. Is it mobile friendly? Does it load quickly? Is it easy to navigate? These factors all contribute to positive user experience, which Google algorithms are increasingly taking into account. From claiming your Google my Business profile or Google Business profile to learning about SEO and website creation, then going on to Google for small business, a fantastic starting point. So remember small businesses, the March core update might seem daunting, but it's also an opportunity to refine your online presence and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Leverage Google's free tools, focus on high quality content, and prioritize user experiences. By doing so, you can ensure your small business shines brightly in the evolving digital landscape. Thanks for joining me today. Until next time, this is the hashtag hash national marketer helping you navigate the wild world of marketing in this digital age. My next episode on May 29, will cover the top three challenges small businesses face in digital marketing and how to embrace them. Don't fear these challenges. Embrace them head on with outline tactics to increase your digital footprint. I'll see you then, may eastern on Trim radio network or on your favorite podcast channels like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Pocketcast and Pandora. I'll see you then, may 2901:00 thanks for listening to the Natural Marketer podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, there are a few ways you can help me grow. First, hit the subscribe button below so you can never miss an episode. Second, leave a review so I know how the show is doing. It helps others find the show as well. And finally, share this episode with a friend who might be interested in small business marketing. I'd love to welcome them to the VSmith media community.

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