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Welcome to Webmaster Academy! Our goal is to help you create great sites that perform well in Google search results.
Now more than ever, consumers are looking online for goods and services. Creating a website for your business can attract new customers and encourage revenue growth.
Being online matters. Nearly all online customers—97%—use online media when researching products and services, even if the purchase is made offline. Yet many small businesses don't have a website at all. Think of your site as an Open For Business sign on the web.
Google, in partnership with Intuit, is offering free websites to small businesses through the Get Your Business Online program (U.S.-only). You'll get:
All you need to begin is a Google Account. If you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google Account. If not, get one here.
Once you sign in, you'll be able to choose a domain name and a design template, and customize it exactly the way you want. Add text, images, and photos to make your site pop.
One out of every five searches on Google has local intent, which means the searcher typed "city or town + something they want." Here are some ways to help ensure you reach these potential customers.
Claim your free Places listing
It's important to make sure your local business listing can be easily found on Google Web Search and Google Maps. Creating a business listing takes just a few minutes and doesn’t cost a thing. You can visit Google Places anytime to edit your information or see how many people have seen and clicked on your listing. Don't have a physical address? That's fine—if you work from home or have a mobile address, you can specify a service area instead of a location.
Make sure your listing is as complete as possible
Google can display listing information in our search results, so at a minimum your listing should include your hours of operation, forms of payment, area served, and brands carried. We also recommend adding images, video, and other product or service-related elements to optimize your listing.
Your business listing (also known as a Places Page) complements your website, but it doesn't replace it. Your listing should link to your site, and your site should also prominently display all relevant business information.
What are the goals for your site?
Every business, however small, can benefit from a website. Before you start optimizing your site, think about your goals.
Keep your content fresh
Evaluate your site for stale information, and update or archive it. A blog is easy to update and is a great way to keep users coming back. You can start up a free blog in a matter of minutes, then check out our tips for blogging.
Improve site navigation and architecture
Make it easy for visitors to navigate your site. They should be able to reach all your content in a few clicks, and your most important content should be accessible directly from your home page.
Get people talking
User reviews, both on and off your site, are a great way to build engagement and trust in the online community. User reviews can help convert searchers into customers, and help you improve your services or products.
Use social medias such as Google+ to start conversations around your business and keep customers informed.
Different people are interested in different parts of your business. Whether it's breaking news, updates, promotions, links, photos—even using Hangouts to chat face-to-face—Google+ lets you easily share the right things with the right customers.
Create a Google+ page for your business
A Google+ page is like a social networking profile for your business or product. Creating a page brings you closer to your customers, fans, and followers on Google+, and enables you to use circles, Hangouts, and other features to create connections with the people who matter to you.
Add the +1 button to your site
Adding the +1 button to your site is simple (all it takes is a snippet of code), and it lets people who like your site, service, or product share it with others. More information.
Get the Google+ badge
Connect your site to your Google+ page by adding the Google+ badge. Hovering over the badge lets people +1 your site, see who else liked it, and follow your page. Clicking the badge takes them to your Google+ page. Adding the badge is simple and takes only a moment. More information.
Link your other profiles to your Google+ page
Create a social media presence for your site or brand. You can link social media sites to your Google+ page. Use your profile to post interesting content that engages your users and builds a community around your business or service. Learn more about your profile.
Google tries to give information to users as quickly as possible. For instance, in search, we provide snippets—lines of descriptive text that show up underneath the title of a page's search result.
Rich snippets display more details about a page for relevant queries and can be a great opportunity for business owners, as rich snippets help users quickly decide how relevant your site is to their query.
Here are some tips on how to enhance your business site's presence in search results using rich snippets and more:
Tell us about your products
Selling something? When you provide product markup, Google may be able to use this information to show relevant information such as a thumbnail image, description, price, and category, directly on the Google search results page. To make your products even more visible online, you can submit product feeds to Google Product Search. You can also provide software markup for applications and softwares your business provides.
Tell us about your events
Holding an event for your business? Information like the event's title, date, and venue in the search results can help spread the word and potentially attract eventgoers. To activate the appearance of this information in rich snippets, provide event markup.
Taking it further
More business resources
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