This is National Small Business Week and although it may not rank among the biggest holidays in the United States it should be acknowledged. Small business is more important to our economy than most people will ever realize. In a blog post last year on their website The White House said “Small businesses are the engine of job growth in our economy”.
Today Google is featuring their new Google+ “Small Business Community” on the Google home page. Google has always shown a commitment to small business and that commitment has grown and evolved in some interesting directions over the last several years.
Perhaps the best example of this is Google Places. That is of course the business listing service on Google Maps. Bing and Yahoo also feature similar directories and each search engine features listings from their own directory prominently on page one of search results. For small, local businesses these are the ultimate starter place on the web. They are free and you don’t even need a website to claim them and have them (the listings) work for you.
Google places has now been tied into Google+ and this brings the many powerful features of Google+ into play. For small businesses who take advantage of everything that is offered Google is like a free marketing platform. There is of course the networking within Google+ Circles but also the search advantages of Google Authorship in an ongoing content strategy and much, much more.
Google has also developed the largest digital advertising network in the world with their Adwords platform. True to form Adwords has always been accessible to everyone, large and small. Even local businesses without a website can advertise their Google Places listing via Adwords Express.
Adwords can be complex though and that is just because it is so effective at allowing users to target exactly who they want to where and when they want to. In response Google created the Google Adwords Partner program. The Partner program offers certification to digital advertising agencies and individuals who want to use Adwords for their customers. The certification courses are not easy and require studying over 1,000 pages of course content.
Most recently Google launched their Helpouts service. Helpouts is a way for people to get online help with any number of things from cooking to Yoga lessons to marketing thier business. It is yet another way for small businesses to provide their service to clients on the web. The Helpouts platform is also free to providers other than Google taking a percentage of whatever fees you earn as a Provider.
What does any of this have to do with the title of the article? I have direct experience with all of these Google services as a small business owner. After twenty years as a freelance writer learning how to promote my own material on the web I decided to help others do the same. I opened a small ad agency and became an Adwords Partner and .
When the Google Small Business Community was created Google asked me to be one of the Advisors available to members of the community. I was happy to accept the position because it is what I do on a daily basis anyway and I enjoy meeting new people and helping businesses establish an effective presence on the web.
When I saw the link to the Small Business Community on Google’s home page today in conjunction with #smallbusinessweek I felt proud to be a small part of it. That is how I, along with the other Advisors) got featured on Google’ home page (admittedly in a somewhat roundabout way). If you have a small business I would like to invite you to check out the community and join. I would love to meet you and hear about your business!