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Google Apps - a must for business

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Date: 27 July 2012

Online Innovations has spent over a decade helping businesses get more from the web. We help businesses define their online brand through building websites, promoting them and integrating social networking strategies around them.

We concentrate a huge amount of time and effort keeping up-to-date with the developments in the social platforms, focusing on the role that they are playing - and going to play - in our lives. Social media has not reached maturity yet. New platforms are constantly blipping up on the radar (all hoping that a network will jump on and in-so-doing become the next big thing) and the established social platforms constantly playing catch up with one another - who knows how the cards are going to fall.

Sure things

As social media, Facebook and Twitter are here to stay - that we can bank on. But what of Google? Clearly, they understand the importance of social media but left the starting blocks a little late and have been playing catch up ever since.

The importance of social media

Google’s search engine goal is to provide their customers the best possible search results pertaining to their search query.

So how does it rank results in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Primarily it references 2 main criteria; context and popularity.

Context

When Google indexes a website it analysers the content and identifies the keywords and keyword phrases and by-so-doing contextualizes the website.

But what if the content is added by a webmaster that does not have the training to optimize the content for search engine indexing? A common problem now that content management is so popular. Or what if the webpage contains video? It is very informative, superbly so in most cases, but contains little text. How does Google interpret that?

Popularity

Common sense says that the more people that link to a website, the more popular and the relevant the website should be. Or is it?

This exposes the process to abusive practices like spam, where black-hat SEOers create and sell back links added to blogging sites and so forth.

Enter social media

Considering the above, the social platforms are perfect media to reference the context and popularity of websites. Viz. if people are talking about the website then it must be good and popular, right?

Google needs to monitor what websites are being spoken about. But there is a turf war and the popular social platforms can restrict Google’s access to their systems and in this lies the importance of Google + (to Google anyway).

Google+

Social Media Explained

Google+ has taken a hammering since its launch and most have the opinion that they have had to chase after Facebook, who let’s face it have the market on the social media front. This frantic chase has resulted in many mistakes that I am sure left the Google team a little red faced at times, and also left many of us confused and frustrated.

Then, Google converted their Google Places’ Local Business Listings to Google+ Pages and I believe that changed everything.

Business owners have been forced to start scratching around in Google+, to not only claim their Places record but make sure that the Places’ record sends the right message. In so doing, they have become more familiar with the fantastic business opportunities and tools Google has to offer.

Yes, we all know of Analytics, YouTube, AdSence, etc but we have never really been fully committed. There was always something that stopped us from full adoption. That reason was having to use a Gmail address as the primary email address.

Not that Gmail is bad, far from it, but for anyone who is serious about their brand, online or otherwise, having a matching email address to their domain name is about as basic as it gets. Having worked towards a consolidated online brand, sending your emails from Gmail and having all your Google Applications referencing your Gmail accounts as the primary email address, just seems like a step in the wrong direction.

This can be achieved by subscribing to Google Apps.

Google Apps

Google Apps is a service from Google, providing independently customizable versions of several Google products under your domain name.

There is a misconception that you need to spool your email through Google to have an Apps account. This is not the case - if you are running your own Exchange server Google’s Mail can be disabled.

It features several web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Gmail, Google Cloud services, Google Calendar, Talk, Docs and Sites. But most importantly it allows businesses to consolidate all their Google Applications and Tools (like Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Places, YouTube, Plus, etc) into one profile. Added to this, administrators can also create additional accounts and assign users access and responsibilities to all or specific tools and applications.

Google Resellers

While it all sounds so easy, it is best that you consult a Google Reseller to guide you through the process and manage the entire setup for you. An unqualified decision in the beginning can cost you dearly in the long run.

Online Innovations are Google Resellers and have a deep understanding of Google, the applications that Google provides, how they link together, the migration- capabilities and restrictions, and how businesses can best take advantage of them.

Talk to us. Money well spent on getting it right - from the start - translates into massive savings and value benefits in the future.

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