Tutorial/How-to: Use Google apps to build your business

If you're looking to grow your Web site's reach, it can be vital to use one or all of these services

Google is synonymous with searching the Web, but search isn't the company's sole focus. Google also provides top-notch services that other businesses can use to improve their Web presence, reach new customers, and make boatloads of money.

Google's most important services include AdWords, which allows you to reach new customers with paid advertisements; AdSense, which lets you monetize a content-based site by hosting other people's ads; and Google Analytics, which helps you track key information about your Web site's visitors--and how they interact with your site's content.

If you're looking to grow your Web site's reach, it can be vital to use one or all of these services. They can be fairly complex, but once you've mastered the basics, you should be on the road to building up your business. We'll discuss each of the three services in turn.

AdWords is a wildly popular advertising program that allows your business to become an advertised search result. But if Google AdWords were simply a way to buy real estate on Google's search pages, it wouldn't be worth the money. The magic that makes AdWords worthwhile is its keyword matching. Essentially, you link an ad for your business to specific keywords, and AdWords shows your ad when someone performs a search with those keywords.

For example, if you run an e-commerce business selling pet food, you might link your ad to the keyword combination dog treats or pet nutrition. This way, Google will show your ad only to potential customers--people who are searching for products like those you sell.

The second important thing to understand about AdWords is that it's a pay-per-click system, not a pay-per-view system. In other words, you don't pay Google anything until someone clicks on a link and travels to your Web site. This way, you're sure to be paying for some worthwhile exposure.

Finally, it's worth noting that you can target your ads in two other ways. You can restrict your ads to customers that have their browsers set to a specific language or to customers who are surfing in a particular city, state, or country (or a combination of places). That means a local business can effectively use AdWords for local advertising, without worrying that their ad dollars will be wasted on the wrong audience.

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