Google is a household name; we all know that by now. But the company’s reach has spread significantly over the last few years. What started as a beloved search engine has become a browser, a social network, a marketing tool, and even a physical browsing device.

Given the scope of Google, it’s important that you take it seriously in your marketing efforts. To do so is your best hope to build and maintain status online and to stand out above the noise.

Google as a Search Engine

In the late 1990’s, the beloved Google logo appeared on our desktops for the first time. The site’s history says that the name was chosen as a homophone of “googol,” a mathematical term for an insanely large number, to represent the founders’ goal of organizing a seemingly infinite amount of data.

The tool has grown wildly since then, including becoming more intuitive; incorporating learned user preferences and location-based search modes; and even growing accustomed to specific vernaculars and dialects. As more and more entities enter the online world and release more and more content, it becomes harder and harder for companies to be seen by potential customers.

Google as an Innovator

It would seem that becoming the most widely used search engine isn’t enough for Google. Instead, Google wants to be synonymous with the Internet itself. This mission has continued forward with a browser (Google Chrome), a device (Chromebook), an operating system (Android), money transfers via Gmail, voice-powered search capability (Google Now), and more.

The company is even rolling out Google Fiber, a super-high-speed Internet service with cable programming, DVR, cloud storage, and multi-device capabilities. Finally, Google even has a lab for futuristic innovations, Google X. This is the lab that brings us Google Glass, an incredibly futuristic eyewear device capable of almost everything a computer can do.  All we’re missing now are hovercraft.

With so many aspects of an Internet company with a seemingly infinite amount of information in place, the task of creating a notable online presence can seem daunting. Lucky for us, Google has incorporated ways for us optimize our online presence for visibility to its users.

Google+ to the Rescue

Google+ is, quite possibly, our best hope for creating a name for ourselves online.  It is also a great tool for business efforts like meetings and project management. Google may be vast, but using it properly will help you stand out online. Here are five steps for using Google+ and other Google tools to ensure visibility for your company:

  1. Claim your Google Places location.  Google Maps is incorporating more sophisticated search features, and to be visible, you need to claim your address in connection with your Google+ profile.
  2. Take advantage of recordable Hangouts and Google Drive.  These features are great ways for members of your team to collaborate, even on your marketing efforts!
  3. Post regularly on Google+.  Not only will you be adding valuable content for those in your circles to see, but you will also improve your SEO.
  4. Interact with other users.  Google+ may not be the most intuitive interface, but it also is not the place to simply spout out information.  +1-ing articles or posts shared by others will actually help your ranking.
  5. Join Google+ Communities.  This will open up your audience to users who will likely be genuinely interested in your product or service, and when you interact with them, it will, again, increase your SEO, this time based on your activity within your niche.

So don’t be overwhelmed by Google’s massiveness, and don’t be discouraged by Google+’s interface or fact that it’s a bit slower to catch on than other networks. Instead, remember that investing time in Google’s platform means, at this point, investing in your company’s online presence for the long run.  Happy +1-ing!

About the Author: Samantha Gale is a social media and content marketing specialist working for 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with brands around the globe.