Whether yourself a content marketer, an SEO, or an online marketer, our industry has a love/hate relationship with Google. Regardless of how you perceive it, Google always has a selection of free selection of tools at our disposal that provide useful data.
Using them can pump up our digital marketing efforts. Unfortunately, Google has a habit of starting to charge for some of its tools and retiring others.
Here is a list of Google tools that help with SEO. You will undoubtedly know some, probably use others but in this industry, there is always something new to try.
1. Google Analytics
This is a free tool that you can use to track how visitors to your site interact with it. I find it useful for tracking the performance of keywords in a search engine campaign.
It allows me to know how much traffic each keyword generates for my campaigns. In addition to being free, there are several benefits that accrue when using Google Analytics. Such include:
- Ability to fine tune my site: The analytic report generated allows one to fine tune their campaign by doing new copywriting on pages that don’t convert well. This ultimately helps bring more visitors to the site.
- Visitor segmentation: The ability to know how many visitors an SEO campaign brings to my site also means that I can segment them by referral sources, geographical location as well as new/returning visitors.
- Ability to know how visitors locate website: In addition to the optimized keywords, Google Analytics also allows you to find out what other keywords type in to find your site.
The thing I love most about Google Analytics is that it doesn’t just collect data from Google. It also collects traffic data from Yahoo! and MSN then uses it to strengthen the stronghold on the search platform.
2. Google Trends
This is one of the most versatile SEO tools provided by Google and is the marketing equivalent of the Swiss Army knife.
With this tool, there is the option to set four parameters i.e. Web Search (YouTube Search, Product Search, News Search & Image Search), 2004-Present (Past 7 Days, 30 Days, 90 Days, 12 Months, Choose a Year), Worldwide (option to choose specific country) as well as All Categories. Google Trends also allows you to compare up to five search groupings or term at a time.
I have access to Top Charts and Hot Searches when using this tool, which lists the popular searches of the day by category. This gives me the following advantage when it comes to strategizing my SEO:
- Choosing the best keywords: The most important elements of search engine optimization are keywords. By listing the popular searches, this tool allows me to know which keywords are crucial to SEO success.
- Knowledge of the latest trends: Low-quality content will only derail your online marketing efforts. This why site owners need to add value to their content to draw people in, subscribe to your site and talk about your site. The question is – how do you get people to discover you? I got two words for you – Google Trends.
- Identify regions with high interest in your keywords
- Recognize and check out your competition
- Discover credible websites and articles to backlink to
3. Google Consumer Surveys
Rolled out in 2013, Google Consumer Surveys is easy to use, affordable and better than most SEO tools of its kind.
It invites people to answer questions about consumer products in return for access to premium content online. Leonard Murphy of GreenBook even cited it as one of the biggest success stories of 2013.
The tool was designed to reach everyday people, hence its ability to undermine professional research panels. Here are some of the positives of using Google Consumer Surveys to pump up SEO efforts.
- It highlights the importance of simplicity in survey designs by placing limitations on a number of questions and length of each survey. As a result, consumers are less likely to feel confused or disengage when they come across complex questions. This is a huge advantage for today’s consumer that’s pressed for time and for whom distraction is only a click away.
- The analytical outputs are easy to read and understand, which allows me to filter data by key demographics.
- Surveys are incredibly easy to program, thus eliminating the need for hiring specialists to create online surveys. This is particularly important for small business enterprises.
The main downside to using Google Consumer Surveys is that progress can be slow due to the limited space for criteria means that respondents don’t have focus. All in all, the tool is somewhat a holy grail for the online marketing industry.
4. Chrome’s DevTools
While many of us in the industry prefer to pay hundreds of dollars for SEO software to automate our work, we already have one of the most effective free tools in the market with DevTools.
It is built into Google Chrome. It is basically a set of debugging as well as authoring tools that allow for validation of the most critical and fundamental aspects of SEO. What I love most about it is that using it is straightforward.
It also helps achieve many search engine optimization goals including:
- Assessing page load times and identifying speed issues. DevTools also provides recommendations for actions to take so as to improve page performance.
- Resources load times data in the Network panel can help identify which CSS and Java resources are loading before the DOM and blocking it, which is a common page load issue.
There are many ways that Chrome DevTools can help improve your SEO campaign.
5. Google Search Console
Like DevTools, Google Search Console is a set of tools that helps web marketers, webmasters, and SEO marketers monitor web performance in Google’s search index.
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, it comes with features like information about search appearance, technical status updates, search traffic and crawl data just to name a few. Of all the tools GSC provides, I am in love with Fetch and Render.
It is one of the most powerful SEO tools that allows one to see how Googlebot renders content across different devices with just a few clicks. This capability helps shine a light on problems that would not otherwise be visible.
Screaming Frogs 7 also check renders at a large scale. Glenn Gabe provides an explanation of how understanding Googlebot renders is essential for SEO.
6. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
Today’s consumers love their mobile devices and having a mobile-friendly test is vital to SEO success. Google started using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal.
Running your site through their Mobile-Friendly Test will help you determine if it’s mobile-friendly or not. The tool provides you the steps you need to take to ensure your site complies with the guidelines.
Mobile usage exceeds PC usage, make your site mobile-friendly is critical to improving your bottom line.