Google search indexes web pages to make it available to those looking for information. However, no matter how you personally regard the big G, there is a selection of free tools they provide with potentially helpful data. Using. In order to do that well, they want your website to be mobile friendly, to begin with, among other things. So Google has multiple tools and services for small businesses to take advantage of.
Why shouldn’t you make use of them to create a good website or improve your existing website? You’ll know many, no doubt regularly use a few, but, in this industry, there’s always something new to try.
Google Search Console
If you only make use of one tool from this list, Google Search Console (formally known as Webmaster Tools) is the plum choice. Just as the logo demonstrates it’s intent with a spanner, using Search Console is akin to giving your site a regular service; use it to keep everything running smoothly, and spot bigger issues quickly.
See whether your webpage has a manual punishment, distinguish creeping issues and broken connections, perceive what number of pages are recorded, download joins, test your robots.txt document or organized information, and bounty progressively, for nothing. It’s a peek into how Google regards elements of your site.
Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Bing Webmaster Tools; there are lots to be gained from this free tool as well!
Alright, we as a whole think about the frustration of (not provided) keyword data, removing a portion of our most helpful analysis. Be that as it may, there’s as yet a HUGE preferred standpoint is having investigation information for your site so as to dissect content, client experience, the achievement of crusades and that’s just the beginning. Indeed, in case you’re not utilizing examination in your advanced advertising, you’re behind the challenge, regardless.
Google Analytics remains popular, and constantly evolving tool, though there is increasing competition from alternatives such as Clicky, Open Web Analytics, Web Trends, Omniture and more. Want some extra help? Check out the Solutions Galleryfor great ways to slice your data, and the URL builder to add custom tracking to your links.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Another tool that’s been through significant, and often much-lamented, change in the last year, the Adwords Keyword Planner remains the de-facto source for many when it comes to ascertaining keyword volumes (though don’t rely on it for exact numbers), even if other tools are used for generating seed lists.
It feels that the new Planner is much more PPC focused than the Keyword Tool it superseded, and the suggested keywords are often so broad as to be useless initially. However, there are ways to still use the Keyword Planner to get excellent data by Dan Shure is a superb place to start.
And whilst we are on the topic of keywords and topics for your website, Google Trends is still a great tool for comparing traffic for different search terms, including historic, geographic and related terms (in Google’s mind) data. Understanding if a term is a rising or falling element of your topic’s vocabulary is highly valuable for creating enticing content, and available for free!
There’s extra data within the Google Zeitgeist section, detailing 2013’s most popular searches. Also worth checking out is the Hot Trends list, to see the most popular searches right now, perfect inspiration for timely content.
Google Consumer Surveys
We all know that understanding our audience is key to making a great website that serves their needs. Whilst surveys can cost a lot of money, Google’s Consumer Surveys have a free option for measuring site satisfaction – you can’t deviate from the four default questions without paying, but you can still get valuable data on how users perceive your site and their experience of it. This can be especially helpful when testing a new site design or content category.
Back in 2010 Google announced that site speed had become a signal in their search ranking algorithms. Subsequent studies have also shown that site speed does have an effect on your site’s visibility.
Fortunately, there is a way to create a list of suggestions for your client or development team without having to be an expert coder (though that never hurts). Google’s PageSpeed Tools includes a PageSpeed Insights browser extension for Chrome and Firefox (as an extension to Firebug), and an in-browser version that offers even further detail. Either option will give you some actionable data to get your site literally up to speed.
What was known as Google’s Website Optimizer has evolved into Google Analytics Content Experiments. As the name suggests, it now lives within Google Analytics rather than as a stand-alone product, but still offers an excellent, and free, way to test, measure and optimize your site.
Content Experiments ties in with the goals you have created in Google Analytics, and lets you show several different variations of a page to users. This means you can test layouts, headlines, content, colors and more to find the optimum layout. As conversion rate optimization becomes a more common part of the digital marketing landscape, this is a great way to dip your toes in the water before making an investment in an agency or one of the ranges of potent user testing tools, all while getting actionable results.
Google Places for Business
Want another free method for extra search visibility that’s been shown to generate traffic? Get yourself a local listings result by using Google’s Local facilities, Places for Business and Google+ Local. Multiple tools? Well, yes, somewhat confusingly, there are two different ways to claim a local presence.
Essentially, your Google Places listing gives you control over the information that is shown in Google’s Maps, which local results make use of. Google+ Business pages look similar, but allow you to engage with other local businesses, post news and so on.
Which one should you go for first? Google Places for Business – by local search expert David Mihm points out, it has a superior interface, and it controls the listing that appears in Google Maps, and thus most relevant search results. The differences between the two, and how to combine them are detailed by Amanda DiSilvestro. To get you going here are some excellent reads on getting started with Places for Business and local search ranking factors.
Ah, good old Google Alerts. Whilst it’s reliability has been called into question in recent times, there’s no doubt this still holds an important place in many online marketers and content creator’s hearts.
Using Google Alerts you can keep an eye on a topic of your choice with regular updates from Google themselves on the latest index updates. Common uses include finding non-linking citations of your brand, or to keep an eye on the latest news on a topic or company of interest.
Ross Hudgens shows some of the inventive ways to use the service here. A great function of Google Alerts is the option to it as an RSS feed, perfect for keeping tabs on multiple alerts and combining with other sources. While Google Reader has sadly departed, there are plenty of other RSS readers out there that can do a great job in its place.
Whilst on the topic, there are some good alternatives to Google Alerts for monitoring brand mentions, such as Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer and the appropriately named Mention (which has a free option).
One of the most common frustrations in digital marketing can be the delay caused by waiting in a queue for development time. Google’s Tag Manager neatly gets around this, letting you update many of the most common site tags without having to ask for dev support.
This is a more advanced tool, but the benefits can be outside. Once the code is installed on the site, a decent array of common marketing tags can be edited without a further code update. There’s support for URL, referrer and event-based tags, custom macros and more, plus a debug console. There’s also planned further integration with third-party tools to even more flexibility, and it’s possible to use tags from third-party tools such as Optimize now.