Some Handy Google Tools
I thought I’d share with you a short list of some great Google tools that I use on a regular basis. They are part of my overall suite of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools that I use to analyse and optimise our clients’ websites.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool:
This is the first Google tool I’d recommend and is logically at top spot because it forms the building block of all SEO work. Access to this Google tool is free of cost and available to anyone who has a Google account. Getting one of those is no great shakes. If you have a Gmail account then you already have a Google account. Follow this link and log in again to access the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, called “Keyword Planner”: https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home
With this tool you can generate a list of keywords to plan both your organic SEO implementation and assemble a campaign for Adwords paid campaigns. You don’t have to use Adwords or run a campaign to use this tool. I’ve written more about this tool here if you want to check it out here.
Google Webmaster Tools – Now Called Google Search Console:
This second Google tool is the top recommended tool for measuring your organic SEO performance. It’s basically the only reliable source of data in regards to Google search impressions and clicks from Google search because it reports directly from Google’s own internal analytics for their search page web property – like say google.co.nz or google.com.au. The tool also accumulates data from all of those search properties into a single report which you can split and filter down to very specific keywords or searches. If you need to see ranking data for your website, forget Googling yourself – go to Google Search Console for true data! Start using Google Search Console (GSC) here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home or read more about our GSC services.
You can also read more about GSC on my website where I provide a fairly comprehensive ‘plain English’ user guide here
Google Analytics – The User Activity Tracking Tool:
This one has to be right up there neat the top of the Google tools list too. If you own or operate a website your really should be using this application. It will provide data about the source of your website traffic, what actions they performed on your website, how long they stayed of and what pages they looked at. Plus, if you have eCommerce you can connect the source of your traffic to the results dollars earned and therefore directly measure how your campaigns are converting into business. Access Google Analytics here with your Google account: https://www.google.com/analytics/web/
Google URL Shortener Tool:
A great Google tool for reducing the length of your URL to make it fit within a much shorter character space. That’s really great for adding URLs in places like Twitter or LinkedIn company page updates. It works by keeping a database of URLs mapped against a code at Google so that whenever someone wants to load a shortened URL Google will redirect the user to the actual URL it refers to. There is another situation that I use these in and that when I want to avoid overusing commercial keywords in my anchor texts. Here’s the tool: https://goo.gl
Google Page Speed Insights Tool:
A great tool if you’re a technical whiz, but possibly hard to get your head around solving any issues this tool indicates. This tool will measure the download speed of your website, which you test a single page at a time. Common issues it reveals is when your images are too large and slow to download, or when your page code causes delays in your content being displayed. There’s a tonne more you can glean from this, but this is just a very brief intro so I’ll leave the further explanation to this page here. Have a chat with your web developer for anything that turns up in this testing tool. Sometimes fixes are easy, sometimes they really aren’t. Balance your investment in money and time to fix against possible wins you could gain. Access the tool here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Google Trends Tool:
This is an awesome tool for watching search trends based on a keyword or comparison of keywords. A rising trend might suggest that there can be business opportunities or markets you hadn’t yet considered. You could also use the data to change your balance of keywords in your website to be slightly ahead of the curve, placing yourself in a better organic rank position as the market evolves. That’s seems to sound quite easy, but it does involve a fair bit of analysis and at least a measure of guesswork. Google also plots media events against the graphs to show you what events correlate with changes in keyword use. Here’s an interesting example trend from the last 10 years: https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=wordpress
The Google Campaign URL Builder Tool:
This one is great if you want to match your lead with specific source campaigns and placements. It’s primarily for use with Adwords but you can use it for any links to any of your pages. Re-wording that: you can create a custom URL for your backlinks or internal links which can be used to show where your visitors are coming from and which links they are using to visit your page from any source. It helps segregate data in Google Analytics so you can make data comparisons. For example, if you have a landing page in your website with navigation links, contextual links and calls to action leading to some other page, you can tag those links to identify whether it’s the button, anchor text or menu item that is being used to navigate to the next page. Data like that can help you determine how effective your landing page elements were in prompting the next click and can drive more effective landing page design. Here’s a link to the tool: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867
The Google URL Submission Tool:
Use this tool to ask Google to crawl and index your page. The beauty of this tool is that you don’t have to have admin access to the website page you want crawled. It works in the same way that Fetch as Google does in Google Search Console, but in a single step process. You’d probably use this if you contributed to a page on websites like social media sites or third-party blogs. In many cases, Googlebot crawls regularly and aggressively, so this might not be needed. This tool doesn’t guarantee indexing in Google and it doesn’t determine rank in any way. Here’s the tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url?continue=/addurl
The Google Disavow Tool:
Use with caution. This tool allows you to request removal of backlinks from your link profile as shown in Google Search Console. You might have built poor quality backlinks in the past, or you may have been ‘attacked’ by way of a negative SEO link farm by a competitor. There are several other reasons why your website might have bad backlinks, but I leave the examples for another article some time. This tool allows you to submit individual links or whole domains for consideration by Google, but be aware, you will need to make a real effort to remove the links in the first place, and provide evidence that you have done your best. Here’s the tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main