It goes without saying that if you own a business you should own a website. And if you own a website, the acronym SEO should definitely be on your radar.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is the process of ranking your website within a search engine in an effort to get more traffic, and in turn sell more product or services. Whether you are an online entrepreneur or a brick and mortar store, everyone should at least have a basic understanding of what SEO is.
In this blog post (my first for Blue Fish ☺ ) I will share 10 FREE tools that Google offers that can give you a leg up on your SEO Campaigns. The tools discussed here are not the popular ones like; Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, or the Search Console. Nope, none of them. Here we will talk about some not so well known tools that can give you a great advantage if used effectively.
There’s nothing worse than watching your competition out rank you. Fortunately there are tools that help track your progress and stay current with the ever-changing world of search engine optimization.
Buckle in dear reader… here we go….
1. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
It is crazy to believe that since 2015-ish more than 60% of all search queries are coming from mobile devices. Even my grandmother searches Google from her new fancy iPhone.
It is important to understand the impact of the Google Mobile Update AKA "Mobilegeddon" circa April 22, 2015. This was an update to Google's Algoritm that gave preference to websites that are mobile responsive. Google has done their part and created tools to help us understand what we need to do to get our website ready for this change. With the help of the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool, it only takes a couple of seconds to determine if your website is mobile friendly.
You can find the tool here.
Enter your URL and then click “Analyze”
This tool will tell you if your website is mobile friendly or not. There is no in-between. If your website fails the test you'll definitely want to allocate some resources to correcting this. A mobile-friendly version of your website can immediately boost your search engine rankings, and ultimately, the amount of traffic coming to your website.
2. Google My Business (GMB)
In today’s market, Local Search is BIG business. Just check out this article by Google connecting "Mobile" and "Local"
If you are a local company looking to drive foot traffic into your business it is imperative that you implement a sound local search strategy.
This will all start with Google My Business! GMB is one of the easiest SEO hacks to set up, while serving as one of the most vital pieces to your local campaign. With this business listing, you are now in a position to provide customers with more information about your company and it’s offerings. Some of the information you will provide: business hours, physical location, phone numbers, menus, and photos of the business.
Consider this stat shared by Social Media Today:
Local searches lead to 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores with one day! That is cray cray! However, think about it… Anytime your are looking for a restaurant or to go to the movies, or shop, what is the first thing you do… You pull out your phone to see where you are going.
Check out what your listing will look like in a search once it is created below:
(insert image: local listing image bf)
Your listing will not look like this at first. You will need to get verified (easy steps, Google walks you through this as you set up your GMB) then add all the information and photos.
GMB is not something that all business owners will need to use. However, if you are wanting to rank locally for services, this you will most certainly want to take advantage of the FREE tool provided by Google.
***disclaimer – Creating a GMB listing will not guarantee online or foot traffic, there are still more steps in the optimization. (I will create a blog post soon on how to properly optimize your GMB listing) However, now you are headed in the right direction.
3. Google PageSpeed Insights
Due to recent Google updates, one a the heavy factors of URL rankings among many according to Moz, is Page Speed.
Google’s primary focus is user experience. Why do you ask? Well if the user is not satisfied with the results Google provides them they will use another search engine. They can not have that now can they?
People by nature are very impatient. So if you are lucky enough to have them land on your website, Google wants to ensure that they are able to consume the content they are looking for. This means quick page load times. The average user will wait on a page to load for 4 seconds. If the desired page is not displayed they will bounce.
Thanks to Google PageSpeed Insights Tool you will not have to guess whether you site is up to Google Standards or not in regards to speed. In fact, this tool will tell you in detail exactly what corrections need to be made in order to get your page up to par with the Google Standards.
This is what the tool looks like:
In short, Google basically provides the advice on things you should fix. Do yourself a favor and DO IT! Listen to the all mighty Google and ye will be rewarded.
4. Google Correlate
The Google Search Engine is one of the most complex bots to date. If you are the type of person that can never figure out what to write for your website, researching keyword data is a skill you should sharpen. The Google Correlate tool is the best place for you to do this.
With this tool you can uncover different search patterns that correspond with real-world trends.
In other words, it provides keywords that are typically searched together. For example, maybe you run a search for “dog bones.”
You should know that there are many keywords based around this subject. But, this tool shows you the ones that most closely correspond with your primary keyword.
To uncover the best long tail keywords for any subject, Google Correlate tool is your friend. A practical application of this would be when writing blog posts, do yourself a favor and use this tool to help you come up with additional keywords to use. It can help provide a unique angle. It will help you expand your writing and hit on topics that are being searched frequently.
5. Google Trends
Another powerful tool that is overlooked by marketers is Google Trends. Google Trends helps you discover popular topics that are trending at the time of your work.
In addition to exploring “Featured Insights,” you can also run a search for any topic or keywords that comes to mind.
For example, if you have a blog on current events, this is a great resource and tool that will keep you up to date with what is currently trending within Google queries.
This blog post was written around Thanksgiving, and some popular topics at the time of writing are; Thanksgiving, Harry Potter, and NFL Football. This can be helpful for you as a marketer by allowing you to craft content around popular topics of interest. In turn this may be a factor to help increase and drive traffic.
6. Google Chrome
Ok, you maybe thinking to yourself… How can the browser I use have an impact on my SEO rankings…
If you find yourself thinking that all browsers are equal, think again! Google Chrome has a variety of SEO extensions that can help you make better online marketing moves.
For example, the SEO & Website Analysis extension is bomb.com. With this tool, you can instantly pull a FREE SEO report on any website.
Not only does this provide you with the resources to track the SEO campaign you are currently running, but it does the same for your competition, allowing you to gain better insights.
I will not twist your wrist to use Chrome, however, this browser in my opinion is far superior to those others... If you decide to give this browser a go, make sure to explore the available extensions.
7. Google Alerts
Just like Chrome, you may say, "Well, how can this help me with my SEO?". But the answer is, the more you use Alerts, the more creative you will get.
One of my hacks is to set up Alerts for all the clients that I do social management or reputation management for. This enables me to be on top of these accounts anytime they are mentioned online.
Using Google Alerts is as simple as typing the topic and reviewing the “Alert Preview.”
Once you create a topic, you will be alerted each time something is published on the web pertaining to your selected topic.
8. Google Voice
Your goal in regard to SEO should be to drive as much qualified traffic as possible to your website.
However, there is more to a successful business than increasing website traffic. You MUST convert these leads into paying customers! Traffic is a vanity metric that only matters if the traffic converts to dollars.
Therefore, you will need to be ready to talk, answer questions, or take orders at anytime. What are normal business hours anyway? ;)
This is where Google Voice can be your BFF.
With Google Voice at your disposal, you can create one number and then forward it to any phone. Making you “always available.”
Google Voice also offers free long distance, voicemail, and cheap international calls.
Google Voice also includes the following avaible features:
- Text from computer
- Create personalized greetings and customize the callers’ experience
- Share voice mails for other users
- Option to receive calls from any phone
- Getting started is super easy! Just click here (https://www.google.com/voice)
This is what you dashboard will look like:
So now you will never be caught “unavailable”.
9. Google Sheets
When starting out on your SEO voyage, you will want to keep a close eye on all your efforts.
One of my favorite tools for doing so is Google Sheets
Some of the features can be used to do the following tasks:
Creating content schedule
Along with the tasks above, Google Sheets also allows you to share and collaborate with others! This has been a great asset, and frees up clutter on your computer.
Sheets also provides many templates that are created for some of the more common tasks, see below:
Google Sheets will not be the most powerful tool in your toolkit but it will definitely be an asset.
Google purchased YouTube more than 10 years ago! Please do not over look this monster!
Video is the most relevant form of marketing! Hence why you should be leveraging this platform and uploading content on the reg.
Among other things, from an SEO stand point, YouTube can be a huge asset! When executed properly, a marketer can get his/her videos to rank for competitive keywords in an organic search.
Check out the image below and tell me where you would click???
I know where I am clicking if were searching! Later I will write a blog post teaching you guys exactly how to rank your videos and dominate the competition for targeted keywords! Be sure and stay tuned for that.
In short, you want to be where the eyeballs are. They are definitely looking at YouTube. From how-to’s, reviews videos, and music videos, YouTube is the second largest search engine behind its parent company Google.
I recommend uploading content to YouTube, and uploading it often. This is a great place to connect with your audience and is a heavy weight in the SEO world.
Whether you are executing an SEO campaign for your own local brick and mortar or a national brand, using the FREE tools listed out in this post will certainly prove advantageous to your cause.
After speaking with many business owners, I have found that they rely on SEO as one of the primary lead generation tools. Knowing this, it is impossible to ignore.
Mastering SEO takes much practice and dedication. This art is ever evolving and you must constantly study to stay on top.
If you have any questions about any of these tools or anything else in the SEO space feel free to reach out to Blue Fish. We have over 15 years combined experience between Marcus and myself working with clients of all shapes and sizes to help them increase visibility and increase sales by using search engine optimization.
You can learn more about who we are by clicking here to visit our website, or here to follow us on Facebook. To connect with me directly and get any questions you have answered 24/7 (and yes I mean it!) Click here to message me on Facebook directly!