How to use Google’s Tools to Grow Your SEO
Building your company’s SEO is a full-time job that requires dedication, experience, and the right tools. Because of this, entire industries exist around accomodating the needs of businesses who don’t have the time, or in some cases, the needed skills or tools to run their company’s SEO campaign. This industry contains everything from full-blown SEO management agencies to all manner of online tools you can purchase to help you along. While we fully advocate for using an SEO agency, as this allows you to run your business and dedicate your time to doing what you love, while the SEO agency maintains your online presence.
However, many companies believe in keeping SEO management in-house, and in doing so, often turn to the countless SEO tools online to optimize their campaign. Unfortunately, many of these tools are less than optimal or overly expensive; most online tools require either a monthly subscription fee (Such as MOZ or SEMrush) or have a high, one-time cost. However, there are some free, highly effective tools provided by Google which can be vital to growing your company’s SEO.
We here at Fluidrank are an Atlanta SEO company, and we use many of these tools ourselves to help our clients build their online presence. These tools can be beneficial for industry pros and new businesses looking to grow; with this in mind, we want to give you our recommendations for some of Google’s most valuable tools to help you do your SEO.
1. Google My Business
We are starting with Google My Business because, while technically not a tool, it is essential for any company’s SEO and contains features that, if properly used, can help your SEO. Google My Business is a building block that is one of the single most important steps you can take from growing your online presence.
First, you will have to set up a Google My Business Account and My Business Profile to use its features. In this profile, you will create a page for your business in Google, which then shows up in local searches containing your keywords. On this page, you will be able to add a brief description of your business, add location information, contact information, list services, add your website, along with a host of other options. Be sure to fill out as many of these as possible, and when adding your business’s description, include all relevant keywords for your business. Most notably in this array of features is the Insights Tab under your My Business account; this tab contains beneficial information on traffic for your site and is a great place to start the information-building step of your SEO campaign.
Setting up a functioning Google my business account should be the first step for any company in building a comprehensive SEO campaign. Your account allows you to link your website directly with Google; by doing this and adding keyword-dense descriptions of your company and services, a good My Business profile can immediately impact your domain authority and give you an early boost.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is similar to the Insights Tab on your My Business profile but more in-depth. To use Google Analytics, you will have to create an Analytics account and add a small tracking code to your website; thankfully, most hosting platforms make this incredibly easy. Once installed, Google Analytics will allow you to gain valuable information about your site’s traffic. The data is divided into two main categories: Metrics and Dimensions.
- Metrics: Metrics are basic, quantitative measurements of the different elements of your site’s traffic. Google analytics has up to 200 metrics you can choose to track, but the most important ones are:
- Users: This tracks different users who visit your site.
- Sessions: A session is a series of user interactions over a given period on your site. These interactions include page views, commerce interactions, social interactions, or events.
- Average Session Duration: This is the average amount of time a user spends on your site in a single session.
- Average Pages Per Session: This measures the average amount of pages a user visits in a single session.
- Bounce Rate: This measures the number of users who “bounce” off of your site by leaving only after visiting a single page.
- Dimensions: Dimensions are different attributes of your data; this measures information such as demographics or the users’ cities and language. The most valuable Dimensions are:
- Demographics: This tracks your user’s age, sex, and interests.
- Browser Type: This shows you the type of browser used to access your site.
- Location: This shows the region where your website was accessed and can be as specific as cities or as broad as countries.
- Devices: This informs you what kinds of devices are used to access your site; this includes PCs, mobile phones, and tablets.
- Language: This tracks the language of the users accessing your site.
3. Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a tool that allows users to measure their website’s Core Vitals. Core Vitals are scores associated with different elements of your website’s performance. Using this tool will enable you to see which aspects of your site need improvement; this does two things for you. Firstly, it allows you to focus on what elements of your site need improvement for a greater user experience. Secondly, Google uses your Core Vitals score as an element of determining your Domain Authority, so by raising your Core Vitals score, you increase your ranking on Google. Your Core Vitals score is comprised of the following elements:
- First Content Paint: This metric measures the time your page starts loading to when any element of the page is fully loaded.
- First Input Delay: This measures the time between a user first interacting with the page and when the browser can process the interaction.
- Largest Content Paint: This measures the render time of the largest item on the page compared to when the page started loading.
- Commutative Layout Shift: This metric measures the largest shift in layout on the page; this is when visible elements of the page change position, usually from some elements loading at different speeds than others.
PageSpeed Insights also gives information on your site’s general speed and performance, along with a host of other more minor diagnostic measurements. Both the page speed insights and performance diagnostics are available for both the PC version of your website and its mobile version.
4. Google Trends
Google Trends is a tool that allows you to measure the popularity of different keywords. This tool is efficient at analyzing the rising and falling popularity of the keywords associated with your site and providing regional information on those keywords. This tool is extremely valuable in the early stages of an SEO campaign, as it is a free tool for exploring potential keywords. By entering keywords into the trends search window, you can learn their current popularity, past popularity, their regional influence, and compare them with other keywords. The most valuable resource with this tool is the related topics window; this recommends similar keywords based on Google’s algorithmic data. The related topics window allows you to do early keywords research by browsing all the similar keywords to yours. You can then use the tool to compare each of the keywords and find out which ones have the most popularity. Finally, you can use the advanced options to discover which mediums (Google, Google News, Youtube, etc.) your keywords are being searched through.
5. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of the most valuable tools for your SEO campaign, both from Google’s free tools and other online paid tools. Google Search Console provides information about your site’s keyword performance, traffic, as well as providing troubleshooting tools. The search console provides a great deal of information, but some of the most valuable assets of the search console are as follows:
- Crawl Status: This tells you when the last time your website was crawled or if it was unable to be crawled.
- Indexing: The search console can help you fix indexing errors on your site, index new pages on your site, or re-index a page.
- Search Traffic Data: The console provides various information on the search traffic related to your site, such as: How often your site appears in a search, what searches your site show up for, the click-through rate of those searches (how often a user click through to your site from the results of a search query), along with a host of other data related to your traffic.
- Various Troubleshooting Tools: The search console provides troubleshooting tools for site indexing, mobile usability, and a host of other common issues.
However, the most valuable element of the Search Console is the Consoles’ ability to show and disavow backlinks. Backlinks are a crucial part of the SEO of any website. Backlinks are when a site sends a link to your site and is one of the largest determining factors of your domain authority; this is because when a site links to you, it acts as a vote of confidence from the linking site, telling Google that your site is valuable and trustworthy. When a site sends a backlink to you, the higher their domain authority, the more significant the increase to your domain authority; however, the backlinking process can also have downsides. When a site with a low domain authority or a blacklisted site (a site that is considered spammy or untrustworthy) links to you, your domain authority can suffer.
Thankfully, the search console allows you to begin a process called “Disavowing.” Disavowing a backlink tells Google that you don’t support the backlink sent to your site and that you don’t want it to be considered for your domain authority. However, disavowing backlinks is a complex process and should not be attempted if you are not proficient in doing so; this is because once a backlink is disavowed, it is very difficult to undo, and disavowing a valuable backlink can severely damage your domain authority. So, while the ability to disavow backlinks through the search console can be extremely valuable early on and necessary once your site reaches a certain size, it should only be done by a professional.
Google provides a wide variety of tools for business owners to take advantage of, all free, to help them grow their SEO and gain valuable insights on their website. There are many more than the ones featured in this list, many of which can be found on the Google Web Developers page. We recommend browsing this portal, especially the Google Console Community and Help Center if you want to utilize the support console.
Managing your SEO campaign can be challenging, even with the wide variety of free tools from Google and the many high-quality pay-to-use tools online; we here at Fluidrank are an SEO and eCommerce management company that can create a dynamic, comprehensive SEO campaign. We can handle your SEO while you do what you do best, run your business. If you are interested in any of our services, you can check them out here, or if you want to browse any of our other articles on SEO management and eCommerce, you can read them on our blog here. Finally, if you have any questions about these tools, our services, or your SEO campaign, you can contact us here.