Building your website Google ranking is vital for increasing traffic, generating leads and increasing revenue, so it’s worth while putting time and effort into your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Whilst it’s a pretty time consuming job on it’s own, there is some help out there; Google themselves have created a few helpful tools to help you optimise your site.
Here’s our pick of the best Google Tools for SEO
Google My Business
If you’ve got a local business that serves people in a set area, you’re going to need a Google My Business (GMB) listing. Google’s free local listing tool helps your website show up in local search and even display in Google’s Map Pack feature!
Adding your business to GMB is pretty straight forward, register online using your business name, address and postcode and wait for your verification code (which usually arrives in the post a few days later).
Once you’re verified, you can begin building your Local SEO rankings by updating your GMB images, reviews, business services and much more. Don’t forget to add your website to your listing, as this helps generate traffic via click through from Google search.
Google Analytics (GA) provides vital insight into your website and how users interact with it. Using Analytics, you’ll be able to access important information such as how users enter your site, which pages they use the most, which pages they use the least and everything in between.
The default GA Dashboard includes weekly site visitors, traffic source, pages, devices used and real time users.
There’s a little technical skill required to set up your Google Analytics account, but it’s well worth setting up. Integration with your site works by adding some code to your website header, don’t worry, Google has an easy to follow walkthrough. If you’re using a WordPress website there are plenty of plugins you can use to quickly and easily integrate your Analytics code without much fuss.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is possibly the most technical to implement of all the free Google SEO tools, but it’s the most important one to use.
Search console is effectively the communication tool between your website and Google itself, where you can get your site ‘indexed’ and your pages ranking more quickly in Google.
There’s plenty of useful stuff in GSC, including sitemap submission (where you can provide Google with a text based ‘map’ of your site), link information (such as where and how many links your site has) and up to date organic keyword information, which gives you an idea of what your site is showing for.
It’s a pretty comprehensive tool, which we’ll be covering in more depth at a later date. In the meantime:
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is primarily used to launch ‘tags’ on your site, which can help monitor everything from site traffic to conversions. If you’re serious about improving your SEO, you really need to know what’s working and where to focus your efforts.
Using GTM and conversion tracking (which effectively notes one ‘conversion’ in analytics after a give action, such as form fill or product order) can give you some real insight into which elements of SEO are working, as well as your other traffic to. As an example, with GTM conversions and Analytics, you would be able to quickly and easily determine not only where your traffic is coming from, but which channels are driving sales.
Conversions can be anything you need, here’s our most used:
- Form Submissions; to determine which avenue and pages are driving enquiries and leads
- eCommerce Orders; to determine which ad campaigns or organic searches are driving sales
- Time on Site; a softer metric, which can indicate the quality of your site content
- Scroll Depth; how far down do users scroll on your site? This can help make important decisions about button placement for example
- Page Load; monitor loading of a specific page, this can be used for remarketing to, determining which users are more interested in your services.
TRY IT YOURSELF: Visit our Keyword Checker Page here and keep your eye out for our ads on Facebook later!
Adding Google Tag Manager to your site is very similar to GA, pasting a section of code into your header. If you’re using WordPress, you can also try Google’s Site Kit plugin, which does most of the work for you, but you will still need to sign up to a GTM account.
Google Structured Data Markup Tool
We’ve been banging on about Structured Data (known commonly as Schema) for a while now and with good reason; it’s the difference between good SEO and great SEO!
Schema helps your website communicate with Google to better understand what your site entails, using specific code. The coding varies depending upon what you’re trying to communicate, but to give you an example, you can add structured data to your site to help with anything from Local Business information, to FAQ’s and information on your blog posts.
At Convert, we use structured data on every blog post and article we ever release. Why? Using structured data gives your website content a better chance of being featured in rich snippets, which are more visible on results pages, ultimately taking Google Position Zero; in short, schema helps increase organic traffic!
Whilst structured data on it’s own can be a little confusing, you don’t really need to know how to code to get your head around it. Google’s Structured Data Markup Tool provides a really intuitive ‘go between’ tool which loads your site and provides a click based generator (clicking on your business address will add it to your Local Business info for example), which creates the HTML for you to simply copy and paste.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Guess what this does? Yep, it tests your structured data. Whilst Googles Structured Data Markup Tool is pretty accurate, it’s always worth running your code through the tester to be sure. You can also paste URL’s into the testing tool, to see what (if any) types of structured data your site is producing, this will give you an idea of what featured snippets you could achieve.
There’s also plenty of schema code out there, which isn’t covered in the basic Markup Tool, such as Recipes or Service Listings, which you’ll need to piece together yourself. Using the testing tool is worth while in this case, as it helps iron out any issues.
The Wrap Up
Whilst Google sometimes gets a bad rep, it does make it’s money, ultimately from delivering rock solid search results, so it’s within their interest to get things right. That means their free tools are well worth persevering with, if you’re determined to reach page one with your SEO efforts.
Sure, some of the tools are more useful than others and some may seem downright confusing, but they are work together to give you the best possible chance of improving organic rankings and (eventually) driving traffic.
If you’re stuck on a particular SEO problem, get in touch, we can help! Visit our Organic Search service page for more information.
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