Thanks to its dominant position as a search engine, Google has become a household name and an important part of any online marketing strategy. But what a lot of people don’t know is that Google also offers many excellent marketing tools for marketers and webmasters. Here are some of my favourite ones:
Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics)
Google Analytics brings enterprise-level web analytics to your business for free. You can analyze your visitors’ behaviour, generate content ideas, and discover insights into your website traffic that can help increase sales.
When using Google Analytics, make sure you have your conversion goals set up for important actions such as contact-form submissions and online purchases. This will allow you to gain insights on how you can optimize your web traffic.
Google Webmaster Tools (www.google.com/webmasters/tools/)
Google Webmaster Tools is a toolkit that can help you diagnose your website. Check it regularly for suggestions on how to fix problems such as duplicate page titles or meta tags (elements you build in to provide meta data about your site, e.g., the location your business serves). You can also submit an XML (language that defines rules for encoding documents) file of your site to help all the pages get indexed.
Google Places (www.google.com/placesforbusiness)
Google Places allows you to create an online business profile that can be integrated into Google’s search results. According to Google, 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.
Google+ is Google’s latest social media platform. To give businesses incentives to sign up, they are offering small boosts to web pages that have Google+ enabled in their search procedure. Naturally, you should take advantage of this incentive by adding the button to your website.
Google Blogs Search (www.google.com/blogsearch)
Google Blogs Search is the perfect tool to use when you are looking for guest bloggers or blog posts to comment on. My team likes to use Google Blogs Search to search for blogs on a particular sector or industry and then keep all of the URLs on a spreadsheet that we can use for a client.
Google Insights (www.google.com/insights/search/):
Google Insights is an extremely powerful research tool that allows you to compare search volume across specific time, regions, and categories. Some of the cool things you can do with this data include identifying seasonal trends and tracking a company’s brand awareness.
Google Website Optimizer (www.google.com/websiteoptimizer):
Google Website Optimizer is a free split-testing, or comparing, tool that allows you to test and optimize your site content and design to quickly improve conversion and increase your ROI. Never forget: a 10-percent increase in revenue through optimizing your existing marketing budget could result in a 100-percent profit increase for your business!
Google Keyword Tool (www.adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal):
The official Google Keyword Tool allows you to type in any word or phrase and display related keyword ideas. It will show you how often the keywords are searched. This tool is primarily designed to help Google Adwords advertisers.
Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts)
Google Alerts is the poor man’s social media monitoring tool. It can e-mail you updates of the latest relevant news based on your queries. You can use it to keep an eye on a developing story, get the latest news in your industry, or even monitor what your competitors are doing.
Google News (www.news.google.com/) and Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader)
Google News and Google Reader are both free news aggregators. Google News pulls relevant stories from a few dozen major news sites based on your keyword. Use this tool to get automatic updates of your favourite sites – and your competitors’.
Martin Wong is a partner at Smartt (www.marketingsmartt.com), a consulting agency that creates and executes digital roadmaps for ambitious organizations. With over 10 years’ experience in online marketing, Martin combines his extensive insights and Google certifications to provide informed and measurable business solutions. Martin can be reached at 604-473-9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org