So, here’s our revised list of nine free Google tools you should consider. You’ll know many, no doubt use a few, but, in this industry, there’s always something new to try.
1. Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager eliminates code-editing tasks for your website. It lets you set up event tracking to help you track most important interactions/clicks visitors do on your site. It can be tracking downloads from your site, outbound links, newsletter submissions as well as contact form submissions. All that without having to ask your developer’s support. You will need to open your tag manager account, create a Container and add your Google Analytics so those tags are recorded as events in your Google Analytics.
Webmaster Tools gives your site a regular service; when signed in you’ll be able to see the top search queries and top clicked queries for your pages in Google’s index. The top search queries will show you the top 20 queries in which your site appeared, and the percentage of the top 20 queries represented by each search.
Find out if your site has a manual penalty, identify crawling issues and broken links, see how many pages are indexed, download links, test your robots.txt file or structured data, and plenty more, all for free. It’s a peek into how Google regards elements of your site.
Google Places for Business can be used to make your local listings easier to find online. Businesses can use their Google account to sign in to the app and start creating listings. It allows you to engage with other local businesses, post news and so on.
PageSpeed Insights analyses the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Google’s PageSpeed Tools includes a PageSpeed Insights browser extension for Chrome and Firefox (as an extension to Firebug), and an in-browser version that offers even further detail. Either option will give you some actionable data to get your site up to speed.
Content Experiments is part of Google Analytics and ties in with the goals you have created in Google Analytics, and lets you show several different variations of a page to users. This means you can test layouts, headlines, content, colours and more to find the optimum layout.
Using Google Alerts is a good tool for monitoring brand mentions and latest news on topics of your choice filtered by location, medium, language and geography. You can set up alerts on your business, on keywords relevant to your industry, alerts on your top clients, influential people in your industry as well as keep an eye on competition.
Google Trends is still a great tool for comparing traffic for different search terms, including historic, geographic and related terms (in Google’s mind) data. Understanding if a term is a rising or falling element of your topic’s vocabulary is valuable for creating enticing content, and available for free!
It feels that the new Planner is much more PPC focussed than the Keyword Tool it superseded, and the suggested keywords are often so broad to be useless. However, there are ways to still use the Keyword Planner to get keyword volumes and is a superb place to start.
Google Analytics remains a popular, and evolving tool, though there is increasing competition from alternatives such as Clicky, Open Web Analytics, WebTrends, Omniture and more.
So, that’s it – nine tools you can use for free from Google. While Google’s attitude to online marketers is increasingly questioned, there’s still plenty we can do with these free pieces of kit.
What are your favourite tools from Google? And what interesting uses do you make of them? Have we missed out a real gem? Let us know in the comments!