TLWR: Take advantage of these five very accessible and free Google platforms to grow your business - Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google My Business, Google Trends, and Google PageSpeed Insights.
When it comes to business growth strategies for small businesses, there is nothing quite as awesome as free tools… as long as they’re reliable. But how can you know if a company offering you free information online is reliable? Don’t worry… I’ve got you covered. If anyone online has proven their reliability, it’s the people over at Google – so in today’s blog we’re going to present you with five completely free online tools from Google that will help you with your seo plan for business growth!
1) Google Analytics (for website performance)
Google Analytics (GA) is a fundamental data tracking tool when it comes to growing your business online. If you are not sure whether you already have an account, I’d suggest asking others on your team (or whoever does your marketing) before you get all gung-ho, find a tutorial, and create a new one. I’d give you kudos for your ambition, but I often see businesses that have unintentionally created multiple GA accounts, and it can make things more complicated than necessary.
One issue with creating new accounts is that you won’t have all of the previous data from past years in there… so why start from scratch when you might already have data in another GA account? If someone else has already created an account, you can simply ask them for access and you’re good to go. Having multiple GA accounts can get troublesome when you unintentionally start incorporating multiple tracking codes from all sorts of different places on your website… in this business, let’s always aim to be as streamlined as possible because small errors today can become a large headache for your digital marketing and business success down the line.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is simply the best way to view high-quality data and detailed information about your website(s). Many other data tools you will find actually just get their data from GA, and simply don’t mention it. If you market your business with a website by Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or other similar builders, they have areas within their backend that show you website analytics and while you might be assuming they are gathering that data themselves… in actuality, they are pulling it from GA and repackaging the look and contents to what they feel is important.
What practical applications does Google Analytics have?
With Google Analytics, you can see your performance over many years, which can help you make better business decisions. If you notice that you are getting most of your traffic from people on desktop computers, then that could affect the way in which you design your website to optimize for their desktop viewing experience. If you notice your old blog posts are only getting 10 views a month while other newer ones get 1000 views in the same time frame, you can choose whether or not it is time to delete the old post, update it, or incorporate its content into a newer, better-performing blog that it would fit easily within (which would boost the performance of the better blog).
Are you running a business that can sell products/services around the globe? Then wouldn’t it be nice to know the cities from which you receive the most traffic, so you can create future marketing or ad campaigns that target those areas? The situations where GA can help could go on for nearly forever… but you get the point. This is a free Google tool that you must get today, so you can begin collecting data that allows you to make informed decisions in the months and years ahead.
2) Google Search Console (for technical SEO)
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is definitely the second in command when it comes to free data tools offered by Google. After you have created or received access to your GA, this is the next area you should focus on securing.
What is Google Search Console?
This online tool’s strength is in search, optimization, and identifying errors. Google Search Console has some overlap of information you can get in GA but it is presented in a simpler fashion… and because of that, there are less options for customization of reporting but you can get in and out much more quickly with the data you were looking for. With GSC, you are able to see simple graphing of the performance of your website. Two of the most regularly graphed data sets I use are the impressions and clicks your website is receiving. You can use this information to adjust the content of your website to create a better user experience.
What are some example uses of Google Search Console?
Let’s say you populate your graphs, and you see that you are getting 1000 impressions on Google per day for a certain search term, but 0 clicks. You can now ask yourself why that is, and make an adjustment plan to entice more searchers to click your result. What do you think the user’s search intent was? Could the problem be that your title tag is poorly written? These are things you need to be on top of to optimize your online marketing and potential website traffic.
Another useful tool within GSC is the information they give you on links. You can see all of the websites that link over to yours, which is great for things like tracking backlink growth, or checking whether you have spammy backlinks in order to disavow them and prevent them from negatively affecting Google’s perception of your site (and your ranking). There are so many great things you are able to do once you have this tool in your arsenal. Get it today and take a look around at all of the information available, so you can decide what’s relevant for your own business goals.
3) Google Trends (for topic research)
Tired of hearing me tell you to go put in work to secure your GA and GSC accounts? Well, you’re in luck! This is a Google tool that you don’t need to sign up for or paste code onto your website to be able to use. This is as simple as it gets… just go visit the site!
What is Google Trends?
This is a tool I can see you using multiple times a week just because it’s so fun! This tool shows you what is hot right now. It can also tell you if an industry is growing or shrinking in search volume throughout time. You are able to filter by country, state, province, city, time frames, and much more. I’m sure I don’t have to explain much about the practical applications of this to you since it is so straightforward… but here are some uses anyway...
Using Google Trends to Help Your Business
To take advantage of this tool, simply type in your industry (or relevant industry keywords) and see the spikes in searches/traffic it gets each year during a certain season or month… or week… or day… and then figure out how to capitalize on the seasonality of that.
This tool is also amazing at comparing multiple terms on the same graph. If, for example, you wanted to know if more people in your city were searching for “underarm waxing” or “armpit waxing”, you could compare them in Google Trends (assuming they have enough search traffic in your city).
Another use for Google Trends is assistance with when to write content. If, for example, you use some tools online to check the search volume for a phrase, and see it received 1,000,000 searches in the current year… you might assume it’s a good topic to create content around. But what if that was just a trendy topic during January of that year because of a celebrity mention, and the remaining 11 months (and presumably for the future as well) it received no searches? This is something you can see in Google Trends, because you can see a giant spike in January and then a trickle of searches for the rest of the year. You would be better off choosing an option that had only 100,000 searches in the entire year but had a more reliable and ongoing search volume so people will actually see your content.
Furthermore, Google Trends can serve as a valuable tool for market research and identifying emerging trends. By exploring the search volume and interest in specific topics, you can gain insights into evolving consumer preferences and stay ahead of the competition. Keeping a pulse on the latest trends allows you to adapt your products, services, and marketing strategies to meet the ever-changing demands of your target audience. With Google Trends as your ally, you can unlock a world of possibilities and drive your business towards continuous growth and success.
As with any tool, I could go on forever with ways they can benefit you and your business, but I’d suggest just going over to Google Trends and playing around with it.
4) Google Business Profile (for local SEO)
This is the thing that gets your business profile up on Google so that people can give you Google Reviews, see your hours, and more! You've seen these before but you may not have known what they are called or how to get one for yourself.
What's the Buzz with Google My Business?
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business or GMB) is a game-changer for your local business' online presence. It helps you create and manage your business listing on Google, attracting local customers and showcasing your products and services. With GBP, you can rise to the top of local search results and Google Maps. It's a ticket to success!
Getting Down to Business with GBP
Before diving into GBP, check if you already have an account. Avoid duplicating efforts and complications. If you've got an existing GBP account, request access and save yourself the trouble. No need to start from scratch! If you have accidentally created a duplicate profile there's no need to worry as there's a simple process you can do to mark it as a duplicate and Google will eventually get around to resolving it for you. Do this as soon as possible so your Google Reviews don't become splintered.
Get Your Business Listing Game On!
Now, let's get to the point. GBP lets you share crucial information about your business. Provide your address, hours, contacts, and website link. If your website domain has an SSL certificate be sure to add the "https://" to the beginning of your web address instead of just "http://". Don't forget to add eye-catching photos to attract potential customers. A picture speaks volumes!
Customer Reviews: Engage like a Pro!
Reviews can make or break your business. With GBP, you have the power to handle reviews professionally. Respond to feedback and build trust with your customers. Keep your reputation intact! Respond to good reviews AND bad reviews. Think of the bad ones as an opportunity to show anyone else who may be searching your company how you handle bad situations. Act professionally, offer solutions, and explain what exactly happened. If handles properly, a 1-star review could arguably do you more good than a 5-star review because a potential customer might like the way you handled it.
Insights: The Key to Growth!
Uncover valuable insights with GBP. Analyze how your business listing performs, understand your audience, and track their actions. Make data-driven moves that give you an edge. The analytics they offer are always changing so be sure to check back often and see if there is anything new you can use to your advantage.
From Search to Maps: Get Your Business on the Map!
For brick-and-mortar businesses, GBP integrates seamlessly with Google Maps. Optimize your listing, ensure accurate location information, and boost your visibility in local search results and on Google Maps.
So, savvy business owners, it's time to embrace GBP. Create and manage your listing, engage with customers, track your performance, and conquer the local search scene. Google Business Profile is your ally for business growth the Google way!
5) Google PageSpeed Insights (for user experience)
Speed matters! Turbocharge your website with Google PageSpeed Insights, a free tool that evaluates your website's speed and provides suggestions for a faster, smoother user experience.
We live in a fast-paced world, and your website needs to keep up. Slow-loading pages can drive visitors crazy and turn them away faster than you can say "buffering." Enter Google PageSpeed Insights – your ticket to a faster, more efficient website.
What's all the excitement about Google PageSpeed Insights?
Let’s get straight to the point – nobody likes a slow website. Google knows this, and that’s why they offer the PageSpeed Insights tool. It's like having a speed consultant for your website, telling you what's slowing it down and how to fix it.
How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights?
Using it is a breeze. Go to the PageSpeed Insights page, enter your URL, and hit "Analyze." In a blink of an eye, you'll get a speed score and a list of suggestions. It's like having a fitness trainer for your website, but instead of push-ups and pain, it's about loading faster and getting more website visitors.
Why Does Page Speed Matter for Your Business?
Think about your own internet habits. How patient are you when a website takes forever to load? Exactly. Your customers are no different. A faster website not only keeps visitors happy but also improves your search engine rankings. All things equal, Google will be more likely rank your website higher in the mobile search results if it's faster than your competitors' websites. Google loves speedy sites, and so do your potential customers.
Don't let a slow website be the anchor holding back your national or local business online. Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights, follow the suggestions, and watch your website go from a leisurely stroll to a sprint.
So, small business owners, it's time to prioritize your website speed. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to give your website the boost it deserves. Because in the digital world, speed isn’t just a feature; it's a necessity!
You Now Know the 5 Best Free Google Tools for Business Growth Online
There are so many places to go online to find data that it can get very confusing. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t spend money on things you don’t have to. Start by taking full advantage of these five free Google tools over the next month and really get to know them. Once you’ve built an understanding of how they work, and begin to make plans to improve your business thanks to their data… then consider expanding to other platforms or even investing in some of the ones that cost money. For now… get out there and have fun with these!
Also, while they may not directly help your rankings, these are some more free Google tools worth looking into: Google Docs, Google Drive, and even some aspects of the Google Ads platform. We may hash those out in this article in the future so check back!
If you would like to have a professional marketing team handle everything for you then I'd suggest taking a look at our digital marketing services and reaching out today.