Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the practice of optimizing a website to achieve a higher ranking in search engines in order to increase quality traffic to the site.
Indexing is the process by which Google crawlers store and categorise information and content they find on websites, ready to be displayed in SERPs.
A Google penalty is an action of penalisation placed on a website for using ill practices to artificially increase their rankings on Google’s search engine.
A list of phrases and keywords users enter in search engines to find things of interest.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the % of users who clicked through to an offer, after seeing it via an advertisement or campaign. Your click-through rate can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks by impressions and multiplying that by 100.
Impressions are defined as the number of people who saw your campaign or ad, but didn’t interact with it. You can often find this metric in paid advertising channels.
The number of individuals who visited a website or set of web pages in a given time period. E.g One person visiting multiple times throughout the day, is counted as one unique visitor.
PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is when companies only pay when someone clicks on their ads. It is one of the most popular methods of paid internet advertising.
Keyword research is a market research based activity. Often used to identify words and phrases most appropriate to target, in order to generate brand awareness and attract a specific target audience.
Since the search engine currently accounts for 70% of all searches, their SEO tools harness the most accurate and comprehensive source of data.
The best part of using these tools is that they’re free and generally unlimited. Here are 13 SEO tools built by Google you should consider adding to your wheelhouse.
Google Lighthouse is designed to improve your website's UX and performance. Auditing four different components, Google Lighthouse examines accessibility, Progressive Web Apps, performance, and SEO.
The results of these audits will give you a clear picture of the overall performance of your desktop site, web app, or mobile site.
Site speed is different for every user. Some people might have access to superfast 5g while others might only have unreliable 3g available. Google Lighthouse tells you exactly how each of these users will experience your site.
It will indicate if any of your web pages feel sluggish. As we all know slow or unresponsive web pages result in fewer conversions. This tool is perfect for getting your site up to speed.
Alternatives: Dareboost, WebsiteSpeedchecker.com
This is a great tool for seeing how Google views the technical elements of your site from a ranking perspective. Google Search Console will find all those blockers that are stopping your web properties from ranking well on search engines.
On top of identifying technical issues, you can also use the platform to identify the exact search queries users enter into Google to find your web pages.
Within the ‘Search Queries’ report, explore the analytics for each query, to see which pages need an SEO boost. These pages are generally those with high impressions and low CTR.
Alternatively, the platform can tell you if you might want to reconsider your keyword strategy if your site has lots of pages with low impressions and low position.
Once you’ve got a solid SEO strategy in place, you’ll want to know if it’s helping to bring you more organic traffic. This is where analytical tools come into play.
If you care about making page 1 on Google search results, it’s best to stick to Google Analytics which uses all of its own data.
Other analytical tools usually just piggyback off Google’s data anyway, so you may as well use Google Analytics which is both free and accurate - a win-win situation.
Google Analytics tracks every minute piece of data related to your site’s visitors and traffic. Uncover keyword insights to find which search terms people use to land on your page so you know which elements of your keyword strategy are working.
Carrying out a successful and thorough SEO strategy is challenging if not impossible without performing regular analysis of your site. To stay ahead of the curve and competition, use Google Analytics to help you formulate a successful SEO strategy.
Alternatives: Matomo, FoxMetrics
Find Google Analytics and its vast data overwhelming? This Google SEO tool presents the data in visual, easy to read reports, and dashboards to help you interpret all the relevant information correctly.
View graphics like colour-coded maps showing the top countries by sessions or graphs to show you how site sessions are trending.
It integrates with other Google SEO tools, so you can also source data from Google Search Console to ensure your reports are as detailed as possible.
When it comes to putting together a strong keyword strategy, you’ll need a clear idea of some essential stats to guide your strategy.
Enter a seed keyword and find out the monthly search volume, competition and up to 300 suggested keywords. Using these metrics, you’ll quickly find out which keywords are better to include and which you can leave out.
It’s also easy to export and save data so you can easily refer back to the keywords when you’re planning your content strategy.
While this Google SEO tool provides plenty of essential keyword metrics, don’t confuse it with being the best or most varied keyword generator. You’ll be better off with more specific keyword research tools.
Google My Business is a pretty essential SEO tool if you run a local business with area-specific services or products.
This Google SEO tool allows you to claim your business on Google Maps so potential customers can easily find and locate your business.
Once you’ve claimed your business and it’s appearing on Google Maps, you can add photos and offers to your profile to draw in your target audience.
Google My Business basically gives you control over how you want your business to appear in its listing after appearing in a search.
The set up also allows you to add multiple ways for potential customers to contact you by messaging or calling your business directly.
Relevant statistics give you an accurate indication of how your customers connect with the business. View the total number of searches for your business, the number of calls and how many views your business received.
Want to know any time someone mentions you or your business online? Or do you want to spy on your competitors’ mentions?
Google Alerts is a pretty simple tool to use. Anytime there’s a mention of the exact phrase you want alerts for, Google sends you an alert via email.
While it’s nice to know when you or your business receive a mention, it’s actually essential information when it comes to identifying link building opportunities, or potential brand collaborations. You can use your competitors’ mentions to help guide your strategy.
Alternatives: Mention, Ahrefs Alerts
Waiting around for website updates and long development timelines is undoubtedly frustrating.
Google Tag Manager is a tool that allows you to easily update measurement codes and related code fragments known as tags on your website or app meaning you don’t need to rely on a web developer to do it for you which will ultimately save you time and your marketing budget.
As a more advanced technical Google SEO tool, it can take some time to get your head around some of the concepts. However, once code is installed on your site, you can then edit lots of the common marketing tags without further code updates.
Having a mobile optimised site is essential for ensuring you reach more customers quickly. A clear, easy to use and mobile-friendly site will ensure your site looks up to date and relevant. If your site is easy to navigate on a smartphone, it will increase customer satisfaction resulting in higher traffic and more conversions.
This Google SEO tool tests how easily a user can access and navigate your site’s pages from a mobile device. One essential step is to ensure all web pages look good in a vertical format. There should also be larger CTA buttons so that users can take the action they want to without clicking elsewhere by accident.
These aesthetic and navigation issues are all features the platform will analyse to ensure your users are having the best possible mobile experience.
It will also dive deep into technical issues like text that’s too small or plugins that don’t work to ensure your whole site is compatible with a mobile browser.
Google Trends is a useful tool for comparing popular search terms over a given time.
View whether a trend is increasing or declining in popularity. This data is especially useful for showing seasonal variations in search popularity.
If you’re in eCommerce or shipping this can be helpful for understanding the seasonal popularity of items. For example, if you sell sunglasses, you’ll be able to see during which months there’s a spike in popularity and when in others there’s a dip.
You can also use this data to inform when you might want to revamp old content that needs a refresh or when you want to increase your output of original content around seasonal trends.
Having access to this data is key for planning when you might want to run PPC, invest more in your SEO strategy or spend time planning your content strategy.
Unsurprisingly, page speed plays a big part in how your web pages perform in search results.
Choose to use Google Page Speeds Insights within a web browser or as a browser extension for Firefox or Google Chrome.
Simply enter your web pages’ URLs and the platform will test your pages’ performance and loading time on both desktop and mobile. It will then show you how to speed up your web pages and identify opportunities for improvement.
The mobile results also give you a user experience score, assessing things like font size and CTAs.
Alternatives: Pingdom, KeyCDN Site Speed Test
When users enjoy navigating your site you’ll naturally have higher levels of customer satisfaction, resulting in consistent engagement and higher rankings.
Understanding what your consumer wants and needs from your site is key to unlocking satisfaction.
Performing surveys is often the best way to gauge how your users feel about your site.
Google’s Consumer Surveys are free if you stick to the four default questions. If you want to dig deeper you’ll have to pay more but you can still get valuable insights into how users experience your site.
This Google SEO tool is particularly useful if you’re trying out a new design, layout or content strategy.
Perhaps the simplest Google SEO tool of them all, Google incognito mode can provide plenty of valuable insights.
When you open Google in an incognito window and start searching for different terms, a list of autofill options will begin to pop up. These automatic suggestions can help guide your initial keyword research and show you which phrases and queries are most commonly searched for.
Going incognito is essential as it means that any customised search data that Google would otherwise include gets left out. You can also go incognito to find out where your site truly ranks.
So there you have it - 13 Google SEO tools you can experiment with for free. Whether you want to analyse data you already have or get started with keyword research there’s a lot you can achieve with these tools.
As there are increasingly more SEO tools on the market, sometimes it’s good to keep it simple and use those directly created by Google.