If you’re an SEO professional the only thing that concerns you is how to get your site to rank on Google Page 1 for your specific keywords. That’s all fine and dandy – it was what you were hired to do, right?
If that’s the case, you’re also aware of the fact that wanting and wishing doesn’t get you any results. Everything you do is done for a specific purpose. Linking, onsite optimization, guest blogging, and the content you produce – it all has a singular purpose and that’s to rank #1.
You have hundreds of tools at your disposal that are going to help you do your job right. However, most of those tools you need to pay for. Everything high-end that you use is another cost; you might not be looking at it at such because, obviously, you need it to do your job but it is.
Google, however, is more than a search engine you’re trying to rank on. It’s a company that gives you most of the tools you need to do it effectively and all of those tools are completely free.
Some of these tools you won’t have a use for – they may be too rudimentary or don’t go well with your marketing. On the other hand, some of them you’re not using because you’ve never heard of them and that’s what we’re changing today.
Here’s my list of top 5 free Google tools for SEO professionals.
Google Keyword Planner
For an SEOer, keywords are bread and butter. You should be constantly on a lookout for keywords that people are actively searching and typing into Google. That’s not always easy and requires a lot of experimentation. Some keywords are difficult to rank for – for example ‘content marketing’, ‘SEO tips’, or ‘fat loss’. Google is inundated with those terms and you have to produce high-quality content and be prepared for a cut-throat battle with others in the niche if you want to rank well for them.
However, long-tail keywords that the Keyword Planner displays after you’ve typed in your query might be easier to rank for. In that case, you should focus on going after that type of traffic. So, ‘content marketing’ becomes ‘b2b content marketing examples’, or ‘SEO tips’ becomes ‘SEO tips for intermediate users’. Those terms have a fair bit of traffic flowing their way but not as nearly as much competition as shorter keywords.
Check out this video to find out how to use Keyword Planner for SEO purposes.
If you don’t know if what you’re doing is working, why are you doing it?
Also, if you don’t set clear goals for yourself and your site you will have no idea about the direction you’re going. Google Analytics allows you to check out pages on your site people are reading the most. It gives you an overview of your most popular content and tells you when something is working well. If some of your posts are getting no traction while some others are attracting people in droves, where are you going to focus?
Of course, you’re going to focus on producing more of the content that works for you. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that will tell you exactly that –what is working and what is not.
Here’s a video explaining the basics of tracking SEO metrics in Google Analytics.
Mobile-Friendly Test by Google
One thing you’re going to have to keep an eye on in the future is whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, especially with Google’s recent announcement about mobile-first indexing. It’s pretty clear that this will start having even a greater influence on sites’ ratings from now on.
Thankfully, Google has provided us with a tool that will easily help you determine if you’re on the right track and is your site easily accessed by mobile devices. Simply type in your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and you’ll get all the info you need, If your result is green, you’re good. If it turns red then it means you need to look into it.
PageSpeed Insights by Google
Nothing’s going to cripple your ranking more than slow loading times. Google is pretty adamant about user experience and slow pages simply don’t cut the mustard. If you want to make sure that you’re not penalized for speed, make sure that it isn’t an issue.
Luckily, you don’t have to jump through too many hoops to find out how fast your site is loading. With this clever little tool from Google, you will get a numerical representation of your site’s speed (from 0 to 100 – 100 being the best possible score). Also, you will get recommendations on how to improve your site’s loading time which will save you a lot of time you would spend hunting down those errors on your own.
Keyword Planner is a great tool for finding general long tail keywords for a seed keyword you enter into it. However, you might want to dig a bit deeper than that and that is what Google Correlate allows you to do. It’s a tool that lets you check which keywords are usually lumped together in peoples’ minds – keywords that frequently show up side by side.
Google Correlate quickly throws out a list of related keywords and the best thing is that the results closely correspond with real-time trends. That means that you will be finding additional keywords that people are searching for right now in relation to your term. This can help you find an interesting angle to work on for any given subject and result in quality traffic that’s going to boost your rankings.
Some of these tools are well known while others might be a bit of a mystery to you. However, rest assured that they are all extremely useful and will help you immensely in reaching your SEO goals. Did you use any of these tools in the past? If so, which ones? Drop me a comment below if you have any other suggestions!