There’s an age-old question: if a tree falls in a forest, and nobody hears it, did the tree make a sound? These days, we usually think that, by its nature, a tree produces sound waves when hitting the ground, whether or not anyone (or a nearby animal) picks up those sound waves. In some ways, having a website is just like having a tree that falls to the ground: it’s there, but this doesn’t mean that people discover, read, or visit the website.
In order for people to visit your website in significant numbers, there’s little question that the site needs to be easily discoverable on the internet, usually through a search engine. Despite the efforts of a few companies, Google is the largest search engine on the planet right now. For this reason, website owners need to ensure that their sites rank well on Google search engine results for their target keyword.
Fortunately for us, Google has invested in developing a plethora of search engine optimization (SEO) tools that can benefit our business. That’s right: Google actually wants to help you get your content in their search engine. So what are you waiting for? Check out these 17 Google SEO tools and start optimizing today!
Google SEO Tools to Help Speed Up Your Site
When it comes to SEO on Google and other search engines, page load speed is very important. One of the reasons for this is that search engines penalize websites for a high bounce rate: the frequency with which people go to a website and leave almost immediately. Because a poor visitor experience due to slow load speeds is a major contributor to bounce rate, speeding up your website is essential. This list of Google SEO tools is made by Google itself.
This is one of the best Google SEO tools in that it gives you a performance score for both desktop and mobile browsers. When you type a web address in the search bar, the program sends out an automated inquiry to the site that automatically gathers information. Results include a performance score and detailed metrics that let you see where the strengths and weaknesses are that need to be addressed to speed up your site.
Further Reading: SEO Report: What Metrics to Include (with 27 Suggestions)
Mobile internet use makes up an ever-increasing segment of most web searches and site visits these days, and Google measures your performance on both. For this reason, your site’s mobile-friendliness is a more important aspect of overall performance and customer experience than it ever has been. Google’s mobile-friendly test is part of Google Search Console, a suite of tools for website owners.
Test My Site is another one of the native Google SEO tools. In this case, they tell you how fast your site loads on a mobile connection. You can choose the United States or a few other countries. The default assumes a 4G connection, but you can select other options.
Google gives you more than just a raw score (the number of seconds it takes to start loading). They also give you suggestions on how you can increase your site speed. This way, it’s much easier to fix problems before they cost you a lot of places on the Google search results.
Lighthouse is a more comprehensive tool that you can install into your website code, use from a browser, or leverage in other ways. The nice thing about Lighthouse is that it’s more detailed: not only do you get information broken down by site segment, but you can ask for the program to ONLY analyze a particular segment. So, if you only need to work on one page of your site, you won’t have extra, distracting information to sift through. Plus, it’s easier to troubleshoot this way.
Once you start using Google Ads, it’s time to check out Tag Manager. This is one of the Google SEO tools that work best with advertising campaigns because it tracks your website tags. From there, you can use the tags to track your advertising and social media marketing efforts. You can even use it for campaign-based tags. And, once you get affiliates and leverage influencer marketing, these tags are a godsend. Best of all, the tags help with SEO because Google indexes them and tracks how often they’re used.
Google SEO Tools for Analytics and Reporting
Some people might think that good SEO practices are mainly limited to leveraging keywords and managing site speed. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, Google tracks a lot of other things, such as how long your visitors stay on the site and how many quality backlinks you have. To benefit from all the aspects of SEO, you should check out analytics information. These Google SEO tools will help you do just that.
Search Console is arguably the most important and comprehensive of the Google SEO tools because it looks at every aspect of your website from an SEO perspective. Not only do you get insights and tips for improvement, but Google also gives you the opportunity to submit your site maps for crawling and indexing. This means that using Search Console is one of the best ways to get indexed quickly and, therefore, get your content discovered.
No matter what kind of website you run, Google Analytics is the most important tool to use. It helps you with SEO by tracking statistics such as unique visitors, dwell time, and how each visitor got to/discovered your website. Analytics tells you a lot about your audience too, such as where they came from, what Google can learn about general demographics, and other insights. Using this information, it’s easier to tweak strategy, such as by identifying an audience you didn’t know existed or discovering that a technique you thought works is really your weakest.
How does this help SEO? In short, you can use the information to find opportunities, such as adding keywords or discontinuing old ones, that will improve your rankings. In addition, analytics information helps you to answer the challenges put to you by competitors.
Further Reading: Small Business SEO: How to Get Your Site to Rank in Google
Data studio is a sort of counterpart to Google Analytics because it is the only one of these Google SEO tools that’s visual. Here, you take the data from your analytics tools and turn them into charts and other presentation-worthy media. It helps for SEO because of the benefits of communication. In addition, sometimes we “see” things through visual presentations of data that we wouldn’t be staring at in an Excel spreadsheet or similar.
Google SEO Research Tools
Let’s face it: analytics will only get you so far. That’s because analytics mostly deal with what you already have, and are based on past performance. On the other hand, Google SEO tools that are research-focused will let you strategize for future pages or campaigns.
Keyword Planner is for website owners that want to not only improve their SEO but also publish Google ads. The idea of Keyword Planner is simple: find new relevant keywords, and identify opportunities. Google will even give you an estimate on how much it would cost to run ads on that particular keyword. This way, you can create content and advertise for the most advantageous keywords, while avoiding the ones that are too competitive. Over time, this should improve your SERP position.
You probably don’t think of the basic search as counting among the Google SEO tools. However, it’s one of the best ways to see what ranks for a particular keyword. At the same time, you can identify new competitors, see what other people are publishing on your topic, and much more. Then, you can use competitor analysis and other tools to try and rank better than the competition.
If you want some inspiration-and something that’ll get you a lot of website visits-check out Google Trends. This tool shows you what people are searching for in a given market. You can pick worldwide, or any segment of it. In return, you’ll get some long-tail keywords for future research.
Further Reading: 11 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know in 2024
Monitoring for new content on a particular topic is easy with Google Alerts. To use this, go to the page, and simply type in what you want to monitor. Then, Google will let you know when there’s new content to review. This helps with SEO in several ways. First, you can see threats to your SERP position relatively early, and answer the challenge. And second, monitoring trends in a discussion helps to ensure that your website content is the most relevant for a particular question.
Google SEO Marketing Tools
On-page SEO is only part of the story, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. These Google SEO tools will help you dominate the SERPs when it really matters: your core products and services. Plus, they’ll help you reel in business, both online and on location.
Google My Business is one of the best Google SEO tools for small businesses. That’s because it ensures that your website is indexed on Google and that something will show up in search if someone looks up your business. Use it for local SEO, too, so that if someone looks for “business type, town” you’ll show up. This is one of the best tools for driving traffic to both your website and your brick-and-mortar location. Best of all, you don’t have to be competitive to receive this listing. There’s really no reason to not use GMB.
Everyone loves YouTube these days. After all, it was one of the best windows into the outside world during the COVID lockdowns and beyond. However, from an SEO perspective, there are two main points. First, YouTube is its own search engine, in that you look for videos based on keywords. Since YouTube is less competitive than the broader Google search engine, you have a great chance to rank. Second, YouTube videos show up in the “video” tab on a Google search, boosting your chances of being noticed.
Further Reading: Video Marketing SEO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Video for Search
Google Ads (purchased through Ads Manager) are a way to get your website noticed without having to be the best site by SEO standards. That’s because you’re paying for ad placement on a relevant search page. Set this up as a pay-per-click campaign, an Adwords placement, or even a visual ad. Either way, this paid SEO tool is highly effective. Just be sure to pick the right keywords for maximum ROI.
Google SEO WordPress Tools
If you have a WordPress site, then there are some Google SEO tools just for you. These help you optimize your WordPress site so that it has the best possible SERP position. In addition, they’ll help you create a great website that people love to visit.
If the sheer number of Google SEO tools above seems overwhelming, Google has an app for that. Sort of. Site Kit is a WordPress plugin that combines the information from all of the other Google products into one widget. You can then view everything right in your WordPress dashboard. Not only do you not have to look at all the pages to get the information, but you can more easily see the most important information and act on it. In other words, Site Kit makes SEO monitoring and improvement much easier.
Web Stories help you tell a story in a visual format. There’s a Google search tab that’s dedicated to images, and Web Stories helps you tap into this SEO advantage. In addition, visuals are another tool that Google can index, potentially raising your website’s position on Google Search pages. Best of all, it’s super easy to use, so you don’t need a lot of extra skills.
There’s little question that SEO is more competitive every day. As the Web expands and access to the internet becomes more democratic, there’s a constant proliferation of tools and cheats. Fortunately, site owners have access to a lot of free tools to help them succeed. In particular, these Google SEO tools are a major leg up from the world’s largest search engine.
Hero Photo by Kristin Wilson on Unsplash