Check out these four powerful and essential tools from Google that should be a part of your small business toolkit.
- Google Search Console – from Google: Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results. Here are some highlights of its features:
- What specific domains have links to pages on your website
- Count of clicks from a Google search results page that landed the user on your website
- Identify technical errors within your website that may prevent it from ranking more favorably in the Google search engine
- Google My Business – An essential tool that lets you create a local listing for your business. Considering that many, if not most, search inquiries through a popular search engine (like Google, Bing, or Google Maps) are done by mobile, those search results will take into account the user’s location. For that reason alone it is critical that your business is associated with a geographic location so that your customers can find you easily. Think of it as Google’s version of Yelp, yet with more features and completely free.
- Google Alerts – Devised primarily as a tool to “alert” you to new content of your liking that appears across the web, Google Alerts is also a formidable tool to perform reconnaissance in your sleep. Set alerts on your competitors, keywords, trends, or any other content and receive notifications to your email every time a new result is generated.
- *Google PageSpeed – One oft-neglected area of website optimization is website speed – essentially, how fast (or slow) it takes for your web pages for fully load for a visitor. Why is this important? Because most users are accustomed to fast loading pages. If a potential client performs a search, happens to click on your page, and the page takes more than a few seconds to load there is a great chance the person will just navigate away from your page. In fact, it’s estimated that a lot of business is lost this way. Fast-loading pages give your visitors a better user experience. All of this affects conversion rates, click-through rates, and how long a visitor spends on your page. Oh, and Google considers page speed in its algorithm to rank pages, so yeah, it’s really important you check yours. Lastly, this tool allows you simulate page speed on both desktop and mobile.
- Google Trends – Google says “See the latest trends, data and visualizations from Google. Find out what’s trending near you right now.” If you think strategically, this can be a useful tool for aligning your content to the most popular stories and topics trending in whatever area you choose.
*Read this important update about Google PageSpeed Insights