3 Free Google Tools Every Website Owner Should Be Using
As a small business owner, time and money are precious commodities. You spent hard-earned dollars building a new website so you can reach new customers, engage with existing customers and grow your business. But did you consider who would be responsible for monitoring traffic and maintaining the site so those dollars you just spent aren’t wasted? Don’t you want to ensure your business can be easily found online and your website is performing well?
Before you spend money to hire someone to take care of it for you, let me introduce you to three FREE Google Tools you can use to do it yourself. All you need is a free Google account to access them.
With Google Analytics you get some amazing information about your website. It will provide you with a comprehensive look at traffic and how visitors interact with your site. You can learn about the total number of visitors to a page (new and returning), what pages get the most views, the average time visitors spend on a page and much more.
After you sign up for Google Analytics, you get a piece of HTML code to add to a file on your website, which is something the person who designed your site can easily add in 5 minutes. Within days you can have access to insightful reports that will also let you know:
- What search engines or social networks your traffic came from
- Which pages/posts are working for you and which need improvement
- Keywords or phrases used to find your site
- How landing (sales) pages and ad campaigns are performing
- Your website’s audience and demographic makeup
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools)
Want to know how to improve your site’s visibility in search? Want to know how healthy Google thinks your website is? All you have to do is set up a free Google Search Console account. Google Search Console lets you know how the search engine interacts with your site and it will alert you to any red flags that could prevent your site from getting found in search results. Some examples of red flags are broken links, pages that cannot be crawled, coding errors and slow load times.
There is some overlap with Google Analytics as it can also help you analyze your existing search traffic so you can understand how visitors are currently finding you. So if you find installing and using Google Analytics a bit overwhelming, I recommend you at least set up Google Search Console.
Google My Business
Nearly 86% of all internet searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or place.1 So if you want to reach customers, you have to go where they are – Google. Think of Google My Business as a necessary supplement to your website if you are a local business. Google My Business is the new Yellow Pages but it also gives you free advertising and makes your local business easier to find with its free Google Maps feature.
It’s a one-stop service where business owners can update their business information like address, phone and store hours. Owners can also add photos or virtual tours, share and respond to customer reviews, and more.
So before you spend more money on website development or internet marketing, be sure to add these three free Google tools. They will give you the insight you will need when you later decide to increase your internet marketing spending.
1 Search Engine Watch, May 20, 2014