Is SEO dead?
No. And the answer is a clear NO. While search engines do continue to get smarter every day, SEO as we know it is still relevant and worth investing in.
The real trouble begins with the investment part.
Whether you try to do SEO yourself or are more inclined towards hiring a professional, you’re expected to spend a fair amount on premium SEO tools. Common wisdom dictates that without spending a small fortune on SEO software, you can’t really succeed in the SEO game.
Thankfully, this time at least, common wisdom is wrong.
Truth is, you don’t need to spend dollops on SEO tools and services for getting fast and efficient results. Google itself gives you access to a number of tools that you can use to spruce up your SEO efforts.
And the best part? These tools are available absolutely free of cost!
All you need is a Google account, and you’re good to go.
Don’t believe me?
Well, I’m here to clear all your doubts, and today I’ll be sharing with you details of three Google tools that you can use to ensure that you remain on top of your SEO efforts.
Let’s get started.
Using These 3 Free Google Tools For Your SEO Effort
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics Fundamental
The first tool I’m going to talk about is Google analytics.
Now, I’m sure that you’ve heard of this tool and have even used it multiple times for website performance analysis.
However, very few people know how to use this for SEO purposes. And that’s understandable because most people stop at the dashboard when it comes to Google analytics.
Trouble is, the dashboard is essentially vanity metrics central, and you’re bound to get lost in these fluffy stats.
So, the better option is to follow a few strategies to get targeted results.
How Analytics Can Help?
One of the major advantages of using Google Analytics is that it gives you insights into conversion metrics.
Using this data, you can identify pages and posts that contribute the most towards conversions.
Once you have a clear idea of the resources that have been working the best in your favor, then you can take steps to focus your attention on them.
Another way in which you can use Google Analytics for SEO is for keyword research. You won’t find much information on the keywords that draw most of the traffic to your site through GA anymore as Google decided not to share those data with users in order to protect searcher’s privacy.
But still, you can recover or identify some of the keywords using Google Webmaster Tools / Google Search Console and take the steps to remediate the same.
More on that later.
What’s more, you can also automate the monitoring of dips and spikes in organic traffic, and set up alerts for “page not found” errors. This will help you to identify the spots on your website which don’t yet have a great performance, and so you can take the steps to rectify these.
However, at this point, I must admit that just sticking with Google analytics won’t serve your SEO efforts entirely. You’ll need to ensure that you couple your analytics account with Google Search Console to get a comprehensive picture of your search landscape.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in the next section.
2. Google Search Console / Webmaster Tools
Google Search Console (GSC) provides you with a complete picture of your search performance.
From spam issues to structured data and more, GSC can deliver stunning results, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.
Firstly, GSC gives you complete data regarding which are the keywords that your website ranks for. Using the tool’s dashboard, you can find keywords you’re now ranking well for, and focus on the same.
But that’s not all. Search console works at a much deeper level and goes to the heart of the search.
Just consider this: how does the search engine know about your pages?
By indexing them.
And in order for the pages to be indexed it needs to be crawled by Google’s bots.
This ultimately translates to the simple fact that unless your website pages have been indexed properly, they won’t rank at all.
And this is exactly where GSC can help you.
It allows you to clearly understand which pages have been indexed properly, and which have not.
What’s more, for pages that have not been indexed properly, you can find out the reason, correct it, and submit it for re-indexing.
How the Search Console Enhances Organic Rankings
Apart from the above, GSC also helps to recognize website security issues.
For example, in case your website has been hacked, you’ll receive a notification in the security-related tab of the GSC immediately.
The notification will have details of the severity of the hack and probable causes.
Then, you can immediately contact your hosting service to get the issue resolved.
GSC is also helpful in optimizing the structured data of your website. This will help your website improve the chances of grabbing the featured snippets, that most coveted of all SERP locations.
In addition, GSC data lets you optimize your website for mobile search by giving device and channel-specific insights.
This way, you can identify pages that aren’t doing well on mobile, and optimize them for better organic performance.
Rule of thumb: Optimized for mobile and the rest will follow.
Further, you can identify flaws in internal linking structures, discover backlinking opportunities, and make sure sitemap related issues are fixed flawlessly.
You can even optimize vital website metrics such as CTR, and work to enhance rankings for under-performing keywords.
Use our SERP snippet preview tool to get a glimpse on how your meta information shows in the Google search result page.
Now, from the above, you can clearly understand that when it comes to power and capabilities, Google Search Console is at par with most paid tools.
Still, when it comes to the matter of local search, it does leave something to be desired.
Thankfully, Google has another free tool that can help you in that regard.
And that’s exactly the topic of our next section.
3. Google My Business
The Importance of Local SEO Search
If there’s one thing that I know, it’s this: local search makes sense.
I mean, when you’re searching to buy a pair of sneakers, you’ll not need to see results from a store halfway around the world, right?
That’s why Google has been placing more and more importance on local search. It’s no secret that currently a majority of the total number of searches on Google are from mobile.
What’s more interesting is that most of these searches are for local businesses. Local searches are usually high on intent, which means if your business appeared on a local search, there’s a very good chance it’ll be visited by the person who viewed the results.
The one place where most businesses get stuck when it comes to excelling on local search is that their search presence is buried deep under higher ranking links.
However, Google My Business can help you get past that hurdle.
What Is GMB?
Google My Business, also known as GMB, is the best, completely free method for local search superiority.
Using this tool, your business can get a high position on the Google SERPs, and gain better visibility.
GMB allows your business to quickly create and launch a website without needing to trouble yourself with any coding. What’s more, it also allows you to integrate location information in the search results using Google Maps, upload and share photos of your products, and even incorporate reviews.
In short, it’s a complete tool that lets you manage your online presence from a single interface.
But how can GMB help to boost your local SEO efforts?
Just feast your eyes on the following sections and clear all your doubts.
How GMB Can Help Boost SEO
Consider the order in which search results are displayed when you search for a particular term: first, you see the featured snippets, if any. Then this is followed by the Google ads results, followed by the top three local search results.
This goes to show you that if you take the featured snippets and ads out of the equation, local results occupy the topmost place on the SERPs, even above the organic links.
And when you create a GMB account, your chances of appearing in the local results multiplies.
The 5 Google My Business guide below are the essential steps that you need to take to ensure that GMB is fully optimized for SEO.
Google MY Business Brief Guide
1. Make Sure Your Business Is Verified
One of the prerequisites of using GMB is that your business must have a physical presence, and it must be verified.
This helps Google maps pinpoint your business location and allow visitors to reach it easily.
In order to verify your business, you need to use the GMB interface to ask for a unique five-digit code, that’ll be mailed to your business address.
After getting the code, just enter the code in the link provided and legitimize your business.
2. Keep Your Profile Updated
Google may not admit it, but the algorithm is finicky about details, and this extends to GMB profiles. So, always take care to fill all the details in your GMB profile. Even though some fields are optional, I recommend you fill them all out, just to be safe.
Also, make sure you use your complete business name in the profile and don’t stuff it with keywords. Plus, be sure to add your products and services with high-quality images. And remember to keep the information updated especially contact info. Otherwise, searchers may not be able to reach out to you.
3. Be Consistent About NAP
Nope, I’m not asking you to sleep at the same time. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, which must be consistent across all directories. I’m sure GMB isn’t the only online directory where you’re uploading your info. While that’s good for expanding exposure, be sure that the info is consistent. Otherwise, Google may just flag your info for inconsistencies.
4. Focus On Reviews
I’ve already mentioned that GMB allows you to manage and respond to reviews. But what I didn’t mention is that you must be very careful and provide impeccable service so that you get only the best ratings.
Careful analysis of the top three local results will tell you that the listings that get the best reviews feature on top.
So, focus well on reviews.
5. Link With Analytics
Last, but not least, always take care to link your profile with Google analytics. By tracking GMB data in analytics, you’ll be able to reap all the SEO benefits that come with the platform.
I get it, and hopefully so do you: packing everything about something as vast as the above three Google tools within a single article is tough work.
Still, I’ve tried to give you an overall idea of how these tools can help your SEO efforts succeed especially in the local search where JustRank specialized in.
Before I leave, however, I have one more piece of wisdom to share.
When talking about SEO, most people prefer to focus more on the technical side of things.
While this is obviously necessary, it’s not entirely sufficient. And there’s a good reason behind it.
Because at the end of the day, SEO is not about making your website rank well for search (though that is the end result).
Provide users the stellar search experiences that they deserved
Rather, it’s about presenting the searchers with stellar search experiences.
When customers can find exactly what they are looking for just when they need to, Google is bound to give your site the boost it deserves.
That’s where the above 3 free Google tools can help you.
While GMB works to focus on local search, GSC ensures that your website is optimized for the search engine crawlers.
Add to that the detailed customer and web insights from Google Analytics, and you’ve got a complete package ensuring SEO superiority.
Just remember to keep close tabs on all essential data, and don’t get lost in the forest of vanity metrics. If you can achieve that, then you’re well on your way to SEO success.
But that’s enough from me, what about you?
Do you have any SEO tips, tricks, and ideas up your sleeve?
Don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.