One of my favourite podcasts from a cool company called EWebResults refers to the internet as “the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet”. Doesn’t always feel that way, does it? Increasingly I’m finding that once people have a brand-new fancy website their next question is “How do I get it to the top of Google”? WHOAH. Slow down there cowboy. That’s a long and complex process. However, if you’re managing your own SEO the first question you should ask yourself is “What’s most important to Google and why?” Because of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, what’s important to Google one week may not be the next (or, much more likely, the other way around). A sure-fire way to know that something is high on Google’s radar is if Google offers it’s own tools to measure and improve it. Here are some super helpful tools that let you do just that.
As of late one of the newest big things Google looks at when ranking sites is user experience. Simply put, are users able to quickly gain an answer to their search query with minimum inconvenience and maximum enjoyment. One thing that can kill even a great website (potentially for rankings but definitely for user experience is a slow load time. Slow sites not only take a long time to load but hog memory and can slow down (or drain battery from) from whole device. Luckily Google offers a handy dandy tool which tests the load speed of any crawlable page on your website giving you a score out of 100 for both desktop and mobile, and ever offering a list of possible solutions for slow load time. Often times improving your page load speed is as easy as checking the page for unnecessarily massive images and reducing them!
If you’ve never heard of Shema structured data markup it can seem awfully daunting and a little scary, but I promise it’s not that bad! Effectively structured data used very simple code to show search engines important information about your business (most notably your business name, address, and phone number) and gives it context by defining what the information actually is (a name, an address, a phone number, etc.) This allows engines like Google to quickly identify relevant information on your site, and when Google can quickly find relevant info Google is a happy camper. Tools like Microdata Generator can make the process super easy. Just plug in your information, copy the code, and paste it in the footer of your website. Google offers a tool to test any website (your own or a competitors) and see what kind of information is being marked up.
If you’re in a position where just doesn’t make sense to invest in paid SEO measuring software like Moz, have no fear. Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster) can provide you with a ton of additional data that Google Analytics doesn’t totally cover. Just add the tracking code to your website’s header and this tool will give you a full dashboard information on any broken links (or “404 errors”) to your site, what exact searches your Google search traffic is coming from, and the top domains that are currently linking to your site.
Well there you do, my top three favourite free Google tools (at least so far!) Obviously not listed is the all-powerful Google analytics, but that’s another blog for another time…If you have any questions about the tools above, give us a call! We’d love to chat.