1. Google Analytics
In this digital age, the importance of data to a business/website should never be underestimated. In fact, without proper tracking of website traffic, a business is literally lost, especially when it comes to how to optimize the website and make full use of it.
Whether your website is run in the form of a personal blog, news portal, business or corporate page, ecommerce store, Google Analytics is considered an essential tool for every website. The more you use this highly powerful Google tool, the bigger advantage you have.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. You can create goals and conversion tracking to get the most of your analytics information and use it to improve your website’s content, user experience and optimization for better online sales.
Out of so many features in Google Analytics, I think the ability to identify the Source / Medium to your website is one of the best website tools. Based on the data shown, you can find out if your marketing efforts have been paid off or not. This can provide a solid reference for your next decision making in enhancing your website performance.
Google Analytics – Source & Medium view
2. Google Data Studio
Trust me, for beginners, you might be overwhelmed by all the amount of data shown in Google Analytics. To be frank, sometimes you just need a simple report with chart, graph or pie to summarize the performance of your website.
Here is a free tool from Google called Google Data Studio, which gives you everything you need to turn your analytics data into informative, easy-to-understand reports through data visualization.
Analytics has always been a challenge for digital marketing, however, Google Data Studio allows you to create customizable data visualization and report. Besides, you can even share with your clients — a huge plus especially if you are working in a big group.
Quick tip: You can check out Google Data Studio Gallery to duplicate their samples and modify to your website use. After that you will be able to change and edit the metric according to your needs. Quite amazing, right?
3. Google Search Console
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, now rebranded to Google Search Console, this free web service is designed for webmasters. It allows you to check the indexing status and optimize the visibility of your websites.
This free tool is a MUST for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The power to track your site’s search performance is the most precious data to understand what the audiences want for your site.
Once the website is tracked by Google, you’ll be able to view your organic search results right alongside the performance statistics for the organic search queries. This information helps you better understand how paid text ads and organic search results work together.
If you analyse deeply enough, you will find many opportunities like identify relevant search queries that have low organic traffic volume and target these keywords in Google AdWords. This will increase your overall traffic, tailored to the objective of your website.
4. Google My Business
Are you operating a brick and mortar business? If you are, this free tools from Google is one of the most local SEO strategies to strengthen your website. Google My Business is a powerful tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, like Google Search and Google Maps.
As smartphone penetration in Malaysia approaching 100% by 2018, the majority of Malaysians are using smartphones for navigation, searching for instant answers or browsing social media platforms. Your business and brand need to be found online with the correct information.
Make sure all the listed information is correct, up-to-date and reflect your business. Remember, those info will appear when people search for your office or physical store via Waze or Google Map. We often see some of the business hasn’t updated their address, phone number and business hours to the latest.
Wish to gain my traffic to your website? You should try the new the features from Google My Business called “Posts”. The published content will display your image and short description with call-to-action link to your intended URL. For example, blog post “Should I hide or even remove client inquiry on my Facebook?” will appear at the bottom of our business info.
5. Google Keyword Planner
Building a website without keyword research is exhausting and time wasting in long-term. In order to reach the right customers with the right keywords, you should use Google Keyword Planner to discover relevant keywords. Inserting those keywords into your website will ensure your content remains relevant.
*To access Keyword Planner, you need to sign in to your Google AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. Create the account is free of charge and fast.
Yes, it’s completely free, you can find new keyword ideas that are relevant to your product, service and target customers. Keyword planner will show you the search volume data in historical statistics which is one of the most important key factors for your website.
Furthermore, the data from keywords ideas is a useful tool for SEO to your website. Analyse the information and turn it to your next content marketing strategy. Based on the search terms data, you should have plenty of ideas what should can be inserted to your text to make it more relevant to your audience.
6. Google Tag Manager
Many websites do not deploy tracking function or have unreliable data collection because of messy codes injection. To solve this, we highly recommend using Google Tag Manager to consolidate and manage all your tracking codes or scripts.
The best example of using this tool is to use Facebook Ads. While more and more businesses are spending on Facebook Ads, most of them do not install Facebook Pixel into their website for conversion tracking, optimization and remarketing purposes.
Facebook Ads is already integrated with Google Tag Manager for smooth and easy installation. All you need to do just click and follow the instructions given without any need for complicated coding.
7. Test My Site from Think with Google
In order to rank well in mobile Google Search, your website should have fast loading speed and a mobile-optimized website. Use the Test My Site tool from Think with Google to check your website score on mobile performance.
After a few minutes, you will receive recommendations on improving website performance across all devices. Nobody wants to wait for slow websites or browse non-mobile friendly websites. The suggested time is 3 seconds from Google, which means if your site doesn’t load completely within 3 seconds, most people will most probably go elsewhere.
Just insert your email address and you will obtain the detailed analysis about your website. The content of the report is simple, but provides valuable insight into how Google ranks your website speed. The report will become a crucial reference to your webmaster or web developer to further optimize the website.
If you need even more in depth report about how Google renders and indexes your website, you should use the PageSpeed Insight tool.
8. Google PageSpeed Insights
If you have web developers or web designers that really want to understand the factors to increase your website speed, give PageSpeed Insights Tool a try and check your score on your website’s speed and optimization.
The latest version now shows the data from your First Contentful Point (FCP), the measurement when a user sees a visual response from the page. DOM Content Loaded (DCL), as well as the measurement when HTML document has been loaded and parsed.
PageSpeed Insights is handy in providing insight on how Google indexes your website differently for desktop and mobile versions.
Here are some website speed optimization tips from PageSpeed:
- Avoid landing page redirects
- Enable compression
- Leverage browser caching
- Minify CSS
- Minify HTML
- Optimize images
- Prioritize visible content
- Reduce server response time
9. Google Trend
Wish to see the latest trends and data from Google? You can search anything via Google Trends and even narrow down to specific country or category. This tool is useful to identify latest trends or viral news in your location. Ideally, once you identified a trend, you can craft new blog posts, new promotions or ideas that reflect the said trend.
The example above shows the top 5 topics from the Sports category in Malaysia. Other categories are Business, Entertainment, Sci/Tech, Health or others.
Don’t forget that you also can view the interest traffic of search terms using Google Trends. With this, you can spot the best time to launch specific campaign. This is helpful for seasonal campaign or annual promotion because you can discover the best timing for your ad hoc digital marketing campaigns.
10. Google Alert
If you want to be aware of a particular topic and all the related information that bubbles up in the news, you can have them all automatically delivered to you with Google Alert and get notified every time when your keywords or phrases have new updates.
Google Alert is good for simple keyword monitoring, with updated on every mention of those keywords being sent to your email inbox for almost real time notification. Of course, you can choose the frequency at which you’ll receive them – once per day, once per week or even get them as they just happen.
A useful tip when creating the Google Alert is to avoid using generic keywords but create alerts that are more unique to your website. The more precise the keywords, the more relevant are your alerts. For that, you should utilize the search filters wherever possible, such as languages, region or sources.
So, that’s it, above are the 10 must-have free Google tools to improve the performance of your website. Make full use of all tools from analysis, research or monitoring to achieve the objective of your site.
What are your favourite tools from Google? Do you know any other Google tools that we should cover? Let us know in the comments below!