Most of you probably know about Google as a powerful and popular search engine, but did you know that Google has built a slew of tools for business owners and marketing managers too? Whether you’re trying to boost your SEO rankings, increase your conversion rates, fine-tune your user experience, track and manage your brand’s reputation, build and execute a manageable content calendar, or simplify your content creation process, Google has it all FOR FREE.
So for today’s post I’m going to quickly go through some of my favorite marketing tools via Google and some easy ways to level up your marketing game. Ready? Here we go!
1. Google Analytics
This tool is one of the most powerful and most effective tools at monitoring your website traffic. You can track things like which of your blog posts have been most popular, how many of your visitors are regularly returning, how long people are spending on your website, and much more. For a more detailed look at harnessing the power of Google Analytics, check out this post we did: 3 Actionable Ways to Use Google Analytics.
2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
A couple months ago, we shared a quick post on 3 Easy Ways to Improve Your SEO Ranking. But before you can start implementing any SEO related techniques, you need to figure out which keywords are most relevant for your business, brand, and website. The Keyword Planner built into Google AdWords is a great tool for discovering which keywords to target in your web copy, blog content, and metadata.
3. Google Trends
In addition to the Keyword Planner, Google Trends is a great tool for comparing and deciding between similar keywords or phrases. Trends enable you to see how various keywords fluctuate in popularity over time, in different areas, and against one another.
4. Google Webmaster Tools
This is a great program for streamlining your marketing efforts and making sure that search engines can easily find your website based on popular, relevant search terms. Search engine spiders scan the entire world wide web in a matter of seconds to deliver results for billions of people everyday. If your website is setup in a way that makes it particularly difficult to discover, webmaster tools will alert you to the problem areas so you can make changes and increase your SEO ranking.
5. Google Content Experiments
Content Experiments is Google’s answer to split testing software. In most cases, the main function of your website is to convert lurkers into members or customers. If you’ve already got a sales funnel in place, but you’re not seeing the conversion rates you hoped for, you may want to experiment with some split testing on copy and graphics. What are people responding to? What is deterring them? With Google Content Experiments, you can upload original and variation landing pages and track side-by-side stats to see if changing the headlines, images, buttons, copy, or layout of your page will increase your conversion rate.
6. Google Alerts
This is a particularly useful tool for keeping an eye on your media features, your business’s online reputation, AND what your competition is up to. If you set up a few Google Alerts for your business name and relevant keywords, the system will alert you whenever those terms are mentioned online. If you have just launched an app and have sent out a wide number of press releases, setup a Google Alert for your app name and it will notify you every time an article or feature piece about your app is published. It’s also a great way to be aware of and respond to any negative chatter that might be happening out there.
7. Google Calendar
If you’re looking for a free tool to build a content calendar, Google Calendar has got you covered. Within the platform, you can create new calendars dedicated entirely to planning out your daily, weekly, monthly, or even annual editorial and social content. For each ‘event’ you can invite collaborators (contributors, editors, managers, etc.) and add notes for handy reference and easy internal communication. Additionally, one of my favorite things about Google Calendar is how simple it is to rearrange my content. All I have to do is drag and drop events to new days and it automatically saves my changes on all shared versions of the calendar. Content planning can get messy, but Google Calendar has made my role as a blogger ten times easier.
8. Google Drive
On a related note, Google Drive is my favorite place to store all of my editorial content. Within Google Drive I have entire folders dedicated solely to the various blogs I contribute to. I create Google Docs for drafting the copy, Google Spreadsheets for organizing blog post ideas and tracking metrics, Google Forms for sending surveys and collecting responses, and I store all of my photos for blog posts in there too. Google Drive gives each user 15GB of storage for FREE, and all of the files you upload to it can be easily shared with collaborators with just a few clicks. Not only is a great free storage space, but you can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection. It's your dream external hard drive, but stored on the cloud.
In case you didn’t know – YouTube is a Google product! It’s easily the most popular platform for sharing video content on the web and should definitely not be ignored. If you want to start dabbling in creating video content, YouTube is the way to go. And once you’ve found your groove and built a solid bank of content, you can start annotating your videos and backlinking to content you’ve already created, the same way you would with blog content. It’s no secret that video content is the future, and if you can suck a viewer into a vortex of backlinks on backlinks on backlinks, then you know you are doing something right.
10. Google+ Business Page
Although the importance of a Google+ business page is often debated, I am of the opinion that it really can’t hurt. As you’re going through and setting up your various social media profiles, take the few extra minutes to setup a Google+ business/brand page in line with the logos, images, design, and aesthetic as your other social media profiles. As Google is a search engine, it’s a safe bet that one of the first few places it will look is within it’s own database. So when you’re setting up your page, pay special attention to the page title (should be your business/brand name), your custom page URL, your tagline, and your introduction as these will be important places search engine spiders scan. Additionally, if you’re creating content, be sure to share it on Google+ with relevant hashtags. If you don’t want to take the extra time to go into a separate social media platform and share your posts, Google+ is fully integratable with a wide variety of social scheduling tools including Buffer and Hootsuite. If you’re already using a scheduling tool, you can simply link your Google+ page with it and share content simultaneously across all of your social media platforms.
And there you have it: 10 totally free and super useful marketing tools brought to you by Google. Of course, there are many more services (both free and paid) that Google has created to help grow your business, but these are just a few of my all time favorites. If you use any of these tools in a different way or have any other recommendations, please drop them in the comments below. We always love hearing from you guys. Now get out there and take your marketing strategy to the next level!