Top Google Tools to Use on Your Website

Written by Hirsch Fishman

Google provides a range of free tools to help you promote your website and achieve better placement within its search engine results. I use a few of these already, both on this website and for my clients. You might find it useful to hear about what each one can do and see some of the things they can tell you about your website.

Webmaster Tools

Google’s suite of webmaster tools can tell you all sorts of information relating to how Google indexes your website. You don’t have to insert any code on your website to enable these tools, but you do have to make sure that Google is looking at your website. (As soon as you log in to the webmaster tools, it will tell you whether it is, so if it’s not, you can submit the URL to have your website crawled.)

Some of the most noteworthy things you can do within these webmaster tools include:

  • Submit a sitemap – Creating a sitemap is one of those basic SEO steps that I’ve written about in the past. Submitting your sitemap directly to Google, which you can do here, will help Google’s crawler find pages on your website that it might not find otherwise.
  • See your rank in top search query results – You can see a list of what people typed into Google that somehow led them to your website, as well as the rank that your website appeared in the search results for that query. This can be useful in evaluating how successful you’ve been at optimizing your content around the keywords you chose.
  • Generate a robots.txt file – The robots.txt file tells the search engine crawlers what to look at and what to ignore when they visit your website. If you don’t have one already, this tool can help you create and analyze your robots.txt file.

Google Analytics

Google’s analytics package help you analyze the traffic that your website receives. Unlike when you use the webmaster tools I mentioned above, here you have to embed some code onto your website in order for Google to receive data from your website, but there are step-by-step instructions provided for how to do this.

Once Google verifies that the tracking code is working and begins to import data, you can analyze your web traffic in a wide variety of different ways. From a web design perspective, here are some of the things you can see that I find most important:

  • See your visitors’ browser capabilities – There is a lot of data that Google gathers from your website’s visitors, but these tools allow you to know many things such as their screen resolutions, screen colors, etc. One important tool that I find particularly useful lets you see which web browsers your visitors are using (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.). Why is that important? Different web browsers render websites differently, so knowing that the majority of your website’s visitors use one browser over another might save you time by eliminating the need for cross-browser testing.
  • Know where the traffic is coming from – What websites are visitors finding your website through? Are there referring sites that are driving traffic to your website, or are the search engines the primary sources? Both will benefit you in the search engines, but significant numbers of the latter tell you that the SEO work you did on your website is paying off.

Other Google Tools to Use

Website Optimizer

Google’s website optimizer helps you test variations of different elements on your website, often from a usability perspective, to see which helps convert visitors the best. These changes can be small, like changing the size, color, or wording of an element on your website, but they can all have a big impact. Basically, this helps you make sure that your website is doing what it’s intended to.

Keyword Research Tool

Google’s keywords tool helps you research keyword and keyword variations to use when optimizing your website. You can analyze the keywords by search volume or by the competition for that keyword, both of which are important to consider when deciding which keywords you should incorporate in your SEO efforts.


Now that you know more about Google’s free tools, if you don’t already use them, are you considering using them? Or if you already use them, what features or tools have you found particularly useful? Share with everyone by filling out the comment form below!

About Hirsch Fishman

Hirsch Fishman is a professional web designer who has worked with synagogues and organizations in the Jewish community since 2006. Originally from Albany, NY, he has previously lived in New York City and Chicago, and currently resides in Raleigh, NC.

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