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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.
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:
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:
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.
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!