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As well as being the United Kingdoms most used search engine with almost a 90% search share, Google also spend a considerable amount of time developing and making available free tools that will help a small business owner to develop and market their website. Below is a rundown of the more useful tools, an overview of how they work, and links to more in-depth tutorials and analysis.
Google Sitemaps (Webmaster Tools)
What is it? Google Sitemaps, recently renamed to Google Webmaster Tools is a control panel that enables you to access a multitude of information about your site and how it performs in the search engines. You are able to check when Google has visited your site, if there were any errors found while trying to index your pages, you are also able to submit a sitemap, download lists of internal and external links pointing at your pages, view search queries that people used to find your content, set a geographic location and a preferred domain. Signing up to this really is a must considering the extra data and functionality that it gives you access to.
Key Benefits: Quickly diagnose indexing problems with the site, add a sitemap.
Google Webmaster Tools – A Quick Start Guide
Google Webmaster Tools – A Comprehensive Guide
What is it? A good way to comparatively track keyword search volume over time. Not sure which keywords people search for more? Just enter them into here and you’ll know within seconds. Data is also given about the geographic regions that search for terms the most and also how often they appear in Google news.
Key Benefits: A quick check to ensure that you’re targeting the correct keywords.
Using Google Trends For Search Engine Optimisation
Using Google Trends To Help Guide Your SEO
Using Google Trends To Research Your Brand
Google Trends For Sites
What is it? A very similar tool to Google Trends, though this can be used as a competitive analysis tool. You can check to see traffic levels for sites as well as some basic visitor data such as geographic location, top searches and additional visited sites.
Key Benefits: Competitive analysis
Google Trends For Websites
A New Layer To Google Trends
Google Trends Comes To Websites
Google AdWords Traffic Estimator
What is it? Another good way of seeing how much traffic certain keywords can potentially send. Although this is aimed at people using the Google PPC service, you can also use it to estimate how many visitors you will receive from the natural results.
Key Benefits: Access to Google keyword search data
The Traffic Estimator
Google AdWords Traffic Estimator Explained
What is it? A free web traffic analytics package. By adding a short snippet of code to your page Google will track important visitor data including metric such as visitor numbers by date and time, referring sites, keyword data, geographic location and content analysis amongst others. In terms of gathering important marketing data about your site getting this installed is a must.
Key Benefits: Access to important visitor metrics
Google Analytics Setup Guide
Google Analytics Video Tutorials
Advanced Use Of Google Analytics
Google Analytics Relaunched
What is it? Google alerts monitors the web for mentions of a keyword that you define, and then sends you an email when it picks up on mentions of this keyword. Where this comes into it’s own for a business is you can define your business name, products, brand names and key staff as keywords and then monitor your companies reputation online and take action if there is any negative publicity, or simply monitor what people are saying about you. How about also monitoring your competitors to see what they’re up to?
Key Benefits: Instant notification of brand mentions
Using Google Alerts For Intelligence Gathering
Google Alerts Tutorial To Help You Stay Ahead Of The Curve
8 Unique Ways To Use Google Alerts To Capture New Customers
What is it? As well as being an ingenious way of finding your way around, getting directions and spying on the neighbours, Google Maps can also be used to find local business and therefore have people find you. Go here to assign a geographic location for your business. These also show up in the main Google search results.
Key Benefits: Have people find your website while doing geographic location searches.
How Do I Add My Business To Google Maps?
Google Maps – A Primer For Small Business
What is it? Don’t use RSS feeds to keep up-to-date with your industry news? Then you’re missing a trick. RSS feeds provide a great way of saving time by having news come directly to you rather than having to go to websites to read it yourself. Most websites these days offer RSS feeds, simply copy the RSS feed URL, add it to Google reader and every time a website is updated you’ll know about it instantly.
Key Benefits: Industry news sent directly to you as it happens.
How To Get Started With Google Reader
A Beginners Guide To RSS And Google Reader
Get More From Google Reader
What is it? Acquired by Google last year, Feedburner is a tool that enables you to track subscriptions to your RSS feed – if you publish one on your website. It also offers some nice stats and good ways of promoting your feed.
Key Benefits: Understand more about your feed subscribers
Feedburner Help Centre
What Is Feedburner And Why Should I Use It?
The Beginners Guide To Using And Building Traffic With Feedburner
Google Website Optimiser
What is it? This gives you the ability to fine-tune your website, comparing the performance of different content and pages, A/B testing these page versions and then offering results and reporting.
Key Benefits: Ensuring that your pages are generating the highest possible conversion rates
Quick Start Guide
A First Look A Google Website Optimiser