Do you dream of the day when your web site or ecommerce business will rank at the top of the search results for your targeted keywords?
It’s time to stop dreaming and start doing. By taking the right approach to SEO and search engine marketing you will find that your web site making its way up the search engine ladder.
But, Google has it out for me!
Google doesn’t want my web pages to reach the top position!
These are common excuses that I hear time and time again. You can continue to think this way, but remember this: Google remains king, in terms of search market share.
While some marketers believe Google is out to get them, others realize that the web search engine company actually wants them to succeed. Imagine that!
By providing a variety of free apps and marketing tools, Google gives marketers everything they need, in order to succeed when it comes to their ad groups and boosting their conversion rate. All that you have to do is implement the tools, use these free Google resources wisely on a regular basis and continue to move forward on your search engine marketing journey.
Here are 17 free apps, marketing tools and resources from Google, in no particular order, that every marketer should keep in his or her search engine marketing toolbox.
1. Google Analytics – This is, perhaps, the most well known and widely used free web developer tool from Google. The search engine giant describes it as a way to “turn insights into action.”
As a marketer, there is nothing more important than regularly analyzing data. Google Analytics allows you to do so with ease, so its a good idea to use this tool.
There is so much more to this tool than simply seeing how many visitors your website receives and conversion tracking. It also provides data in regards to:
- Social media engagement
- Real time visitors
- Technology used
- Traffic sources
- Top pages
- Top keywords
From a marketing perspective, all of this data is important. Take, for example, social media engagement. Analytics allows you to answer questions such as:
- Which social media networks are sending the most traffic?
- How are these visitors interacting with my content?
- Which content performs best on social media?
If you believe in the power of data, Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool from the world’s most popular search engine that can act as your guide.
2. Google Keyword Planner – Google describes this free app tool in simple terms:
“Plan your Search Media campaigns, get performance insights and see keyword ideas.”
Easy enough, right?
While the tool itself may be simple to use, the way that you implement it into your search engine marketing strategy is anything but that.
Are you seeking high traffic keywords for your next blog or social media post? Would you like to discover the long tail keywords that are ripe for the picking and can be used in your web pages?
When you enter a single term into the search box, the tool kicks back hundreds of keyword ideas. Better yet, each keyword is accompanied by important data, such as competition and the average number of times this word or search term has appeared in the search history.
For those buying traffic, Keyword Planner also comes in handy, as it provides an approximate cost per click amount.
It doesn’t matter if organic or paid traffic is on your mind, it’s a good idea to spend plenty of time using Google Keyword Planner so you can improve your web page content and boost your search results rankings.
3. Google AdSense – If you want to make money online, one of the best ways of getting started is through the Google AdSense program.
With this search engine marketing platform, all that you have to do is to add a snippet of code to your web site. From there, Google will serve relevant ads, for which you are paid, every time somebody clicks.
There are many good ideas and ways to make money online, so AdSense is far from your only option. But, from an ease-of-use perspective, especially among beginners, there are not many monetization strategies that are easier to roll out.
With enough traffic, social media engagement, and better search term results – it’s possible that your website could generate in excess of $100k per month. This isn’t easy and it’s definitely not the norm. Even so, it’s possible, if you have a search engine marketing strategy for driving qualified, targeted traffic.
4. Google Alerts – Are you interested in staying current with the latest news associated with your industry? How about company mentions? Or, maybe you want to keep tabs on your competition?
Rather than do all of this manually, which can eat up hours of time, you can set up Google Alerts to do the heavy lifting for you.
You can enter any query imaginable into the search box. From there, any time there is fresh information on the world wide web, you have the option to receive an update, directly to your email inbox.
It’s nice to know that Google Alerts has your back while you work on other areas of your business.
I know marketers who prefer to manually perform these tasks in the search results, day in and day out. There is nothing wrong with this, but a change to a free app like Google Alerts could do them some good. If nothing else, this one tool could save you hours of time.
5. Google Books – There is always something more to learn. When it comes to search engine marketing, the game is always changing.
This is why I love Google Books. With this service, you can quickly and efficiently “search the world’s most comprehensive index of full-text books.”
For example, a search of the phrase “content marketing” generates the following results:
Have you read any of these books? Have you uncovered a few that could improve your content marketing skills?
I understand that there is a lot of information available on the world wide web, but there is no replacement for a good book. Things have changed, but books will always be useful, in my opinion. This is why I use free Google resources like this to find the best books on the topics that interest me.
6. Google Calendar – How do you keep up with your busy schedule? As a marketer, you own a variety of responsibilities. Maybe you need to schedule blog or social media posts, update your web pages. Maybe you need to reach out to writers or arrange updates with your web developer, or rewrite your product types.
It doesn’t matter what’s on your schedule, you need a way to stay organized. This is where Google Calendar comes into play.
You can share your calendar with other users like web developers, social media managers, content writers, and so forth, or keep it for yourself or even embed it on your website.
My favorite feature is the ability to set reminder alerts. I consider myself an organized person, but there are times when details slip through the cracks. Google Calendar helps protect me against this.
In the past, marketing professionals used a paper calendar to track appointments, tasks and other responsibilities. Those days are gone and Google Calendar is one of the best replacements out there.
7. Google Docs – Here is what you get with Google Docs, in the words of the company itself:
“With Google Docs, you can write, edit and collaborate wherever you are. For free.”
Yes, it’s a free app and fabulous for content and search engine marketing. That said, I would pay for the service if it wasn’t. There are so many ways to use Docs, as a marketer and you might be overlooking a few.
I regularly share documents with my team. From blog post drafts to content ideas and even social media campaign notes, it’s easy to get my thoughts down and immediately share them with others.
There are many powerful features associated with Google Docs. Some of my favorites, as simple as they may be, include:
- Word count check
- Spell check
- Document outline
- Translation tool
Most marketers are familiar with Google Docs, but if you aren’t, now is the time to give it a try. All you need is a Google account, which you probably already have and if you don’t its a good idea to get one to use this free app. At that point, let the experimenting begin!
8. Google Sheets – Google Sheets is like a traditional spreadsheet on steroids. There is nothing mundane about this tool. It allows you to create many types of sheets, all of which can be edited and shared with others.
In addition to creating your own spreadsheet from scratch, you can rely on some of the free Google resources and templates. These include:
- To-do list
- Annual budget
Could any of these help you achieve your marketing goals? I have experimented with custom sheets, as well as these templates and my favorite is the to-do list.
It’s not the most advanced way of creating a to-do list, but it allows me to record my thoughts and share the information with others.
Much the same as Google Docs, Sheets is easy to use, full of features and powerful enough to meet all of your spreadsheet related needs.
9. Google Drive – In my opinion, Google Drive is one of the most underutilized marketing tools.
With this, you can securely store a variety of files, all of which can be accessed from any device, through the Google Drive service. Better yet, you are able to edit your files from any device, including your smartphone or tablet or even your android platform.
When you get started, you are given 15 GB of free storage. For some, this is more than enough. Others, however, need more storage. Google allows you to purchase additional storage at a reasonable cost, such as 100 GB for $1.99/month or 1 TB for $9.99/month.
If you want to store and share files online, it’s time to introduce yourself to Google Drive.
10. Google Trends – When you know what’s trending within your niche, you know how to create content that will attract a large number of visitors.
With Google Trends, you can view featured stories, as well as “stories trending now.” You also have the opportunity to drill down, based on your niche, to uncover timely topics.
Navigate to the tech category and you’ll see results like the following:
Maybe you are interested in what’s happening with Microsoft and Google. By clicking on this story heading, you are served relevant articles, interest over time, interest by region and trending queries.
Could you turn one of these trending queries into a blog or solid social media post? By doing so, in a timely manner, you have a greater chance of attracting visitors and potentially connecting with media outlets.
Once you get the hang of it, Google Trends is simple to use.
11. Google+ – At this point, we know that things did not work out with Google+ the way that the company hoped for.
Although the consensus is that Google+ failed, it doesn’t mean that you should entirely ignore the social networking platform. It still provides many opportunities, such as the ability to share content with others, to create polls and to grow your network.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use Google+ nearly as much as other social media sites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a presence there, and it also adds to your search engine optimization, so there is nothing to lose.
As you can see, I have tens of thousands of followers and more than 2.6 million all-time views.
It doesn’t take any money to use Google+. Using the service will only set you back a few minutes at a time.
Even if you only add links to new blog posts on your page, you will find that your follower count and views continue to rise.
Is Google+ everything the company hoped for? No. Is it dead? Definitely not. There is still some good that can come from using this social media platform.
12. Google Slides – Are you in the process of creating a presentation? You could be presenting to a group of potential investors, coworkers or current customers. The audience doesn’t matter.
If you want to create a visually appealing presentation without jumping through hoops or spending thousands of dollars, Google Slides is the right tool and free app for you.
As it is with Google Docs and Google Sheets, you can create a custom slideshow or choose from one of these templates:
- Your big idea
- Photo album
With the ability to customize each of these templates, it’s maybe a good idea to start with one. This will give you a jumping off point, as opposed to starting from scratch.
When customizing your slideshow, experiment with the following:
- Charts and graphs
A slideshow is often the best way to present information. Not only can you create killer slideshows with Google Slides, but you can share your presentation with others. This collaborative environment can lead to the perfect solution.
13. Google Voice – Before you write off this marketing tool, think twice about what you are doing.
I know that you have a mobile phone. I know that you have access to a variety of other communication tools. But, that doesn’t mean that there is no place for Google Voice in your daily life.
Google Voice provides you with one number for all of your phones, allowing you to direct every call to the device of your choosing. Along with this, the unique voicemail system, free long distance within the United States and low rates on international calls make it worth your time.
I’m a big fan of Google Voice, for many reasons, but with one feature standing out above the rest: the ability to track the performance of a phone number placed on your website.
Do you want to know how many calls you are receiving? Do you want to know how many are converting into customers?
With Google Voice, you can easily test the location, size and color of your phone number button, as it is placed on your web site.
If you want to learn more about Google Voice, visit this page.
14. Google Webmaster Tools – An effective way to better understand your web site, including its overall level of health, Google Webmaster Tools is a must for all search engine marketing professionals. Through this tool, you can do the following:
- Review site health, such as crawl errors, malware alerts and blocked URLs.
- Site configuration. Is everything in check, as far as the way your site is configured?
- Backlinks. See where your links are coming from.
- Site traffic. From search results and queries to links, you can see how people are making their way to your website.
And, that’s just the start. There is a lot more that you can do through your Google Webmaster Tools account. You can add as many websites to your account as you want, so don’t hold back.
- YouTube has more than one billion users.
- YouTube “reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.”
- YouTube has launched local versions in nearly 100 countries.
From a marketing perspective, there are many good ideas and ways to use YouTube. Obviously, you can implement a video marketing strategy, with the idea of providing advice to potential customers and driving traffic to your website.
Another thing that you can do is to comb through the millions upon millions of YouTube videos on the topic of marketing and related subject matter. You never know what you can learn from somebody else, so block out some time each week to explore the search results and watch a few videos.
When Google acquired YouTube, in 2006 for $1.65 billion, some people thought the company overextended. It’s now easy to see that it was the right decision.
Chrome is a top choice among marketers, thanks to the many available extensions you can get from the browser window. When you visit the Chrome Web Store, you may be surprised at how many extensions are geared towards marketing professionals. Some of the top options include:
- SEO Site Tools, Site Analysis
- Impactana Content Marketing Toolbar
But don’t stop there. Visit the Chrome Web Store, search for a variety of search engine marketing related keywords and see what you find.
Simply using Google Chrome as your browser of choice is a good idea. When you add a few marketing extensions, the power and functionality will knock you off your feet.
17. Google Mail – Call it Google Mail. Call it Gmail. Call it whatever you want. This email service provider is top dog for a reason.
Here is how Google describes Gmail:
“Google-owned, web-based email service provides details of storage, options and links to related services.”
Pro tip: if you are using Gmail along with Chrome, take a look at some of the many extensions that are available. Some of my favorites include:
Marketers know one thing to be true: they are always sending and receiving email. With a variety of high level features, from filtering to labels, Gmail could be the right email provider for you.
With more than one billion monthly active users, Gmail has to be doing something right. It’s about time that you find out what it is.
Online marketers of today have access to more tools than ever before. If search engine optimization is your thing, you are covered. If you want to use Twitter or other social media sites to grow your brand, there are free apps and tools for that. If you want to follow conversion tracking, you can do that. And, that’s just the start.
After reading this article, you should have a clear idea of which marketing tools from Google can help you reach your goals, whether that’s getting to the top of the search results or building brand awareness and connecting with your audience.
None of these free apps and tools guarantee a spot at the top of the search engine rankings, but when combined with the right strategy, each one can definitely point you in the right direction.
Do you have experience with any of these tools? Would you add any others to the list for those wanting better placement in the search results?