I’m just back from Content Marketing world in Ohio and had an amazing time. It was a conference with 1700 people all raving about content marketing. It’s fantastic coming up with great content and great stories but you don’t want these stories forgotten a couple of weeks after you have them published.
One of the presentations at Content Marketing World was given by Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media. He explained to the audience how much traffic he still gets every week for older posts he has. So it’s important to use relevant SEO tools to ensure you optimize your content.
So here are a range of things you can do using Google’s free tools that will help with search engine optimization.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
When Google crawls through your website to index your pages they don’t call you up to tell you about the results! But they do make these results available to you in Google webmaster tools.
If there are any errors or problems displayed it’s really important to resolve them. If you don’t resolve them this will effect where your content appears in search results.
In the following example you see there is duplicate meta descriptions and descriptions too short. It also shows that there are no errors with title tags (very important for SEO). Review this section to see what errors you have.
In the Search queries -> Search Traffic section this Google SEO Tool shows a list of keywords that have been used to find content on your site. This is also a really important area. There’s a few things you need to watch out for here:
a). Is there irrelevant keywords – If keywords are not relevant to your business then you need to investigate why people are finding your site using these keywords. You could be using these keywords too many times in your content or including them in important areas such as page title.
b). Is your click through rate low on certain relevant keywords. This could be the position you appear in search results or it could be that you have a title or description that doesn’t motivate people to click it.
In the following example you can see that there are some keywords that have very high click through rates and some that are very low.
One that sticks out is ‘google keyword planner‘. The click through rate is listed as 0% because it’s less than 1%. The average position is 8.4 so it’s low down on the first page but I’d still expect a higher click through rate.
To achieve a better click through rate here are 3 things to do:
a). Improve optimization of the post – Maybe we haven’t included ‘Google keyword planner’ in the title tag (important for google).
b). Try to get links from external sites to the content to move the post up on search results.
c). Improve the description to have more compelling content.
To learn more read this post on Google Webmaster tools.
There are many possible areas that require improvement so certainly worth checking it out.
2. Google Keyword Planner
Recently Google retired the Google Keyword Tool and replaced it with Google Keyword Planner.
This Keyword Planner is all you really need as Google SEO tool for your keyword research and keyword analysis. The keyword research process helps you identify relevant keywords that you can focus on within your articles to get some or all of that traffic!
Here is an example of a search for social media tools. When you select the keyword ideas section you will get a list of similar keywords.
Read this detailed guide on Google Keyword Planner.
3. Google Analytics
Google analytics is a very useful website analysis and Google SEO tool that provides a broad range of information that can help you with the search engine optimization of your site. For example:
a. Traffic sources -> Search Engine Optimization – If you connect up your Google webmaster account to Google analytics you can view the SEO data that you can see in Google webmaster tools. For example, you can see the keywords that bring you traffic, the conversion rate etc. This is really useful as we have already described in the Google webmaster section of this document.
b. Content Overview – This will show you which pages are getting the most traffic. If you know which pages resonate most with your audience that will give you ideas for new content around this area which will help increase traffic further. You can optimize this new content based on similar (but not the same) keywords.
c). Bounce rate
A bounce is when someone arrives to your site and then leaves without going to any other page.
There are many possible reasons for a high bounce rate e.g.
You don’t have a mobile site so bounce rate is high on a mobile device
The content is not relevant to the user so they leave
It’s a blog so the post is all that the visitor is interested in and there’s no clear call to action to get them to engage with other posts.
It’s worth investigating bounce rate. Improvement will lead to visitors spending longer on the site and could lead to more visitors.
4. Google Advanced Search Commands
Google Advanced search is a powerful tool to help you find content. There are various operators/syntax you can use within a search that will help you find relevant results.
Here are 3 examples of how you can use Google advanced search operators to help with SEO.
a). Site: < name of website>
This will show you a list of the top indexed pages on Google for the website in question. This could be your website or your competitors. This shows you what the page titles and descriptions are for your competitors content. This can help you to identify issues they may have (e.g. duplicate titles) or just give you ideas for keywords you should be researching.
This searches websites for keywords that are in the website address.
If you are looking for links from external websites think about the type of pages that may link to you. For example they may have a resources page that links to several websites. You may be able to reach out to them to convince them to add you to the resources page.
If you were looking for websites about business consultancy you may type something like the following:
business consultancy allinurl:business consultancy
c). link:<website name>
This returns a selection of websites that link to the website listed. Knowing what other websites link to your competitors website can help you identify possible opportunities to get links also.
5. Google Trends
If you plan to optimize your content based on a group of keywords you’d like to know if searches for this keyword is going up or down. These keywords may have been popular before but maybe people searching other keywords.
In Google trends you can put in your keywords and then view a graph over time. The following is the trend for social media marketing which has increased in searches a lot over the years.
If the keywords are particularly relevant to a particular area you may want to drill down on this information.
6. Google Desktop and mobile speed search
When Google makes available a tool to test out the speed of your website and provides suggestion for improvements you know you should be paying attention to this. When they provide similar for mobile you know you should pay attention to this also.
One of the many ranking factors for ranking a website is speed. It’s important from a Google perspective but it’s also equally as important to your website visitor.
7. Google Alerts
To keep an eye on link building opportunities you may want to set up a Google Alert. You enter in keywords and when these keywords are mentioned on the internet Google will send you an e-mail. The alerts do not provide 100% of all mentions but you will get some of the mentions.
Imagine you wrote a post about social media training. Maybe you want to run searches for social media training when you post your content. This might lead to potential opportunities where people could link to you.
Google SEO Tools Summary
Google SEO Tools provide you with some great free functionality that can help with SEO. Would you use any of these tools? How would you use them?
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