I’ve been seeing these “OK, Google” ads on TV and wondered what would happen if I asked Google to help me with marketing. Of course I know Google can help with marketing, so I thought I’d pass along a dozen of my favorite free Google tools (and descriptions from other online sources) — all accessible using one login.
These tools offer ways to get more out of your search engine and social media marketing experience.
1. Google AdWords
If you’re not getting good enough traction with organic search traffic, then you might want to consider a paid search campaign using Google AdWords. By bidding for the right keywords, you can gain a considerable amount of qualified traffic where the conversions will meet or exceed the value you pay for your ads. Be sure to use advanced targeting options for location, mobile or desktop browsers, and other criteria to get the target audience you want.
2. Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Need keyword ideas for your search engine marketing campaign or paid search advertising? Try the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. When you enter a term that offers a wide range of ideas, like SEO, you will get groupings of keyword ideas that you can dig deeper into. While the total of the global searches is not always spot on, it can give you an idea of whether one keyword is more or less popular than another. You can also see an approximate cost-per-click amount, if you were trying to target the keyword using Google AdWords.
3. Google Alerts
Want to keep on top of the latest news, mentions of your brand, or other items in Google search? Then set up your Google Alerts. When you enter a search query, you will get a sample of the results you would receive and the option to have them delivered regularly to your email inbox. You can use this to keep up with your competition as well to see where they are getting mentioned or are building profiles.
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is probably one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use a as a marketer. You can learn so much about your website’s visitors including, but not limited to, the following:
- Demographics – Learn more about your audience, including their location and language.
- Social Engagement – See what social networks visitors come from and how they interact with your website’s social plugins (custom coding must be implemented).
- Technology Used – Find out what browsers, operating systems, and networks your visitors are using to view your website.
- Mobile Information – Curious if you need a mobile website? Find out how many of your visitors are using mobile technology.
- Traffic Sources – Analyze what websites, keywords, search engines, and other referrers send traffic to your website.
- Top Content – Get a handle on how effective your content is by seeing your top entry and exit pages.
- What Leads to Conversions – Set up goals in Google Analytics to find out which visitors complete conversions such as purchasing a product or signing up for a mailing list.
5. Google Books
If you love reading, then Google Books can be a good place to go to find books online in all genres, some of which you can read for free. But from a marketing perspective, if you have a book, then you will want to get it listed on Google Books so that you can sell it to an even larger audience, especially now that Google is competing with iTunes and other online media retailers with their new Google Play store for music, books, movies, and Android apps.
6. Google Docs
Want to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and tables with other users to view online or download? Then Google Docs is for you. You can even create forms and send them via a link or directly in an email to collect survey answers, crowd source post information, and other data.
7. Google Display Planner
Need some quick traffic or demographics information for a website? Get it using Google Display Planner. The larger the website, the more information you will be able to find about it including the average visitor’s age, gender, education, household income, other sites visited, interests, and keywords searched for.
8. Google Trends
Google Trends allows you to search for keywords to see their trends over time. This way, you can see whether a keyword is gaining in popularity, see worldwide search trends over the course of a year to find popular months or seasons for a search, see search volume by region, and find a list of top ten related searches and rising searches.
9. Google My Business
Want your business to show up before organic search results? For some keywords, it can thanks to Google My Business. Be sure that you claim or add your listing on Google Places, complete your profile, add photos and videos, and encourage reviews so that your business will make it to the first page of search results.
Google+ is Google’s social networking channel. Google has not only created a thriving social network, but has incorporated it into almost every aspect of the Google experience, including Google search results themselves. Thanks to personalized search results, you can actually rank higher than normal in search results for those you are connected with on the network.
11. Google Voice
Google Voice allows you to create a phone number to make and receive phone calls and text. You can view your messages in an interface similar to your Gmail. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want to give out your office or cell phone number for particular contacts.
Another cool little trick with Google Voice is that you can set up a Google Voice number specifically for tracking how effective your phone number placement on your website is. Every time someone calls in using your Google Voice number, you can count the calls in your Google Voice account. This will allow you to test the size, location and color of your website phone number.
Last, but not least, if you want to dominate the video market, then start with Google-owned YouTube. Not only will your video be available to YouTube’s millions upon millions of visitors, but it will also be on prime real estate for showing up in search results. Even if you can’t get your website on the first page of search results through traditional SEO, you might be able to get there with video.
Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve. She works with clients to communication more clearly and create smarter, better, channel-appropriate content. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.