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Tips and Tricks to Get the Most from Free Google Products

Tips and Tricks to Get the Most from Free Google Products

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Free.  The word “free” carries a love-hate relationship with many marketers. Free piques attention, but quickly acquires resistance and often struggles to deliver actual value. Fear not dear readers, we’re going to explore the good side of free today!

Google offers a wide variety of free tools. So many, in fact, that compelling opportunities for your Houston online marketing can slip through the cracks. This post shares some easy ways to capitalize on free Google tools. Let’s jump in.

Followed Google+ Links

As unpaid link building becomes vogue in Penguin’s aftermath, procuring useful rel=follow links can be a difficult task. However, did you know you can give yourself followed, anchor text links from your Google+ profile? Many marketers still view Google+ dubiously, which makes this huge opportunity easy to miss!

Before you go to town on anchor text, keep the big picture of link building in mind. Link building is a way to demonstrate your influence on the web in specific topic areas. Authority is a necessity to communicate influence. So make sure to use your Google+ properties as a way to engage audiences and build authority to your profile in order for it to have true value to your website.

Google Alerts on Targeted Keyword Phrases

Continuing the link building theme, it’s always crucial to stay ahead of your search competition when seeking link opportunities. With a little bit of planning and research, Google Alerts can become a handy tool for finding the newest content in your topic area.

How might you specifically use this tool? Let’s say you make widgets in Texas. In Google Alerts, you can set up alerts for “custom Texas widgets”, “Texas widget makers” or “custom Texas widget maker news”. Send the alerts to your marketing and SEO team, and use Google Tools such as Trends and the Adwords keyword tool to identify new content opportunities.

Link Building Double Check

Once upon a time, Google used to offer easy ways to evaluate and build backlinks. However, outright data such as competitor backlinks is no longer available. Smart usage of the Google manual commands can still provide insight into link acquisition.

When building back links, a focus on quality is extremely important for noticeable results. However, what makes a quality backlink? One way to check the potential benefit of a backlink is to view the latest cached version of the page in Google. This can be done by entering cache:www.mysite.com/example into Google. This command will display the valid page with a box detailing the date this page was cached. You can generally read into this as the last version of the page crawled and indexed by Google. Recent cache dates are better. Furthermore, if you see a page that hasn’t been crawled in 3 or 4 weeks, this is usually a sign that this page carries little authority with Google. Disclaimer: this is only one facet of evaluating links. Ask us for more insight on thorough link building.

Search Queries in Google Analytics

As a data-driven internet marketer, it’s tough to have too much information. (Let’s not confuse usable information with sheer data overload!) That said, there’s a unique integration between Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for search query and ranking data. Under the Analytics Traffic Sources tab, click the Search Engine Optimization sub-tab, then Queries. If this is your first time viewing this report, there is an option to link Webmaster Tools and Analytics.

The Queries report allows marketers to view the actual search terms AND average positions for these search terms. Combined with clicks and click through rate, this is a powerful tool to monitor search performance.

Wrap Up

We hope you found this post of SEO tools from free Google products useful. However, don’t stop with these tools! Always explore all offerings from Google and other major search providers. Concrete benefits may be difficult to discover, but can be found with some curiosity and ingenuity. Are there neat techniques or tips you have for using free Google tools? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share this post with your network.

Nick Lindauer
Nick is the vice president, client services and operations at Forthea. He’s been working in internet marketing since 2002, when – ironically – he answered an ad in the newspaper. When he’s not at work, he’s off spending time with his family, working on his house, building furniture, cooking on his two Big Green Eggs & brewing hot sauce.


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