Proficiency in search engine optimization requires a lot of different skills—research, analytics, communication, writing, and basic programming.
In 2021, SEMrush Academy analyzed 3000 SEO vacancies to find out what is the most required skill.
Knowledge of Google tools turned out to be a desirable skill for employers of SEO specialists. Indeed, Google tools are essential for SEO; they cover all the basics, from keyword research to on-page optimization and SEO content creation. Learning and mastering these skills requires an understanding of all the necessary terminology and principles.
So, let’s look at the tools Google offers and how they’re used for effective SEO.
Google’s Toolkit for an SEO Specialist
Search engine optimization is a generic term that sounds like it means optimizing for all search engines. In reality, SEO is mostly about Google, as it commands a large market share amongst search engines.
Even though the other search engines use their own algorithms, optimizing your site for Google will generally help it rank higher on all of them.
Google’s “SEO toolkit” includes the following tools:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- PageSpeed Insights
- Google Alerts
- Google My Business
Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is a dashboard with data Google tracks about your website. It lets you see how Google views your site, shows you problems that could be affecting your rankings in the search results, and shows you the search queries that are driving traffic to your pages.
To use Google Search Console, you need to sign up for an account and add your website to the console. After verifying ownership of the website, you can add users with varying permissions. A website owner can allow access to an SEO expert if they prefer to give them control.
When enough people have visited the site to generate meaningful numbers, you can begin to optimize the site’s SEO based on what you learn. Some things can be fixed quickly, while others will take some time to see results, but you’ll get a wealth of helpful feedback.
Google Analytics (GA) is Google’s website analytics tool that tracks the traffic coming to your website, how much traffic each page is getting, where your visitors are located around the world, and what browsers they use.
GA also lets you set up tracking systems, so you can measure conversions to see what traffic sources drive the most sales. Analytics works hand-in-hand with several other Google services such as Google Ads and Google Adsense.
Google Keyword Planner
Keywords are the building blocks of all search engine optimization. When someone goes to Google to find an answer, they search for keywords. To optimize your website for the most relevant keywords for your product or service, you need to know what people are searching for.
The Google Keyword Planner is part of the Google Ads network. The planner will help you find the best keywords to target with your ads, so they’ll show up for the right searches. But it’s just as useful, if not more so, for SEO and organic search results.
This tool will help you find the keywords people are searching for, their relative search volume, and the cost to advertise with those keywords. A high search volume and high cost-per-click are good signs that it’s a valuable keyword for SEO purposes.
Google Trends is another tool that’s not strictly intended for SEO use but gives you information that’s valuable for optimizing your site. Trends lets you research industries and specific keywords.
Some searches are seasonal, so you can see the peaks and valleys in the Trends reports. It will also show you regional data, like which parts of the world have the highest volume for any given keyword. It will do the same for languages.
You can compare two keywords to see how they compare to one another. You’ll figure out what the most effective keywords are to target or which of two options is the best to start with. It also shows you related searches, giving you another source of potential keywords to target with your SEO.
Page load speed is one of the factors that Google takes into account when ranking websites. Their goal is to provide searchers with the best possible experience when they click on one of the search results. If a website loads too slowly, that searcher may not wait for it to load.
The PageSpeed Insights tool lets you enter the URL of a page on your website, and it then loads the page and rates it on a scale of 0 to 100. The faster the page loads, the higher it ranks.
If bottlenecks are slowing down the page’s load time, you’ll get a report showing you some of the ways you can improve the speed, such as optimizing images, reducing the size of your CSS and scripts, and compressing some of the content on your site.
Google Alerts is another tool that isn’t designed specifically for SEO use but ends up being very effective when used for optimizing your site. Alerts let you create saved searches for any topic you want. Whenever a new page shows up in Google’s index for that search, you’ll receive an email with the details.
You can use these alerts to keep tabs on the keywords you’re targeting with your SEO, so you know when they start to rank. It’s also a good way to track how often your website or products and services get mentioned on other websites.
If another site writes about you, they could be a potential partner that could help with your SEO. You could write an article for their site, work out an arrangement to link to your website, or have them promote your business.
You can also use Alerts to track your competitors by setting up alerts for their company name, website address, products, and anything else that’s unique to them. When you get a new alert for them, you can use that information to build up your competitor profile.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a service that lets you set up a profile for your business. You can enter information like your phone number, address, and hours of operation.
Google uses this information in the search results, especially the local search results. If your business operates on a local level, GMB is one of the most important elements of an effective local SEO strategy.
If you don’t have a Google My Business page, Google uses the information it finds on other sites to build a profile for your company. If any of that information is wrong, it could end up appearing in the search results. So, it’s best to create your own GMB page.
Learn Google Tools to Improve Your SEO Skills
Google tools provide an effective way to start learning SEO, but it’s only a piece of a bigger pie. To grow as an SEO expert, you need to always keep learning. SEMrush Academy is a great source of free SEO knowledge for beginners as well as SEO specialists eager to improve their expertise.
About the Author
Nikolai Boroda is fascinated by Google’s influence on SEO, PPC, the world.