Making the most of Google’s free SEO tools

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At TopLine Comms, more than 70 percent of our leads come through our website. This is because the company is easily visible on search engines like Google.

To reach the top of the search rankings, it pays to keep track of the latest in SEO from the people at Google. They do control the algorithms, after all. And that’s why we’ve picked out a few updates and free SEO tools from Google that you might have missed.

Google’s free SEO tools

1.    Search Console

Google Search Console offers a range of ways to monitor and analyse traffic on your website. Importantly for SEO, this includes letting you see which search terms are leading visitors to your site. You can use this information to determine which new content to produce.

Google is continuing to port features from the old version of Search Console to the new one. Recently, Google added the link reports that were available within the old platform which enable you to see your ‘External links’ and your ‘Top linking sites’. The team has even put together this document to help you get to grips with the data.

Additional features being carried over to the new Search Console include the mobile usability report, the ability to manage users and permissions within the interface and adding sites and validating ownership.

2. The Lighthouse Chrome extension

Lighthouse is a free Chrome extension developed by Google to give developers feedback on website performance. It now includes an ‘SEO health-check’ that will tell you how to make a webpage more search engine friendly.

3. Google’s SEO starter guide

Google’s purpose is to point users towards great online content. The more you understand how Google defines this, the easier it is to boost your site’s traffic. Knowing exactly what counts as good content for Google is the Holy Grail of SEO.

This is why Google’s SEO starter guide, covering everything from how to structure your website to how to create easy-to-read content that site visitors will want to share, is so valuable.

And since this guide is maintained by the Google Search Quality Team, you can trust it to provide relevant, up-to-date advice on any issue. It is therefore equally useful for both SEO beginners and experienced professionals.

4. Google’s public search liaison

Say ‘Hello’ to Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison. This position was created at the beginning of 2018 to ensure a clear line of communication between Google and the SEO community.

This had previously been an unofficial responsibility of Matt Cutts, who was head of Google’s web spam team. Following his departure in December 2016 to join the US Digital Service, SEO practitioners found themselves out of the loop.  They mainly looked to Google employees like John Mueller and Gary Illyes for clues.

The creation of the new public search liaison role is therefore very welcome.  Danny previously set up Search Engine Land, one of the leading websites for SEO news and analysis. This put him at the cutting edge of the industry long before joining Google, so we recommend following him on Twitter for all the latest advice and news.

Together these free resources can help you continually improve your site, your content and your link profile, attracting more visitors – and ultimately leads.

Luke Budka is a director at integrated marketing agency TopLine Comms