I can’t tell you how many times I hear this question: Is SEO free on Google?The more I learn about SEO, the more aware I am of just how confused people are about SEO. They start reading and quickly become overwhelmed. Understandably. There’s a gazillion applications that promise and they promise to eliminate your SEO dilemmas and help you show up on page one in search. Each application promises to make it easy. But if you’re new to this, nothing’s easy.
Unfortunately, these applications often address only one functionThese gazillion applications may be specific to analytics, keywords, ranking, site loading time, etc. They may or may not have an associated fee and/or a free trial. Who besides me signs up for the free trials, doesn’t really get a chance to test a product, forgets to unsubscribe and ends up paying for year subscription to something I really don’t have time or interest in using. It makes me crazy—I hate paying for something I don’t use. You can’t possibly take all of these apps out for a test drive and make reasoned decisions about which to incorporate into your marketing program. Enterprise applications like HubSpot and Semrush are great, but they come with a big price tag.
What to do? Stick with Google’s free toolsThere well may be other products and applications that are better or easier to use, but frankly, nobody knows search and algorithms better than Google. We may love to hate them, but this is their house, and they make the rules. Best of all, Google apps are free. Use these apps to evaluate your site load time, analyze your web traffic, identify keywords and develop your ad campaigns. Keep it in house and it remains free. Together, these apps can be overwhelming. Instead, learn to use these one at a time and you’ll begin to see how Google’s suite of free SEO tools will enhance your understanding of how to show up in search. That’s what it’s all about.
Google owns the search market, and SEO is free on Google
- Google PageSpeed Insights. Track page speed for both mobile and desktop devices. Page speed is critical. If your site takes too long to load, everything else is irrelevant.
- Google Analytics. This application will track your website traffic. If you’re testing a new campaign, check GA to see if users have hit your landing page and if they’re drilling down to other parts of your site. Make adjustments and recheck GA.
- Google Keyword Planner. Keyword research is simply learning what types of words and phrases generate the most audience interest, clicks, and linger time to improve your website’s ranking. Keyword research is fundamental to building a Google ad campaign. But I use it when I’m starting a new website project–I want to know what words/phrases I should be using when developing content for each page. I also use it when writing blogs. I want to know what words to be using in my headings and subheads to assign “H” tags for better search engine indexing.
- Google Business Profile. Google has really gotten behind its Google Business Profile (This can be confusing: Formerly Google Business Page and Google My Business). It’s now uber accessible—even from Google Maps. Encourage your clients and colleagues to give you a review on your GBP—send them a link. Keep this page updated with your blogs and add new images. You really want to be taking advantage of this free tool.
- Google Search Console. This Google tool gives users a snapshot of their site’s performance, including organic search traffic, link data, and issues impacting the site’s performance. While any marketer can benefit from using it, this tool is really for those who are SEOs—those dedicated to improving search results. But you don’t have to be an “SEO” to use this site. We should all be invested in improving website performance.
- Google Trends. Another free Google tool. Trends culls data from Google searches and allows users to compare things like the frequency of search terms compared to other similar keywords, different geographic regions, or across language barriers. You can sort the data by category, type, region, or time period. Use it to identify seasonality—the best time to be rolling out a product based on historical data. Use it to avoid using trending keywords with fading popularity—these trends will show a spike that quickly fades.