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Having the right tools can be the difference between a successful project or a flop. For many cost-conscious website owners, most of the “best” marketing tools seem out of reach. Thankfully, the team over at Google continues to create amazing, and free, tools that will help any business succeed online.
In the video below, I share insights into 3 of my favorite Google Tools that many website owners aren’t using. If you want to follow along or try them out yourself, click on the links.
- Google Optimize: Google Optimize offers A/B testing, website testing & personalization tools for small & large enterprises to help deliver engaging customer experiences.
- Google Trends: See the latest trends, data, and visualizations from Google. Find out what’s trending near you right now.
- Google Lighthouse: Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages.
So Google is more than just a search engine. I mean, they’re a cloud service provider, but they also offer a number of very, very cool, free tools for us to use. Now, probably the most popular one of those is Google Analytics, but there’s another tool inside the Google Analytics family that you probably didn’t know you had access to, that’s really stinking cool, and that tool is Google Optimize.
Now, conversion optimization is a big deal in today’s world. We’re trying to make sure that our websites are personalized to meet our users’ needs, and Google Optimize is a tool that used to be only available to 360 users, but now it’s available to everybody. You can utilize it to do a lot of really cool things. They’ve actually got solutions for small businesses, right here. You can do website testing and see how you can grow and improve your site.
Some of the capabilities of this tool are A/B testing. It allows you to do multi-variant testing. It’s like A/B test, but with even more variance of it. It allows you to do URL redirect tests and things of that nature. It allows you to integrate all of this data with Google Analytics, or Adwords, or BigQuery to make sure that you are getting the right information. It’s pretty cool, like these A/B tests, right here. Also, VisualEditor, so it allows you to change things on your site in real time. I’m going to show you how it works, right now.
You would just log in through your Analytics URL, just click on Optimize instead of Analytics. Once it loads, we can start taking a look at our pages. Let’s take a look at my container. Right now, I’ve got an experiment running. What you can see here is that I’m testing some variance. I believe that removing this service section will cause a user to go deeper. I’ve got a specific page on my site and I want to see if removing part of that page is going to help my viewers go deeper.
Now, you may be wondering, right now, “Well, hey man, I don’t know how to do all this coding. How do I create two variances of a page? Well, here’s the cool thing about Google Optimize, it allows you to make these changes and then all that information is then saved on the Google server and Google does the hard work for you. Right here, where it says one change, let’s go ahead and take a look at this. What this is going to do is it’s going to launch the page that I’m testing, and it’s going to overlay the Google Optimize interface.
Now, typically, if you wanted to create this page, you would find a website developer, or maybe you’d buy another product, that obviously has these capabilities, as well. But as you can see, when I highlight over things, it begins to give me this blue box. Now, let’s say if I wanted to change this title, for instance. I can click on here, it’s telling me that it’s a heading, and I’m in a test right now, so that’s probably why it won’t let me. But if I click this X, right here, I could actually delete this entire head, or I could change the content on the page.
It’s pretty cool because it’s allowing me to do all of this without any code. I could actually delete a whole section without ever touching code. It’s a pretty cool tool that allows people to make optimization tests or create A/B tests without having to know any extra code. When you’re done, you would just click done, and it would bring you back to the tool.
Now, when you’re setting these up, you want to set objectives. What’s your target? What are you actually trying to accomplish? That’s just done through here, so I was doing a scroll test, and you can get a little bit more in-depth in some of these using Tag Manager. But let’s say, you just want to know how long somebody is on a page, that’s something that you can test here, as well.
If we click on the reporting tab, it will start to show us, which one is doing better. Right now, we have a limited amount of data, there are not enough sessions, so we’re not really going to be able to make a decision yet. But what I can show you is a test that we did on the home buttons. We can see the reporting here. We had a number of viewers visit these pages and this one was the one that obviously performed the best, as we saw it perform 44% better according to the goals that we had set up against our baseline, which was the original. So we had three different variants, the third one was the one that performed the best, and we knew to make those changes on our website.
Get in there, try it out, it can be a little tricky maybe to get started, confusing, but honestly, it’s a pretty easy tool to use. It will even tell you right up here, there was no clear leader found. There wasn’t enough statistical information to say, “Hey, this is the best.” But we actually made the change, and we have seen an improvement in the engagement of our homepage.
Another really cool tool, by Google, that you may not be using is Google Trends. Now, this is a tool that, I think, gets lost a lot in the mix. People are looking at Google Analytics or they’re looking at Google Search Console for keyword data, but Google Trends is a pretty cool tool to help you understand how viewers are researching certain data points. Obviously, they’re going to show you some of the top ones that are going here, at the time.
But let’s say, we run a bakery and we want to know how popular is this term bakery. Well, this shows you the statistics for the past 12 months worldwide. But let’s say we don’t really need to know what the statistics are for the term bakery around the world, we just need to know what it is in our neck of the woods. We actually can go down, all the way here, to find the United States, because we’re always at the bottom. And let’s say, you are a baker and you live in Jacksonville, Florida. Now, as you can see, the terms a little more up and down. We can notice some trends here, right? Like through September, it’s not very popular in the first week of September. Nobody wants baked goods.
You can actually compare terms, so maybe you wanted to look at what’s different between bakers and bakery. Well, bakery is a more popular term, so how would you use this? Maybe when you’re writing content for your website, or you’re optimizing terms, or trying to create pages and you want to know which term is the best to optimize for, but you’re really not sure what all this search data means. Google Trends is a really good tool to help you see the interest in certain terms. It’s not perfect, but it will allow you to get some information. It will also show you related queries for that area you’re searching. It can help you to funnel your information in the right areas. You can do it by search terms or you can even do it by topic.
Bakery could be a topic and this is going to allow you to see how popular all the terms that fall under this topic of bakery are. You see, it correlates a little bit with bakery, but not completely. But, again, this will give you an idea of how popular these terms are on the web, instead of having to go into a keyword tool or pulling Adwords data and looking at high versus low competition. A lot of that stuff can be overwhelming and it can be frustrating, to be honest. That’s a really, really great tool.
Now, the last one is something that Google released not too long ago. It’s a pretty cool little tool. As you see up here, it’s in my Chrome extensions and it’s called Lighthouse. Now, what Lighthouse does is it’s a new Chrome app that allows you to run SEO and website reports right within your browser from Google. What it’s going to do is when you would just click generate report, it will generate a report for you. Let’s just go to this page here and we will click Lighthouse, and we will tell it to generate a report.
What it’s doing now is it’s debugging the browser. It’s scanning my page and it’s looking at my site’s content. Something’s not loading great, but that’s okay. It’s going through the different parts of my page, looking at the URLs, looking at the things that are attached to it, looking at my CSS, my HTML. Really, the makeup of the page and it’s giving me some information on that page and what I can do to optimize it, not just from a search standpoint, but also from a code standpoint, as well as a user standpoint.
Lighthouse from Google could be an easy way to test it out here, right? It’s also in the developer tools, but, as you can see, it’s an open source automated tool for improving webpages. That’s really what it’s about. You have to run it inside of Chrome and it’s a great dev tool. I recommend you take a deeper dive and look into it, but, like I said, it also shows up when we do an inspection. Down here, if you go to audits on this page, right here, it says, “Perform an audit.”
Now, how you get to the developer tools in Chrome, typically, what I do is just right click and it will allow you to inspect a page. But, see, it’s run a test on my site and it’s showing that I need to do some performance optimizations and accessibility optimizations. We’re doing pretty good in SEO, but there are a couple things that we can tweak here, as far as our first interactive parts of our site. We can speed up that offscreen image. Obviously, it’s showing me we’ve got some cleanup to do and things that we can do to improve our website’s performance. This is, again, it’s a free tool. A lot of it gets into very technical stuff, but it can actually read a page, how fast page loads over 3-G network which ensures a good mobile user experience.
It’s saying that, “Hey, we should probably improve our page speed for a 3-G networks.” There’s a lot of cool different things that we can go in here and look at and really optimize our sites around. Those are three awesome tools, free tools, from Google that’s Google Optimize, which is an optimization tool. We talked about Google Trends, which is a keyword and trends tool. And then Lighthouse, which is a new dev SEO performance report tool from Google that allows us to get an in-depth look of the site’s performance and how we can optimize it for better user experience.
Hope you guys learned something new today in this video. And, as always, please hit subscribe and, until next time, Happy Marketing.
This article originally appeared in SMA Marketing.