Google is the world’s most visited website, one of (the two) most effective advertising platforms available to marketers and the kings of staying ahead of their competition.
When it comes to product development, added bonuses and technological advancements, it’s usually the market leaders who out-perform their nearest rivals…
…and it’s pretty obvious why: they have more expendable money and manpower!
BTW: Google’s corporate owner, Alphabet, posted a revenue of $36.4 Billion in the first quarter of 2019.
Whilst Google are often thought of as just a search engine, they actually offer lot more, especially to help the people who contribute the most to their success, content marketers.
Yes, media buyers and digital ad agencies (like ours) spend money on the Google ads that generate revenue and profits, but without content, their search engine would be…pointless.
Imagine going to Google, making a search around a question, problem or product and your query returning 0 results (in other words, no content!). Would you go back?
The better the content, the better Google’s search engine can perform which means…
…more people use their search engine and marketers spend more on ads.
In order to keep content marketers happy, Google has created a whole host of tools.
In this post I’m going to highlight 5 that I couldn’t live without and explain why they’re so important to Content Marketers.
Let’s get into this:
I have to begin this rundown with my absolute favourite. If I was forced to choose just one tool, it would be Google Analytics.
The power of the data held here is immeasurable. This might not be news to many content marketers, in fact, you’ve probably heard it a million times, but that won’t stop me going on about it.
If you haven’t already, make sure your website is plugged into Google Analytics.
As a marketer, there is nothing more valuable than the performance of your current content. It allows you to learn more about your audience, track tests and discover insights that enable serious content optimisation.
Not a day goes by when I don’t track the analytics of our site(s). My first stop is (almost always) ‘Acquisition’, where I track the performance of our traffic sources, including research into ‘Referral’ traffic sources.
I then move into ‘Behaviour’ to discover our top performing pages. From here, I am able to analyse more about our audiences’ preferences (including test subjects) and hone my future content topics.
There are hundreds of different ways to use Google Analytics and a thousand different optimisation tactics. I don’t have time to run through them all here, but keep your eye on the blog and I’ll whip something up very soon.
In the meantime, make sure you’re keeping a regular check on the behaviour of your audience, your ‘goal’ conversion sources and your traffic driving backlink acquisitions (in Referrals).
My second pick is the Google Chrome browser. This might be something of a controversial pick, especially given the number of tools that Google offer…
…but trust me, when you understand how to wield this weapon, it can completely transform your digital processes.
As I mentioned earlier, Google have a huge amount of resources available to them and as a result, they decided to create their own browser.
Not only is this thing faster, slicker and more user friendly than any of its rivals, it also allows marketers to up their digital games.
When somebody talks to me about marketing tools, the first thing I normally ask is, ‘what browser do you use?’
Why? Google Chrome allows a ton of essential tools to integrate seamlessly into their browser, by way of their Google Chrome Extensions.
BTW: if you don’t know what a Google Chrome Extension is, it’s similar to an app that you install on your mobile phone.
These ‘extensions’ work on (almost) all websites, are forever-ready and super simple to use. After installing a Google Chrome Extension, it will sit at the top right of your browser window, making it available at all times, without disturbing your browsing (or work).
If you’d like to learn more about Google Chrome Extensions, check out my post about the Top Chrome Marketing Extensions.
And before we move on, it’s thought that people who use Safari or Internet Explorer are less likely to be successful because they don’t show the initiate to test alternatives. Think about it!
Google Search Console
Organic search traffic is a key indicator of content marketing success and the best place to analyse it is Google Search Console.
This amazing tool, previously called Google Webmaster Tools, was updated last year, making it really easy to use (even for a complete novice) and visualise results.
Similarly to Google Analytics, there are hundreds of different optimisation tactics that derive from the results you’ll find on this dashboard.
I keep a regular check on performance ‘clicks’, ‘impressions’ and ‘CTR’, this allows me to analyse the results of our various SEO efforts.
If you’re just starting out or don’t ever use the results from Google Search Console, I’d advise you to begin by analysing your pages with the highest ‘impressions’ and lowest ‘CTR’.
These are the pages that are seen most on Google’s search engine, but clicked the least. You should then analyse why the post is ranking (is it a high volume keyword? Is something trending? Have you gained backlinks from high DA websites?), before looking at why nobody is clicking the link.
Try to look at Google from the perspective of the user. Within the search results users only have a title and meta description to decide the result they’d like to click. Analyse yours against those around you and optimise from there.
Test My Site
The speeds of Wifi connections have increased hugely over the last few years, and whilst I strongly advise you to run regular site speed tests, it’s also vital that you check out your site from a mobile user’s perspective.
Google have a tool called ‘Test My Site’, which runs a speed test on any website from a 4G mobile connection.
The tool returns:
- An ‘Overview’ of the site speed, including a speed rating and an image of how your site appears on a mobile.
- An ‘Optimize your page speed’ report. This shows you how and where you can improve the speed of your website.
Whilst some of the speed optimisation techniques might require technical skills, there are some that won’t and these can make a massive difference to the performance of your website.
Google prefers to recommend websites that load fast (on their search results) as they improve user experience (nothing’s more irritating than a website that takes ages to load)…
…so if you really want to fly up the rankings and appeal to Google’s algorithm, make sure you’re optimising your website for speed (on all devices)!
BTW: We use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for every page on our website. This gains us tons of organic traffic. If you aren’t already, go get it!
Find me a content marketer worth their salt who doesn’t check their calendar every other hour of the day.
Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, I’m always tweaking, adjusting and rearranging my calendar (I really don’t have a memory for dates).
I use Google Calendar to organise everything in my content marketing life, from publish dates, reviewing guest articles, communications, collaborations, tests (result check dates), ideas, client work…you name it, you’ll find it in my Google calendar.
This essential tool allows me to work more efficiently in other areas, and puts me at ease when switching from laptop to desktop to mobile.
If you aren’t using a calendar for content marketing, I recommend you start! Use Google Calendar to keep on top of everything.
Those are my top 5 Google tools for content marketing, and yes (before anyone asks), they’re all free.
There are a few other honourable mentions that very almost made the list….(Google Docs was a definite contender) but in the end, I couldn’t look any further than the 5 in this article.
These tools all contribute to my content marketing performance across all platforms. If you’re serious about content marketing, invest some time in navigating, understanding and optimising these 5 super-valuable tools.
I do read your stuff, all your stuff. For the simple reason it all makes sense and gives valuable advice; and importantly no bu–s–t. regards, david b. leylnad
Thank you for the comment and the kind words!
When I started marketing, I noticed that most experienced marketers seemed to act very high-brow with their content (almost like they were trying to show off).
I think that content that is more accessible and easy to understand, is so much more valuable!