Google Adwords Keyword Tool
This is the tool I use to perform research on keywords. There are other free tools, but it’s just the one I prefer, plus it probably uses the widest global scope of data available in a single source.
Here’s the link:
You’ll need a Google login to get best access to this tool. You don’t need a special one, as you can just use your gmail login or the same Google login you would use for other Google services. You may however need to set up Adwords account info, but just fill in whatever is needed. There’s no commitment from you to use any Google paid services, and you don’t incur any costs in using the Keyword Tool.
Using this tool is relatively easy, but interpreting the data accurately is not easy at all. It requires good understanding of semantics, and some application of logic in relation to word structure, word roots, meanings, especially as parts of sets or subsets etc. It requires native language ability at the very least. From my experience, many SEO specialists (even those with years of experience in SEO) don’t know how to do this effectively, so I definitely wouldn’t expect you could if you had no experience, or were a beginner. It will however give you some really valuable insights into what things are being searched, and what really isn’t. That alone should be the cornerstone of keyword use in your website, and does present a huge amount of valuable data you can start using right away.
Totally awesome statistics analysis tool for your website. Again, this needs a Google login to gain access, but is totally free to use.
Here’s the link:
This tool can tell you where your visitors are from, what they searched to find you, what pages they looked at while visiting your site and much more. You can also use eCommerce tracking to work out what searches are resulting in which sales. It will also help you analyse where something could be going wrong, which is obviously very valuable too. There is so much data in GA that I’d recommend leaving this to the professional to analyse for you. It interfaces nicely with Google Adwords so that data is shared between these systems for a better holistic view of your website’s performance.
In time, I’ll be adding some “how to” info about Google Analytics to this website, so watch this space.
Google Search Console
This is the best starting point if you have just launched your website. Much of this tool is useless unless your website is LIVE on its intended domain name.
Here’s the link:
With this tool, you can submit site maps, kick off indexing of the website, submit individual pages or whole directories, set you preferred domain configuration, set your target geographic location and much more. You will need either FTP access to your website, or be able to add a Meta tag into your pages to be able to begin using this tool, but once that’s done, the tool will start generating some great data for you, plus it can also provide historical data of up to 3 months if your domain was already live for that time.
I personally wouldn’t attempt doing SEO work on a website without getting GSC added. I find this tool to be absolutely indispensable. Once again though, some technical analysis skills, and interpretation of data is required. Patterns and trends aren’t always that easy to spot, and then act on. For the beginner, use this as a toll to show you how your site is performing in Google over time. For the experienced user, a full analysis of the data can help guide improvements for the site in general, or individual pages, it allows fast submissions of changes, faster rank establishment and great overall trend analysis.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Here’s the link to Bing’s equivalent:
Bing Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Central Blog
Excellent Google Blog site where you can feel more comfortable about asking those questions you need answered.
Google’s Webmaster Central blog offers a multitude of categories your can either browse for answers in, or directly interact with. I’ve used this on several occasions and got lots of awesome advice directly from Google employees. Yes! From Google staffers themselves! Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need to, but be aware there are also some relatively inexperienced people posting there that may have opinions not totally based on fact. Generally, use the poster’s “level” indicator as a rough guide as to whether their advice is worth listening to. Comments from Google employees are marked with the Google logo.
It provides for an interesting venue to see what other people are experiencing in SEO, what their challenges have been, and what they did to resolve any problems.