Digital marketing has evolved over the years. It’s gone from those annoying pop-up ads back in the 1990s to advanced voice search marketing. The industry has even taken tactics from the past and given them 21st Century facelifts. It’s remarkable how complex and technical online marketing is nowadays.
The one company to lead the charge in this digital world? Google.
A lot of people have criticisms over the search engine juggernaut, but it’s undoubtedly the king of search, and everyone needs to tailor their digital marketing efforts to what works on Google. Until Bing or DuckDuckGo surpassed Google as the ruler of the search, it’s about pleasing the Alphabet gods.
So, that said, it’s important to take advantage of the plethora of Google marketing tools available. It’s a vast ecosystem that can ensure your brand is at the front and centre of the SERPs.
Are you unsure where to begin? No worries! We’ve compiled a comprehensive breakdown of the top tools at your disposal – free and otherwise – for business purposes.
1. Google AdSense
Anyone who owns a website likely has Google AdSense.
Whether you’re a publisher or a blogger, you can use ads to your advantage, and not just through revenue generation from clicks and impressions. You can check your website’s progress by receiving performance reports and compare your ad settings against other variations.
In a way, you can get a unique analysis of your webpage and ads that may look like it has a purpose of just getting ad revenue. In reality, you’re doing it to see if your content is marketable.
2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner is a function that’s a part of the Google AdWords realm. It’s a tool that assists digital marketers in planning and crafting their paid search campaigns by identifying keywords that target relevant eyeballs.
Moreover, with its analytical tools, you can compare your keywords, which is critical in gauging what works and what doesn’t. Also, you can set your budget for your pay-per-click campaigns, something incredible for any ad manager.
3. Google Alerts
Instead of performing a manual search of your company on the search engine, you can sign up for Google Alerts. This is a great tool that automatically informs you once a day about anytime your brand, website or name has been referenced by another website or outlet – either complimentary or disparagingly.
When you’re a digital marketer, this is a great tactic to employ because then you can find ways to leverage it to your advantage. You can even find a way to monetise your haters.
4. Google Analytics
How is your website performing? Are you getting enough traffic? Are some of your measurements falling behind? If so, then Google Analytics is a tremendous resource to incorporate into your web strategy.
Analytics is exactly that: you analyse your web property, and Google will determine a diverse array of key performance indicators (KPIs) and even provide some advice to either monetise your website or increase traffic. And, yes, you can come up with a measure to attract visitors at 2am!
5. Google Search Console
Whether it’s on the main Google search results page or in Google News, you want to have a competitive placement (preferably at the top) of the SERPs. This can be hard because of the vast number of websites on the Internet.
That said, Google Search Console is a free service that assists you by monitoring, maintaining and troubleshooting your website’s listing in the search results.
No longer do you need to be in the middle of the 12th page for a search on repo markets!
6. Google Trends
So, what is trending in the world? That is what Google Trends answers.
This is a tool that keeps track of the popularity of various search queries around the world and in different languages. It offers a treasure trove of data relating to different queries over time.
If you’re a graph junkie, a digital marketer or an inquisitive mind and love to know what the public is searching on Google, then Trends is for you.
7. G Suite Marketplace
Formerly known as the Google Apps Marketplace, G Suite Marketplace is an online store for web applications that partner with Google Apps and other third-party software.
This outlet is great to access not only the popular Gmail, Docs and Contacts apps but also a whole host of other applications related to marketing, sales, analytics and customer relationship management (CRM). Sorry, you won’t find time- and productivity-killing games over here!
8. Google Charts
To succeed in digital marketing, you need to be visual, creative and interactive. It’s hard to succeed when you’re only churning out written content.
Google Charts is a service that generates graphical charts that are created from information and data that are supplied by the user. Aside from being free, the feature is lauded for being user-friendly. Indeed, we all know how difficult it can be to create charts on Microsoft Excel manually!
So, rather than spending an entire afternoon guessing with the keys and research codes, you can use Charts.
9. Input Tools
The marketplace has gone global. If you’re a web-based company, then the world is your oyster. There’s no reason why you can’t engage with an audience on the other side of the planet. Sure, there’s the issue with communication, but Google has the answer: Input Tools.
This is an extension that enables you to build a virtual keyboard layout in more than 80 languages. Why this helps with your marketing materials is that you can type your advertisements in any language and style.
Of course, it’s helpful to retain a translator or editor to ensure everything is correct, but the hard part is done with Input Tools.
10. PageSpeed Insights
Studies find that if a website is too slow or not fast enough for the average user’s liking, visitors will abandon your page. Put simply: page speed is imperative to attract, retain and convert prospects.
Are you unsure if your web portal is quick? Google’s PageSpeed Insights maintains a score to find out if your website is speedy. If not, Google possesses an infrastructure that helps you come up with ways to make your website optimised, faster and more secure.
Remember: our attention span is that of monkeys these days, so you want your digital property to be faster than you can say ‘cat in a hat’.
11. Think with Google
A lot of scientists are discovering that search engines are messing with our brains because we are relying on quick searches to answer our questions instead of depending on our memory.
It’s ironic to consider the online juggernaut’s latest offering: Think Insights. But this service is different than just providing you with web results. Instead, it’s a hub for industry research, marketing insights and consumer trends using a wide variety of media, including videos, infographics and statistics. You can find a huge library of content to help you put together a marketing campaign or come across an emerging trend.
Who knows? You may learn that edible packaging is the newest craze in shipping and transportation, so you might devise a type of package that tastes like bacon!
12. Test My Site
Is your website mobile-friendly? We’re not only talking about the functionality of your mobile site but also its speed. No doubt possessing a fast mobile website is far more important than a fast website tailored to desktop computers. The reason? For the most part, a mobile visitor is on the go and needs something quick. So, your mobile response time mustn't lag.
The simplest way to test it out is to take advantage of Google’s Test My Site feature. You can type in any website and receive instant results with a rating and monthly trend.
13. Android Developers
It’s safe to say that most companies should have a mobile application. If you don’t, then you’re missing out on audience reach and customer retention. Google has you covered, though.
Android Developers is a tool that teaches you how to construct an app, build layouts and save data in local databases. In addition to being given basic sample codes, you can also test your app’s performance and user experience before an official release.
Comparable to Android Developers, Firebase is there to improve your mobile development experience.
Google offers numerous functions, such as analytics, crash reporting, cloud storage, databases and messaging. With real-time reporting and ease of scale, your app can reach a huge number of users when you fix the issues and install the recommendations Google provides to you.
15. Mobile-Friendly Test
Wait. Another one? Yes. But the Mobile-Friendly Test, which is a part of the Search Console ecosystem, is a bit different in the sense that it takes a snapshot of what your website looks like on a mobile device and if there are issues when it comes to font, Flash and other issues that a visitor may come across on a mobile page.
If you spent $500 on the greatest GIF of a cat playing backgammon, you want everyone to see it without any hiccups.
16. AMP Test
We touched upon the importance of webpages loading quickly on mobile devices. But how do you go about actually instituting this policy? Through Google’s AMP Test tool.
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a Google-supported venture that is meant to be an open standard for web publishers so that you can verify the proper configuration. Also, using AMP can help you attain a higher ranking in Google’s mobile search results.
17. Google My Business
Thanks to mobile tracking, hyper-local listings on search engines have become crucial to the survival of a lot of mom-and-pop shops.
Google My Business allows you to get listed under its ‘Near Me’ and Google Maps sections. This is great for two reasons. The first is that consumers can learn more about your brand by having your website, phone number and address. The second is that you can put together a free business profile.
And the more of a presence you have on Google, the better it is for your brand.
18. Google Search Ads 360
You or your marketing team probably have established a large-scale search campaign across numerous search engines and media channels. It can be hard to manage and monitor, but that’s where Search Ads 360 enters the picture.
This is a Google-led management platform that helps marketers efficiently take care of these strategies, consolidate their workflow and report on campaign data. With this, you can improve the efficacy of your ad initiatives.
No longer do you need to lose your patience or information by continually accessing various other management platforms for all your marketing needs!
19. Google Voice
Let’s face it: voice search has continually become more popular, driving search engine development and digital marketing tactics. No matter what platform and device you use, voice search has been a paramount evolutionary characteristic on all internet-enabled services. Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and all the other services – searching for stuff with your voice is convenient and functional.
It’s been clear by the experts that the prevalence and dependence on voice will be extremely valuable. Moving forward, digital efforts will continue to invest heavily in creating and optimising content for the sole purpose of voice search in 2020 and beyond – and Google Voice is, of course, the tool you need in your arsenal.
For years, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) had been integral for content distribution and brand awareness. While it may not be as popular as it once was, it’s a tool still incorporated into marketing and management campaigns for bloggers, podcasters and most other web-based content publishers.
Google still has FeedBurner, after acquiring it more than a decade ago, and while the application is around, some of the services are no longer available.
21. Google Drive
Cloud storage and cloud sharing are critical for online project management because it is easily accessible by anyone involved in a venture.
Google Drive is one of the many cloud outlets around and, like its competitors, you can view, edit, share, download and collaborate on your files from your smartphone and tablet. It’s great to help teams work together on a project to enhance a design, improve upon copy or chill out by studying clients’ account balances on a spreadsheet!
22. Google News
As a brand, you want your name out there, and it would be great if you can gain some media coverage.
Google News lists stories written by mainstream media outlets, alternative publications and blogs. It also posts press releases, so if you published a media release, then you could likely find it here.
Ultimately, if a customer uses Google News to find the latest news about your brand, your company can, hopefully, be in the digital pages of The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg or CNBC.
23. Google Data Studio
In the world of big data, data analysis and data science, companies are generating huge volumes of information, even if they don’t know it. And you could be missing out on an opportunity by not leveraging this data.
Of course, it can be complex and vast, but Google Data Studio is a dashboard and reporting tool to allow you to customise, share and transform your data into comprehensive and easy-to-understand reports.
Here comes the fun part: YouTube, a video content publishing platform that offers an ocean of content, from the mundane to the exciting.
You can get lost in the labyrinth of YouTube after just clicking on a single video about cats playing poker, Monica Bellucci being interviewed or the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018. But it’s also a great marketing tool because you can reach a huge audience if you are producing compelling, high-quality and engaging videos that can increase a following for your brand.
25. Google Calendar
We all know what a calendar is – those outdated printed materials that have the dates of the year and photos of supermodels or places you will never get to visit.
Google Calendar is essentially the digital version, but it’s a planner for busy professionals and companies to manage your tasks, deadlines, meetings, appointments and day-to-day duties. What makes it also attractive is that you can streamline operations by sharing attachments, booking video conferences and informing everyone of an important date for the company or a marketing campaign.
And, of course, you can let everyone know about Chris’s upcoming birthday.
26. Campaign URL Builder
If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times: rumours of email marketing’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It remains one of the most effective digital strategies out there, and the return on investment is huge.
How is your email marketing campaign going? To determine that, you can always check out Google Analytics’ Campaign URL Builder, a tool that tracks your campaigns and helps you generate leads. Ultimately Campaign URL Builder determines which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t.
Yes, Google+ is still a thing. While it failed to rival Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn, Google+ still serves a purpose.
There is a belief among professional marketers that if you possess and maintain a Google+ page, then you could lift your rankings in the SERPs. Even if this isn’t true, having another social media page will not hurt your endeavours. Why not one more link to your brand?
It should be noted, however, that Google+ discontinued consumer accounts in April 2019. Right now, Google+ is only available for G Suite accounts through work or school.
28. Rich Results Test
It seems the ultimate goal is to have your standard blue link at the top of a search result. However, Google has helped companies go beyond a link by adopting rich results that consist of non-textual elements such as images, carousels, videos and other related media.
Google has a tool called Rich Results Text to help determine if your website is accessible for rich results.
29. Google Hire
Whether you’re looking for a permanent full-time employee or you want to hire a temp worker on a three-month contract, Google Hire is the place to go.
It’s recruiting and tracking software that helps companies hire qualified candidates at a fast pace. Ultimately, you attract, shortlist, select and appoint relevant candidates.
30. Google AI
Everyone talks about artificial intelligence in the future, but AI is all around us, which is evident by Google AI. This service acts as your own personal digital assistant to search for relevant photos, achieve common tasks and even translate languages.
Essentially, Google AI offers a hands-on experience that takes advantage of technological solutions to everyday problems.
What is your digital marketing campaign like? If it only consists of social media or SEO, then perhaps it’s time to take it to the next stage and start exploring different avenues by combing through the enormous Google marketing suite. This means using PPC, email marketing, voice search… the list goes on. You don’t even need a huge budget to take advantage of the system. Hard work, some know-how and a little bit of luck are the key ingredients to succeeding in the world of e-marketing.
Are there any Google marketing tools worth mentioning? Which of these tools do you use? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article that was originally published on 20 September 2017.