Here are the best Google SEO tools what to use them for and how to familiarise yourself with them to help your search engine optimisation efforts, so you can drive more traffic to your website.
These are some of the most popular SEO tools that Google has to offer. That can help you understand and measure the performance of; content, technical and links in SEO.
Whether you’re looking for keyword research tools or SEO performance tracking software, we’ve grouped these tools according to the relevant pillar of SEO they relate to so it’s easier to find a tool to solve the problem you need to.
Make sure to factor website checks using insights and recommendations from these tools into your SEO strategy.
Remember, SEO tools don’t solve problems, you’ll need to be able to optimise the critical elements of your website to help improve performance.
These tools also won’t help you complete every SEO job, all the SEO tasks you need to think about cannot be managed by tools alone.
Google offers some of the strongest tools for helping you understand technical issues with your website and the impact that these issues might be having on your website.
Here’s an introduction to Google Search Console features and how to use them to improve your website.
Google Search Console
Search console is probably your single most important resource if you are looking to develop your SEO knowledge and improve your website’s organic search performance.
Google Search Console offers one of the most comprehensive website management platforms, site health checkers and organic search performance measurement tools that you’ll find. Plus, it’s a completely free SEO tool.
So why is Google Search Console so important?
Because setting up search console allows Google’s search engine ranking algorithm to communicate SEO metrics and reports directly with you.
Google Search Console will alert you if;
- A batch of high quality indexable pages gets blocked from the index
- Crawl issues prevent your website from being accessed by GoogleBot
- How well your pages rank in Google and which keywords deliver traffic to your pages
- Alerts you to manual actions or penalties affecting your website
- Flags technical improvements you can make to core web vitals scores or page speed
- Gives you some idea of GoogleBot crawl behaviour and frequently crawled URLs
- Identifies broken schema or schema where elements are missing
- Can help you understand whether pages have technical issues preventing Google from accessing content
Everything Google measures, tracks and records about the organic performance of your website is tracked and recorded in Google search console.
Here is how to use some of Google Search Console’s best features;
- Performance monitoring
- Index coverage reports
- Sitemaps, here is why sitemaps are important for search engines and how to find the sitemap for your website
- Keyword rank tracking
- Mobile usability
- Core web vitals
- Schema, here is what product schema markup is and how to check your schema markup is working
- Performance Monitoring in Google Search Console
You’ll see critical organic search performance over time. Clicks in blue, impressions in purple and CTR in green with organic positions in orange.
Search console is probably the single best keyword research tool out there, so it pays to familiarise yourself with how it works.
Here is how to connect Google Search Console to your website if you haven’t already done so.
Why is Search Console useful?
This data is all from Google organic search and can help you identify what kind of keywords could be added to your pages to improve the performance of your website on Google.
You’ll also see, over time, the performance of long tail keywords and search queries on certain pages, certain site sections or the domain property as a whole.
Search console performance reports can be a good way to identify keywords dropping in position and help you to identify if your overall website performance is dropping.
Once you put a page live on your website, you should see keyword ideas begin to show against your pages. Add the relevant keywords from those suggested by the tool to your page, in critical areas, and your pages should begin to rank even better for those search queries.
Search impressions included in the reports are indicative of search volumes for the queries, so helps to give you some idea of where the traffic volumes are.
However, there’s no keyword difficulty indicator, so you’ll need to try an alternative keyword research tool if you think keyword difficulty might factor into your site performance.
It is also a great way to keep an eye on organic traffic.
Index coverage reports
Index coverage reports can help you quickly and easily index issues at speed. Pages are grouped by issue to help save you time investigating specific issues.
Issues included in the reports range from;
- errors – this might included pages blocked in robots.txt, pages now returning 404 or 4XX status codes or redirect errors.
- warnings – less severe than errors these are typically indexed but blocked by robots.txt URLs and can be pages indexed with content rendering issues.
- valid – indexed pages, these are usually broken down by those submitted as part of a sitemap and those that aren’t submitted in sitemap
- excluded – issues here can vary quite significantly and include; noindex meta robots, tag crawled – currently not indexed and discovered – currently not indexed
Every Excluded Status Type Explained
You’ll be able to see examples of pages that Google search engine bots have discovered but currently isn’t able to or have decided not to add to the index and these can present opportunities for you to make changes to pages to ensure they do get indexed.
|Excluded||Page with redirect||This indicates a page that Googlebot crawls, which redirects to another page and is therefore, not included in the index|
|Excluded||Alternate page with proper canonical tag||This indicates the use of proper canonicalization. Where a page has been found that references another in the canonical tag. The canonical tag on these pages is being respected and the URLs are not indexed.|
|Excluded||Blocked by robots.txt||There’s a robots.txt rule that is preventing this URL or this set of URLs from being indexed. Ensure this robots.txt rule is correct.|
|Excluded||Crawled – currently not indexed||The page has been crawled by Google search engine bots but has not been added to the page. This hints at the page being accessible, but for some reason, Google has decided not to index it.|
|Excluded||Not found (404)||The page returns a not found (404) status code.|
|Excluded||Discovered – currently not indexed||Google knows about these URLs but hasn’t crawled them yet. If these issues don’t resolve, evaluate the quality of the content of the pages.|
|Excluded||Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical||There’s no canonical tag on URLs included here and Google considers the content as a duplicate of another page. You’ll want to consider whether these pages are correctly handled.|
|Excluded||Duplicate without user-selected canonical||There’s no selected canonical tag Google has assigned a canonical version of its own and has not indexed these URLs.|
|Excluded||Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user||There is a user defined canonical tag, but it is different from the one Google interprets as correct for this page.|
|Excluded||Soft 404||The page content is low quality or technical issues are affecting the content display. Google will not index the URLs until content quality is improved.|
|Excluded||Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag||URLs are excluded by the meta robots noindex tag. Ensure this is correctly applied.|
|Excluded||Blocked due to unauthorized request (401)||Googlebot is blocked from accessing the page by a 401 request for authentication response.|
|Excluded||Alternate page with proper canonical tag||There’s a user selected canonical tag which Google has determined is accurate. These URLs won’t be indexed because they are canonicalized to another page.|
URL Inspection Tool
The URL inspection tool is an important tool for helping to diagnose indexing issues with specific URLs and identify details that may not be quite right with pages.
The URL inspection tool originated from Google’s fetch and render tool that previously gave insights into;
- whether a URL was indexable
- whether a URL was indexed
- What specifically is preventing a URL from being indexed
- How the content renders on the page with GoogleBot as a user agent
What you’ll see after testing a page in the URL inspection tool.
You’ll see rendered HTML (below my crude black squiggles).
When you test the live URL;
You’ll then also get to see a render, according to GoogleBotMobile of the on page content;
This tool is invaluable for diagnosing;
- What is keeping a URL from the index – you may see warnings like; meta-robots tags including noindex, canonical tags pointing at alternative pages or crawled currently not indexed warnings.
Click on settings in the left hand panel, scroll down to “Crawling” and press “Open Report”.
Within the crawl report, you’ll see Google’s crawling patterns to your website within the last 90 days.
Stats here include total crawl requests, total downloaded size and average response time in ms.
You’re also able to breakdown Google crawl requests by;
- status code; to help you understand how many noindexable URL status codes are being crawled
- By Googlebot type; Check how often Google is crawling your site by smartphone bot, Desktop, Image and AdsBot.
- Page resource load; the user agent responsible for fetching CSS files.
- AdsBot; the bot responsible for crawling GoogleAds which crawls about every 2 weeks.
- StoreBot; the product shopping crawler
- Video; Googlebot video, if video content is used on your site.
- By purpose is the URL being crawled for the first time (discovery) or to check if changes have been made (refresh).
- Refresh; understanding the pages that get crawled most frequently can help you understand which pages have the most potential.
- Discovery; ensure new pages have been discovered and crawled.
You can set up Bing webmaster tools to measure organic search performance in Bing too.
Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights is a fantastic free web tool that allows you to simulate loading your web pages on a slower remote device or a desktop URL.
The tool simulates poor or slow connections and highlights where and how you can make improvements to the speed of pages on your website.
It’s also a great tool for understanding what specific resources, code files or on page elements are impacting the page load speeds of your website.
Page Speed insights is also an incredibly easy tool to use.
To run a test on any single website page, just paste the URL into the box. Once the report has run, you’ll see details of which specific areas your page performs well in and where it can be improved.
Each area of measurement is broken down into how Google measures core web vitals scores today.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
First Input Delay (FID)
Largest Content Paint (LCP)
You’ll also get a list of opportunities that can help to improve other elements of your website page speed.
Mobile Friendly Test Tool
Use the mobile friendly test tool to assess the content on your website for mobile friendly scores.
It can help you detect content that’s too wide for the screen, text that is too small
Just paste the URL of your page into the tool and run a report. You’ll see a render of the page which can help you to understand if your page is “mobile friendly”.
Mobile friendly, in this context, essentially means; displays all content and links on a mobile screen as it does on a desktop or laptop.
So many sites don’t pass these tests, even 4 years since Google announced mobile first ranking.
If you can’t see the issue even after the test, try loading the page on mobile devices to see if it’s more obvious what is wrong there.
You can also use the mobile friendly test tool after a migration to a react based website because it gives you an idea of how Google renders your pages.
When to use Mobile Friendly Test Tool
You’ll usually find this most valuable after you get a warning flagged in search console that a page isn’t mobile friendly.
Manually using the tool helps you to verify the issue and it will give you specific insights into the issue.
Here’s where you’ll find the mobile friendly test tool.
Chrome test tools – inspect
If you’re a Chrome user, inspect is a great way to diagnose SEO issues without a crawler or tool.
Just right click anywhere on an open browser tab with the page you want to inspect and press “inspect”.
You’ll see the code that powers the content for your website.
What can you use inspect for
You can use inspect to diagnose pretty much any technical SEO errors with a page. You can see canonical tag errors, noindex meta tags, missing meta descriptions and problems with internal linking anchor texts.
Inspect is an incredibly versatile tool that allows you to see the page code as a search engine might.
Firefox and Edge also have versions of inspect so if you prefer those browsers, look there instead.
Link Building Tools
Google doesn’t prioritise link building tools within its official toolset. However, there is one fantastic tool that Google does provide through Google Search Console.
Links in Google Search Console
While insights in the links section of Google search console are not the most detailed. It is a useful source for understanding which of your pages are most valuable based on the link counts from both internal sources and your other web pages.
Check out links in Google Search console and there you’ll find;
- Top linked pages – the pages on your website that attract the highest number of external links, typically your home page
- Top linking sites – the specific referring domains of websites that link most frequently to your website
- Top linking text – the works that sites use within their anchor text to link to your site
These reports can help you understand;
- your most valuable pages (by external links)
- keywords that you could be able to rank for, based on anchor text
The internal links section includes an indication of which are the most commonly linked to pages on your website, from other internal pages.
This can be a great way to easily find low internally linked pages or orphan pages, which are a technical SEO issue.
The best backlink analysis tool isn’t something that Google are themselves offer.
However, the insights that Search Console provides should not be ignored.
Content Analysis & Development
Content is one of the most valuable parts of any SEO strategy so you’ll want tools you can rely on. Here are the best free SEO tools that Google provide for keyword research.
This is Google’s tool for Google Adwords users to help plan out campaigns. However, Google ads are not the only use here. You can enter seed queries and ideas to generate ideas and keyword lists, plus you’ll get keyword search volume so you’ll know where the potentially high volume opportunities lie.
Monthly search volume for each keyword is provided alongside each keyword, plus you’ll get average bids for each keyword depending upon where your hypothetical advert would appear on Google Search results. Bid ranges are useful to understand how commercialised a keyword is, what the value is and how difficult it will be to rank for that particular set of queries.
You can also discover new keywords related to your niche or topic and get search volume forecasts too.
Once you get used to using Keyword planner, it’ll become one of your favourite keyword tools.
Google Trends can be a controversial SEO tool.
Some see it as an invaluable keyword research tool, whereas others think of it as more of a user behaviour aggregator.
Using Google Trends for reliable SEO insights is tricky. There are no search volumes attached to trends, instead, you’ll see a line graph with a number over time that indicates the popularity of a particular search query or phrase that you’re investigating.
The line represents the current popularity of the search query vs its all time popularity. This popularity is indicated by a score out of 100.
So, for a term like NFT, the peak popularity, where the keyword reached its peak search interest was in January 2022, with a score of 100.
The term NFT currently sits at 23, meaning it’s roughly 23% as popular as it was then.
The average monthly search volume for NFT is approximately 301,000, so you could argue that the current volume is around; 78,260.
The same is true of keywords going the other direction.
Breakout keywords are what some believe as shortcuts to quick traffic volumes.
They’re described as having “the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period”
However, in most cases, these will represent a keyword gaining temporary interest, rising very quickly and then dropping off again just as quickly.
Keywords with very low initial volumes are much more likely to be marked as “breakout” queries because they have such a low benchmark from which to start.
Google Business Profile (Google My Business)
Think of this as Twitter or Facebook for business but on Google, or as a digital noticeboard for your brand.
You can use Google Business Profile to promote content or new products, make announcements to customers or update your web visitors with a link directly to a blog post or page on your website.
You can add opening times, areas that you serve, details of the services you offer, photos of your team and your products accept messages from customers and allow them to book appointments or meetings.
There’s also a useful review section, where you can prompt satisfied customers to add reviews for your organisation.
Used correctly, as part of an SEO content strategy, Google Business profile (Google My Business) can help accelerate your visibility on the popular search platform.
You can add multiple account for branches of your business in different locations.
Here’s where you can register your organisation for Google Business Profile.
Google Sheets, Google Docs & Google Slides
An SEO tool suite that nobody ever talks about is Google sheets, docs, slides and forms.
Each of these tools can play an essential part in any SEO strategy and they’re free to use.
SEO professionals love Google docs for providing accurate and relevant feedback on new content being produced, the simple comment function allows SEO managers to comment in specific keywords exactly where they should be added to a piece of content.
A number of SEO tools for Google sheets are also available, which can help to streamline your workflows and make the process of organic search optimisation much faster.
People also ask
This one isn’t a Google tool, but more of a free feature that appears on Google search engine results.
If you’re researching a topic or planning a content piece or product launch, you can find relevant questions that users search for through the people also ask box on Google search results.
There’s no keyword data against the questions here but they’re often very low volume, however, that often means many of them are low competition too, so they could be easier to rank for.
Check out people also ask as part of your next keyword research project.
Relevant keyword research can be made simpler when you start at the end of a topic and work backwards.
Performance Reporting & Analysis
Here are the best free google tools to help you monitor your site’s performance. In addition to the performance tracking offered within Google Search Console, you should be able to get reliable data and instant SEO metrics with these tools set up.
Google Analytics – GA4
GA4 is the new standard of reporting for SEO and web pages and digital apps. Google is retiring Universal Google Analytics as of July 2023, after which no data will be collected.
Many an SEO professional has come to lament the retirement of Universal Analytics which was seen by many as far superior to GA4.
However, GA4 offers multiple important features that can help you track the performance of your websites through Google’s free reporting suite.
Google Data Studio
Data Studio is a reporting suite that allows you to build custom reports consolidating all of your SEO performance metrics in one place.
It’s easy to use, easy to customise reports add data and build in custom formatting through Google sheets, third party plugins and your website’s admin panel.
If you’re looking for an all in one reporting suite for SEO, then look no further than Google Data Studio.
Use bigquery, another tool from Google, although this is paid, to create data warehouses to store your data.
With Data Studio, you can visualise common behaviours and interactions that occur on your website, as well as helping you understand where traffic to your website commonly originates.
Google Tag Manager
Tag Manager is a great tool for building custom tracking and URL tools into your website pages.
Use Google Tag Manager to create custom events that you can track within your Google analytics.
Google tag manager allows you to quickly and simply create firing tags that trigger an event in your Google Analytics so you can measure interactions that users have with your website pages.
Whether you are measuring internal link clicks, interactions with custom features on your website, form fills or clicks out to your social channels, Google Tag Manager can be customised to track and record this event directly in GA4.
Here’s where you can get started with Google Tag Manager.
Google Tag Assistant
Google tag assistant is a Chrome plugin that can help you diagnose issues with your reporting system set up or Google analytics implementation.
Use the Google tag assistant plugin on your website pages to test if your google analytics is correctly set up.
Tag assistant is easy to install and works automatically when you are verified via a website Google Analytics account.
Top 5 Free Google SEO Tools
Here are our top 5 free Google SEO tools to help you get started with SEO.
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed finding out about the best Google SEO tools for helping improve the SEO performance of your website.