Review of Google SEO tools: Analytics, Search Console and Ads

Google is an SEO giant, with the company holding over 80% of the search engine market share. For website owners and marketers, the company offers three main tools: Analytics, Search Console, and Ads. Together, these three tools form an extremely powerful website monitoring and SEO suite that is completely free.

Are Google SEO tools the right choice to monitor and improve your site’s SEO? We’ll take a closer look at Analytics, Search Console, and Ads to find out.

Packages and rates

Using Google’s SEO tools is completely free. All you need is a Google account. However, buying ads through Google Ads costs money. You can spend as much or as little as you want, but on average you can expect to pay between $1 and $2 per click to your website from search engine ads.

Features

To understand the SEO tools offered by Google, we’ll look at each of the three different marketing interfaces: Analytics, Search Console, and Ads.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is designed to help you quickly track your website’s performance. At a glance, you can see how many users are currently on your website, where those users are located, and what type of device they are accessing your site with. All of this is displayed in a series of simple tables and graphs, which you can click on for more detailed information.

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Equally important, Analytics gives you insight into your website’s historical audience. You can define a custom date range from which to pull visitor data. Then you can dive into demographics like the age, gender, and interests of your site visitors.

Another useful aspect of Analytics is that you can see how visitors behave on your website. The platform offers a flowchart that illustrates where visitors go after landing on your homepage and how long they spend on each page. This is extremely useful for finding specific pages or areas of content that cause visitors to leave your website.

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Analytics shines especially if you are running an advertising campaign. You can easily compare traffic characteristics before, during and after the campaign. If you’re sending visitors to a custom landing page, you can also easily monitor whether they convert to sales after landing on your site.

Google Search Console

While Analytics is designed to help you monitor your site’s performance, Search Console is designed to help you improve performance. You can find information about the search engine keywords that users typed into Google to arrive at your site. Search Console also lets you know how many people see your website in search results and how many of those impressions turn into site visits.

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One of the important things Search Console tracks is how many times your website is linked to, both internally and from other sites. This plays a major role in the SEO ranking of your website. Search Console also highlights any coding errors on your website that could negatively affect your search engine rankings.

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What Search Console doesn’t tell you, however, is how your website actually ranks in search results for specific keywords. This is a critical omission, especially if you plan to use a keyword-based advertising campaign to increase your site’s visibility.

Google Ads

Google Ads is a platform to help you design ads that appear on the Google search engine. These ads are basically text with a link to a chosen landing page, so setting them up is relatively simple. Importantly, you can choose specific keywords that trigger your ad, as well as limit your ads to people in specific geographies around your business.

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One of the key things about ads is setting your budget. Google automatically places your ads using an auction system, which ensures that you get what you pay for. Ads will give you an estimate of how many clicks you’ll get for a given budget, but results can vary widely.

To see how your ad is performing, you will need to rely on Analytics and Search Console. The ads themselves don’t offer much in terms of performance analysis, although you can monitor your ongoing campaigns and spend.

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Interface and in use

Google is famous for its user-friendly user experiences, and Analytics, Search Console and Ads illustrate why. All three SEO tools use an easily navigable left-side menu bar with drop-down menus that help organize your data displays. On top of that, in Analytics you can create custom dashboards and reports to put the most useful performance information in front of you.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Google’s SEO interface is that Analytics, Search Console, and Ads are three different platforms. You can link Search Console and Ads, but you still need to navigate between the two interfaces for most tasks.

Separating the three platforms keeps their respective missions (performance monitoring, performance optimization, and ad campaign creation) clearly defined. But, it would be a more streamlined experience if they were integrated into a single user interface.

Support

Google offers web-only support for Analytics and Search Console. Both platforms have comprehensive documentation centers and all you have to do is describe your problem to find the appropriate help file. If you get stuck, however, support is limited to posting to a help forum and hoping another user answers your question.

Support for announcements is more concrete. There is an online documentation library similar to what you will find for Analytics and Search Console. But you can also get help by phone, live chat or email.

(Image credit: Google)

The competition

Google is one of the only services to provide such a wealth of data about your web traffic and SEO for free. That said, there are a number of other SEO packages that repackage Google Analytics and Search Console to give you more flexibility or custom data analytics.

For example, Heap presents Google search data in a more user-friendly way for website owners who are not also data scientists. GoSquared essentially mimics Google Analytics, but has the added benefit of being able to integrate with a CRM platform.

Verdict

The trifecta of Google Analytics, Search Console and Ads is an extremely powerful combination for website owners. Together, the three tools not only allow you to monitor your website traffic, but also drive more traffic through organic and paid search results. The only important thing that Google’s SEO tools lack is information about how your website ranks in search results for specific keywords. Still, since Google doesn’t charge anything for its SEO suite, it’s pretty hard to complain.

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