5 free Google SEO tools and how to use them

by Heather Cowper on September 30, 2012

In this Guest Post from Emma-Julie Fox we cover some of the top free SEO tool from Google and how you can use them to analyse you travel blog’s performance, identify problems with your site and target topics that will be profitable and interesting to your readers

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! When it comes to Google, it’s the best approach that bloggers can employ. You can criticize the search giant, but if you want online visibility for your blog you have to play with Google (usually by its rules). This is why most SEO experts recommend using or at least becoming familiar with the following Google SEO tools.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools to measure your blog’s performance. You’ll have to log in with your Gmail account credentials, and then set up Google Analytics on your blogsite.

The tool provides useful insights like; which queries are getting you the maximum traffic; where is your referral traffic coming from; how much time are your visitors spending on a particular post; and where do you rank in Google for the keywords you have optimized your site for. The results will help you identify and even discover new high performing keywords and understand what kind of posts and subjects are generating the maximum interest, gain a better understanding of your visitor profile and their reading patterns.

You may also need to provide Analytics figures to sponsors and advertisers when you decide to monetize your blog.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools can point out some key issues that could bring your Google rankings down. From broken links, presence of malware, slow loading speed to unnatural links, and indexing problems, the webmaster tool will tell you exactly what’s wrong with the blog!

You can sign in to Google webmaster with your Gmail credentials. If you have a blogger blog, the webmaster tool will add it to your account automatically. Otherwise, you’ll have to verify your blogsite.

Pro tip: One of the most useful webmaster tools for newbie travel bloggers is the Fetch Google. If some posts are not indexed, you may use the Fetch Google tool to make the Google spider crawl your post.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

While almost everyone knows of the existence of Google AdWords Keyword Tool, a lot of bloggers do not know how to use it. If you want to identify the most profitable keywords for your blog, you must select the ‘exact match’ option in the column on the left.

The default setting is for ‘broad match’. While the setting is good if you need only keyword suggestions, you won’t get an accurate idea of the search volumes and competition levels for a keyword without checking ‘exact match’.

Pro tip: Once you have identified a keyword with AdWords, generate its variations using this tool.

Keyword Statistics From Google Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com Keyword Statistics From Google

Google Trends

Travel Bloggers can use Google Trends to compare search queries and identify the most popular trends to write about. For instance, a comparative Google Trends Report for queries—‘work and travel’, and ‘study and travel’ reveal the search trends for both with a comparative analysis of the search queries in different geographical areas.

Identifying Search Trends Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com Identifying Search Trends

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is not actually a SEO tool, but it can be used by travel bloggers for several online marketing tasks including:

Monitoring Your Blog’s reputation: Set a Google alert for your name or that of your blog and you’ll get an e-mail every time you or your blog is mentioned in a post, article, or news story.

Competition and Industry watch: Setting an alert for your competitors will help you keep track of their blogs. In addition you may also set up alerts related to the travel niches you focus on, to keep yourself updated.

Fine-tune your blog marketing strategy: Setting up alerts for the keywords you want to rank for will help you identify who your competition is and what kind of content they are creating for the same keywords.

These tools don’t guarantee SEO success, but they can certainly push you in the right direction. Of course you must not forget that the tools are developed by Google, which has its own business interests to look after, so the statistics and figures may be a little biased and not always 100% accurate.

My thanks for this Guest Post to Emma-Julie Fox who writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com

More great SEO Tips

How to create a successful WordPress site – podcast
SEO Tips from the World Travel Market – Making the most of the Web
SEO for travel bloggers – The Hamlet Skit from TBEX Copenhagen

This article is originally published at My Blogging Journey. You’ll also find lots of great travel stories, videos and podcasts at our travel blog at Heather on her travels

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

rosemary September 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Can you talk more about how to add the code for the analytics? I am having issues trying to get it coded as I am familiar with html and don’t want to screw up the blog’s coding.
Thanx much !!
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Heather October 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

@Rosemary I think the safest way to get the code onto your site is to use a Google Analytics plugin assuming that you are using Wordpress – Check on the Wordpress.org Plug in directory as there are a few there. You could also google for more detailed instructions – I must admit that it’s a while since I did this myself. However, if you’re still having problems let me know and I will ask my webmaster for more information.


Mark October 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hi @rosemary,

Based on your website link, you are using blogger.com. And I assume you had already setup a Google Analytics account with your Web Property ID (a.k.a UA number).

The simplest way without screwing up the blog’s code:

1. Go to your blogger dashboard/home and the blog you want to add the Analytics tracking to
2. Click on Settings > Other > Google Analytics.
(For old interface, go to Settings > Basic > Google Analytics Web Property ID).
3.Provide the UA number into the Google Analytics Web Property ID text box and Click Save Settings.

But if your really want to paste the Analytics code on your webpage try this:

1. Go to your dashboard/home and the blog you want to add Analytics tracking to, click on Template .

2. Click on Edit HTML button . A window will prompt a warning but we know what we are doing so click on Proceed.

3. An editing screen for your blog template’s HTML displays. Don’t freak out. Just scroll to the bottom look for the end of the template </body> tag or use quick find by pressing CTRL+F and type </body>

It’ll look like:

< !– end outer-wrapper –>
(Replace this block with your Google Analytics Code !!!)

4. Put your cursor right before that </body> tag.
5. Paste the Google Analytics Code Block by selecting Edit > Paste, Ctrl+V or Command+V.
6.Click Save Changes

Hope that helps.


Kashmir January 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

I have been using google analytics, google webmasters and adwords keyword tool for quite some time now but don’t know much about google trends and alerts tool.
Recently google has added some new features in analytics and webmasters tools and they are quite attractive.


Heather Cowper January 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm

@Kashmir Yes, I need to explore the new Google Analytics features myself


milan June 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

very help full for my travel blog http://diy2k.blogspot.com/ thanks a lot wish some suggestion from you.


Sab August 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Thank you so much for this useful list, that helps me so much!


Anita October 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

These are good information, I always wanted to add a Google Alert for my blog and thanks to your post I finally did it :-).


Carey Ann October 29, 2013 at 1:47 am

Thank you for this. Even though I have had a blog for two years, I still struggle with this and, thankfully, you’ve spelled it out in a way I understand it!


seo in guk i live alone December 7, 2013 at 7:32 am

I really like looking through a post that will make men and women think.
Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!
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