There are many things that small business owners don’t have a lot of, and time is one of them.
As a small business owner, it can be frustrating to pour your limited time and energy into your website only to find that it’s not getting the organic traffic you desire. But fear not! Google has a host of free tools available to help you tackle your SEO and get your website the attention it deserves. From keyword planners to analytics and search console, these tools provide valuable insights and opportunities for optimization. So don’t give up hope just yet – with a little bit of strategy and some help from Google, the path to increased organic traffic may be closer than you think.
SEO is a fantastic way to drive high-quality traffic to your site, and the best part is it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Google offers several free tools that help with content planning so you can generate the most impactful SEO content ideas for your business.
We’ll dive into them here to help you begin building your SEO strategy.
How to Use Google Ads Keyword Planner To Create Content
Getting started on the keyword hunt can be daunting: there are so many keyword research tools to choose from, and it’s hard to know which will reap the most rewards. For small business owners, time is of the essence, and understanding where to find good data and get your blog off the ground is absolutely essential.
If you’ve spent any time running Google ads for your small business, you’re probably already familiar with the interface. A recent survey from Statista showed that small business owners say they spend an average of $534/month on paid digital advertising for their business. Google’s plans to eliminate 3rd party cookie tracking, though delayed, should still be a strong indicator to you that SEO is a better long-term strategy for your small business SEO.
Make sure you have a keyword research strategy
And one of the best ways to get started with SEO is to have a deliberate strategy for keyword research. But where do you find them, how many can you actually rank for, and will the investment and ROI be worth it to avoid paying those cost-per-click (CPC) fees on your search ads?
As an aside, if you’re new to SEO, take a look at our article “What is an SEO Keyword?” to learn more of the basics.
Now back to our article – of course, it would be great to target major buzzwords, but is it worth it if you don’t really stand a chance against the competition? How do you find the related terms that still have a good search volume but fewer big dogs to go up against?
There are a few options to choose from, but Google Ads Keyword Planner is one of the most popular free ways to conduct keyword research. The user interface is super simple, so you don’t need to learn a whole new skill set just to navigate the platform.
If the link above doesn’t work, you can log into Google Ads Keyword Planner by following these steps:
- Go to the Google Ads website (https://ads.google.com/) and click on the “Sign in” button in the top right corner.
- Enter your Google account login information (email address and password) and click “Next.”
- If you have multiple Google Ads accounts, select the one you want to use from the list. If you only have one account, it will be selected automatically.
- Once you are logged in, click on the “Tools” icon in the top menu and select “Keyword Planner” from the dropdown menu.
- You should now be on the Keyword Planner dashboard. From here, you can enter a search term and find variations of it that have a good search volume but less competition. You can use these variations as inspiration for future content and plug them in as the primary keyword to find even more related topics.
First, enter your ideal search term, the one that might be a little out of reach. For example, we’re creating SEO content, so we might go for “SEO Content Marketing”. It’d be great to rank at the top spot for this term, but that could be very difficult. Still, with Google Keywords you can find variations of your ideal term that will also drive traffic to your site with less competition and potentially even more suited to your business if they’ve searched for a more niche term. For example, “SEO Strategies for Small Businesses”.
Google Keywords will show your primary search term, its average monthly search volume and rank the competition from Low to High if you were to run ads for these keywords. Below this, you’ll find a list of related keywords in order of relevance, top of page low bids and high bids, and seasonality data over three months and twelve months. You can use these as inspiration for future content, plugging in the ones you choose as the primary keyword and uncovering even more related topics for SEO content generation.
Google Keyword Planner is a basic tool, yes, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s a gold mine of content ideas that’s easy and quick to use, and also free.
How to Use Google Analytics for SEO Content Generation
A content marketing strategy will always perform best when you have clear goals in place and monitor their performance. The best way to do this is through tracking in Google Analytics to see where and how often you’re showing up in search engine results and associated statistics.
The Google Analytics dashboard gives you an overview of your performance over a given stretch of time. This will give you an idea of the overall progress of your SEO content marketing strategy – are you trending upwards, or do you need to make some big changes?
Next, you can dive deeper into more specific metrics and look through many of the built-in SEO analytics reporting options available. For example, you can evaluate what your top-performing pages are to see what’s resonating most with your audience, in order to create more content around those topics. Likewise, you can see which pages are least popular, in order to tweak their content to make it more compelling.
Understanding the available reports in Google Analytics
Google Analytics offers a number of additional reports that can be helpful for SEO. Here are a few more to explore in the tool:
- Acquisition Reports: These reports show howa visitors are finding your website, including which channels (such as organic search, paid search, or referral) are bringing the most traffic.
- Behavior Reports: These reports provide information on how visitors are interacting with your website, including what pages they are visiting, how long they are staying on each page, and what actions they are taking (such as filling out a form or making a purchase).
- Conversion Reports: These reports show how well your website is meeting your business goals, such as making a sale or generating a lead.
- Site Search Reports: These reports provide information on the keywords that visitors are using to search within your website, as well as which pages they are clicking on as a result of those searches.
- Landing Pages Report: This report shows which pages on your website are receiving the most traffic and conversions, as well as how well they are performing in terms of bounce rate and average session duration. This is a great report to help evaluate whether your on page content strategy is working.
By analyzing these reports regularly, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your website for better SEO performance.
How to Use Google Search Console to Generate Content Ideas
Like most of Google’s tools, Google Search Console (GSC), previously Webmaster Tools, is relatively straightforward to use, and yet you could find yourself spending hours combing through its information. The search console dashboard provides a macro website analysis as well as valuable information on a micro level.
Firstly, you’ll have to sign your website up for GSC. Go to the dashboard and select ‘Add a Property’, then select ‘domain’ or ‘URL prefix’ and choose how to verify your domain. We recommend the “Domain” option as this will gather and track data for all your sub-domains and sub-directories on your website. The “URL Prefix” option will only gather data for a specific URL and its associated sub-directories.
A quick cautionary warning to make sure Google is gathering your search data
The major issue with using URL prefixes is that the data for your website could end up in multiple places, and that’s not ideal.
For example, if you add a URL Prefix for “http://www.yourwebsite.com”, then you’ll likely miss all your data if your website is using SSL (which almost all websites do today). You may think you’re tracking your data, but since all website traffic is redirected from your http:// to https://, Google won’t include the https:// traffic. This is a problem and can derail your GSC efforts to learn how Google views your website in search.
You’ve verified your domain with Google Search Console…now what?
Once you’ve verified your domain, Google will then start tracking all the data for your site.
Now that you’ve established yourself, you should monitor a few key sections: Performance, Indexing, and URL Inspection.
Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to monitor and maintain your website’s presence in Google search results. It has three major components: Performance, Indexing, and URL Inspection.
- Performance: This tool shows you the keywords your website is ranking for, as well as the number of clicks and impressions your website has received for those keywords. It also shows you the average position of your website in the search results, as well as the click-through rate (CTR) and any errors that have been detected.
- Indexing: This tool provides information on how Google is indexing your website, including any crawl errors that have been detected and the status of your sitemap. It also allows you to submit individual URLs for crawling, which can be helpful if you have recently made changes to a page and want it to be indexed as soon as possible.
- URL Inspection: This tool allows you to check the index status of a specific URL on your website and see if it has any issues that may be preventing it from being properly indexed. It also provides information on the last time the URL was crawled, any crawl errors that have been detected, and any enhancements that have been applied to the page.
As you can see, performance shows you what pages and keywords your website is ranking for. Check it regularly to see which keywords are doing well and which need a little more attention. Indexing is a little more technical but extremely important. It’ll show you how many of your pages have been indexed by Google making them available to rank in searches. The URL Inspection section is all about making sure your site is well-indexed. The Google Search Console crawl reports let you monitor like when Google crawled specific URLS and what the page looked like then. It helps you make sure Google can efficiently crawl your site to get your new content indexed in results quickly.
By regularly checking these tools and addressing any issues that are identified, you can ensure that your website is performing well in Google search results.
Google Keyword planner is a great tool for big-picture thinking, but sometimes you’ll want to jump ahead of the rush of traffic by writing about new and trending topics. Google Trends is an often underrated content strategy tool in that regard. Get in the habit of using it to brainstorm new blog ideas in accordance with what’s performing well at any given moment.
This tool helps you see what’s trending so you can factor that into your website content planning and put yourself front and center as an influx of searches come your way. You can tailor it to specific regions of the world to make your content more specific, too.
Try to blend this trending topic with your usual niche of choice in order to capture high-quality leads while also harnessing the trajectory of a trending topic. Say you’re a social media management business, and everybody’s talking about Spotify Wrapped right now; you can create content around How to Create Spotify-Wrapped Themed Content for Social Media and encourage people to create their own Business Wrapped.
Learning which topics are trending (Rising in Google Trends parlance), and what regions of the country or world to focus your digital marketing is another huge piece of the puzzle that this tool can help with:
Google Alerts is the perfect way to eavesdrop on where you or your topic of choice are being mentioned on the internet. It allows you to monitor the web to tune into the most relevant conversations so that you, too, can jump on the bandwagon.
It’ll send you an email every day or every week, as you choose, notifying you of where your keywords have been mentioned. That way, you can keep abreast of trending content without trawling the internet yourself and spending unnecessary time on social media.
Set alerts for your brand/company name to know what people are saying about you, as well as your most relevant keywords in order to ideate content around what’s hot right now.
Diving a Bit Deeper with Sage SEO
The free tools provided by Google and others allow you to jump-start your efforts into SEO and effective digital marketing. But there are many paid alternatives out there as well that can bring some or all of the puzzle together. Here at Sage SEO, our goal is to help small business owners like yourselves to tackle the problem of small business SEO in as simple and straightforward a way as possible.
If you’ve been looking around for the best SEO software for small businesses, feel free to take a look around our website to learn more about what we can offer. Our software provides tools to do all of the critical steps required to execute an effective SEO strategy:
- Plan your content calendar
- Identify topics that are meaningful to your target audience
- Perform keyword research that identifies keywords that are relevant to your business and target customers
- Write content with our Sage Writer tool
- Utilize AI Writing and the latest innovations from OpenAI to create compelling content much faster
- Track your Google Search rankings and performance data from places like Google Search Console and Google Analytics
- List your ranked keywords and how your rankings trend over time
We offer packages starting at $49/month, and we’d love to show you how we can help your own business get ranked on the front page!
SEO is a powerful avenue for driving traffic to your site and capturing high-quality leads, but your success is only as good as your strategy. An effective strategy relies on tapping into a whole host of valuable tools to gather useful data and insights to help you create SEO-driven content.
When done effectively, SEO can be a powerful tool for generating leads for small businesses. It can help you build credibility and trust with your audience. When your website ranks well in search results, it can give the impression that you are a reputable and authoritative source of information, which can help you win the trust of potential customers.
By ranking higher in search results for relevant keywords, you can attract more of these potential customers to your website, increasing the chances that they will become leads.
In addition, SEO can also help small businesses like yours save money on advertising. While paid search advertising can be effective, it can also be expensive, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. By focusing on SEO, you can attract traffic to your website without having to pay for ads.
So dive right into Google’s free tools and get started boosting your business through Search Engine Optimization!