In the SEO market, there are quite a few Google Apps that businesses tend to use to compliment their work. Email, calendars, document collaboration, reporting, and Google+ are great tools to help keep things organized and running smoothly.
Here are some fundamental Google Resources that are available for SEO and inbound marketers to take advantage of, even though not everybody is aware of them.
ANALYTICS AND TAGGING
Universal Analytics affects all disciplines of web marketing, although it isn’t particular to inbound at all. The successor of the Google Analytics, Universal Analytics will possibly change the way we use and think about marketing analytics. It can bring improved performance and new functionality and flexibility to your reporting
The Benefits of Universal Analytics:
- Cross device tracking of individual users: At this point, Google Analytics hasn’t shown a core functionality that allows for tracking users across all of their devices. What Universal Analytics will do is create a User ID for the individual user, allowing you to keep track of all of their interactions with your site/app across each device. This allows for cross-device optimization.
- The ability to push “offline” data into the system: Using the same User ID functionality, you can tie this data to a single user, across all of the user’s devices, over the life span of their time with your business. W know that passing any “Personally Identifiable Information” into GA is strictly a violation of the Terms of Service. But, it won’t mean you can’t keep that information securely together on your end and with a little respect, utilize the information to manage your customer relationships. This way, you can learn who your best customers are.
- Performance enhancements: At present, Google Analytics passes a lot of data to its servers from multiple cookies. With the new Universal Analytics (UA), a single, simple cookie will be made to store most of the required data on the Google Analytics servers. This means you’ll have faster loading pages. The faster the pages, the happier people will be.
If you are either currently using Tag Manager, or you are thinking of doing so, you can utilize the Tag Assistant, a Google Chrome extension that makes double-checking your tag/rule configurations easier.
Here’s how it looks:
Think Insights is a resource that includes a huge library of research studies. Most of these studies were co-conducted with Google and partners to come to some data-driven conclusions that revolve around the specific markets and demographics use on the web. Think Insights can be used as an inspiration for digital marketing campaigns.
The Benefits of Think Insights:
- Free, searchable access to market research studies, organized by industry, marketing objectives, and ad type
- Visualization of the most common multi-touch paths by industry with “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase“
- Inspiration for your next data visualization project with Chrome Experiments. The “500” home page alone is worth the time to click.
- There’s also the Creative Sandbox gallery, showcasing creative online campaigns that “blend creative genius and digital innovation.” This is skewed toward paid channels, but there are a lot of creative approaches here from which we can learn.
Consumer Surveys is a service that is provided by Google, although it’s the only paid service in the blog post. Consumer Surveys are a way to step outside of your customer email list, broadening your
Matt Cutts ran a playful survey with the Consumer Surveys tool to determine how many people have heard of “search engine optimization.” Here was the answer:
Benefits of Google Consumer Surveys:
- Relatively fast turnaround
- Accurate data
- Affordable cost
SEARCH HISTORY AND DATA
Trends is a fairly well known, although mostly overlooked source of historic search volume data. When it comes to what people are looking for, their behavior on search engines are quite fluid. When you’re planning to have your campaigns run for the long term, you’ll want to utilize Trends, which will provide data that tells you something about how users will search in the future.
Here is an interesting comparison to look at:
Trends can be quite useful for measuring client brand recognition over time, when compared to your competitors. It can also be used for discovering seasonal patterns for given keywords through the year.
Benefits of Trends:
- View historical data for a single keyword, or compare two or more
- Discover seasonality in search volume
- Browse current trending searches
- Export to CSV for your Excel/other reports
Not exactly a tool or data set, Zeitgeist is more of an interactive recap of the year in search. By selecting the year and/or country, Google will walk you through the biggest search trends and related events that took place around the world.
A well-produced video recapping what the world searched for is an example of the most recent Zeitgeist that is shown in this video:
Benefits of Zeitgeist:
- A Rich visual “story” experience of historical data
- Helpful for brainstorming historical content angles
- General nostalgia and inspiration
Public Data Explorer
Public Data Explorer is a portal into government and institutional data sets, brought to you by Google. Being able to search and brows data sets from one tool can make your research around data visualization concepts far more efficient.
Public Data Explorer will allow you to upload your own data sets and visualize them. This probably won’t give you much of a share-worthy result for publishing purposes, but at least it’s a way to play around with various ways to present a given data set before the development team goes to work on the nice looking version.
Benefits of Public Data Explorer:
- Search/browse many public data sets from one interface
- Upload your own data set
- Quickly switch between different chart/visualization approaches for a given data set