4 free web tools to make your business stand out
Build it and they will come, won’t they? When it comes to your small business website, the short answer is probably not.
A good website knows how to turn up in the right place at the right time, for example when someone searches for a relevant term in Google.
And you do not need to be a website designer to create a highly visible, Google-friendly website. Google has four free tools that help you make your website as user-friendly and visible as possible. These are Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Google Places and Google+.
So what are they and what do they do?
Google Webmaster Tools gives you a whole lot of data and statistics about your small business website. It lets you see how Google sees your website so you can fix broken links, improve visibility and ensure that people are finding what they are looking for.
Google algorithms work by crawling through the web, analyzing, valuing and organizing content. They constantly look for information that they can match to search requests. Webmaster can tell you how many pages of your site Google has indexed, what pages are missing, who is linking to your site, how many times your website has come up in searches and how many times people have clicked on a link to your site. This is known as the Click Through Rate or CTR.
To access Google Webmaster Tools you need to sign up and link your website to the service.
Google Analytics is a marketing focused toolset. It helps you maximized the chance of your website being listed in relevant Google searches, otherwise known as search engine optimization or SEO.
Analytics tells you what terms people are searching for and how much relevant content there is out there. It gives you insights into what people are looking for, what they are finding and what they aren’t.
The basic Google Analytics service is free, but you can pay for premium services and Adwords campaigns.
Google Places literally puts your small business on the map.
Once you sign up, Google Places will add your business to Google Maps with a pin at your precise location. It will include contact details (including a web link) and a brief overview of what your business does.
After you sign up, Google will post a verification code to your place of business. Once you’ve entered the code, your business will appear on Google Maps.
Google + is so much more than just an alternative to Facebook. It is a social portal that brings all your other Google and internet activities together.
You create a personal profile for yourself and also a page for your business. You then link everything to it and through it. Google+ is complex and powerful and takes a bit of time to get used to, but your efforts will be rewarded. At the very least you should create a profile for yourself and a page for your small business and post any links and blogs on it.
This will help make your site Google-friendly and will increase the visibility of your small business to Google and therefore the world.