Google offers a constantly updated suite of tools that are useful for SEO.
These tools help publishers understand why a page is underperforming and guide them with specific advice for improving webpage performance for the purpose of ranking better.
Here are Google’s top five SEO tools.
Lighthouse is a web page performance improvement tool that is built into every browser that is based on Chrome. The tool is accessible within the Chrome Dev Tools panel.
Multiple Ways to Access the Google Lighthouse Tool
- On a Windows machine, press the F12 function button.
- On Windows or Mac right-click the page and choose “Inspect” then choose the “Lighthouse” tab.
- On Mac press: Command+Option+C
- On Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS press: Control+Shift+C
- In Chrome, click the 3-dot menu on the top right corner then, More Tools > Developer Tools
Lighthouse Offers 5 Feedback Categories
It currently provides five categories of SEO performance feedback:
While accessibility isn’t strictly an SEO-related metric, it is related to good user experience for disabled site visitors.
Using the feedback from these five categories will help improve the search visibility of most webpages.
The SEO section of Lighthouse provides 10 points of feedback on factors that matter for Google.
Some Metrics Chrome Lighthouse Reports On
- Viewport Meta Tag.
- Title Element.
- Meta Description.
- HTTP Status Code.
- Descriptive Text on Links.
- Page Status for Successful Crawling & Indexing.
- Validates Hreflang.
- Validates rel=canonical.
- Checks mobile-friendliness.
- Validates font legibility for mobile devices.
- Checks mobile tap targets.
- Checks if document avoids browser plugins for viewing.
- Checks crawling and indexing.
- Checks the Robots.txt.
- Checks if the page sends a successful HTTP status code.
Why You Should Use Lighthouse SEO Tool
I won’t deny it, Lighthouse is a lightweight site review tool.
But it’s an important site review tool because it represents Google’s opinion of 10 metrics you should be looking at.
If Google feels that these metrics are important, then you should, too.
To make the most of this tool, be sure to check out A Technical SEO Guide to Lighthouse Performance Metrics.
2. Test My Site
Google’s Test My Site auditing tool offers two metrics:
- Estimated loading time on a 4G mobile network.
- Recommendations for speeding up the website.
This is a good tool for obtaining a quick snapshot of the speed health of a website.
It’s a good starting point for obtaining an overall picture of mobile optimization.
The tool also offers to email a full report containing suggestions for speeding up the tested webpage.
Why You Should Use Test My Site
You can obtain similar information by using Page Speed Insights.
But the Test My Site tool provides the information in an easy-to-understand manner that’s easy for non-developer stakeholders to gain an understanding of what may be wrong with the mobile site performance.
Yet it’s also good for developers to get a quick overview, as well.
If you want granular details about what needs fixing, then head over to Google’s Page Speed Insights.
3. Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights is the tool that provides lab Core Web Vitals performance scores.
Core Web Vitals are important metrics created by Google to represent what a user experience on a webpage is.
This information is important because fixing the highlighted problems will improve SEO, sales conversions, ad clicks, and (if successful in fixing performance bottlenecks) give a small ranking factor boost.
This online tool provides specifics on what is causing the slowdown and gives suggestions for how to fix the problems.
It tells which scripts and style sheets are slowing down the site, which images are too big, and offers numerous other tips for speeding up affected webpages.
Why You Should Use Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights not only offers useful solutions for hidden technical issues impacting page speed, but it is also a resource for learning what those issues are.
Each highlighted issue links to a Google Developers page that offers more in-depth background information and an explainer of how to fix the problems.
4. Safe Browsing Test
Google crawls billions of pages every day to check for malware. This tool reports if there is any malware on a site.
The tool also provides the date for the last time the site was checked for malware.
Some sites are tested more often than others.
Why You Should Use the Safe Browsing Test Tool
Many people do not consider website security an SEO problem.
But website security quickly becomes an SEO issue when Google starts dropping URLs from its index because the site is hacked.
That’s why website security should be considered a part of SEO. Failure to secure a site can severely affect search visibility.
5. Google Trends
Google Trends provides information about keyword popularity and also segments the information by time and geography.
The time segment can give you an idea of how seasons may affect keywords. It can also show you if a keyword is losing popularity.
If you see a downward trend in a keyword, this could indicate that a product or trend is causing searchers to lose interest in that search.
Why You Should Use Google Trends
Google Trends is also important for competitive research. It shows you how often people are searching Google with a competitor’s brand name.
The trend line by time will show you how steady this trend is – if it’s going up, down, or steady.
Obviously, a competitor trend line that is trending down is good. A trend line that is trending up is bad.
A trend line that is steady (the most common) means a competitor is doing well and you’ll have to identify their weaknesses and make those your strengths – among many considerations.
For more tips, check out 10 Ways to Use Google Trends for Better SEO.
Make Good Use of Google’s SEO Tools to Improve Rankings, Visibility, and User Experience
While SEO professionals tend to take much of what Google says about what helps rankings (or not) with a healthy dose of skepticism, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the tools it has on offer.
In these tools, you can see exactly what Google is looking for in a quality site, webpage, and user experience.
Use this to your advantage to optimize as closely to Google’s (and your audience’s) expectations as possible.
- The 109 Best SEO Tools That Are Totally Free
- 6 Brilliant Reasons Why You Should Use SEO Tools
- A Guide to Essential SEO Tools for Agencies
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