As an online content creator and website owner, you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Despite the undeniable strength and reach of social media platforms, you should still have your own domain and website. After all, you should never build your business on rented land. It’s great to be popular on Instagram or YouTube, but any of those platforms could evaporate overnight. You need a “home” on the web. And you want your home to be optimized to the best of your ability.
And so, like I said, you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Many of these are third-party tools, like what you might use for keyword research or for generating heatmaps. But if you want to do the absolute best in the eyes of Google, since search traffic is still overwhelmingly invaluable, it makes sense to use Google’s tools too.
That’s where Google Analytics and the Google Ads Keyword Planner can come into play, for instance, as well as these two other online tools that not nearly as many people talk about but could be just as valuable.
You’ve likely learned by now just how much Google values the “mobile-friendly” nature of a website. Indeed, they’ve moved toward a “mobile first” approach for ranking factors, so you need to make sure that your site looks and loads beautifully on a mobile device. For that, there’s the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
It’s really simple and straightforward to use. Just enter the URL of your website, and let the test do its thing. In this example, I tested John Chow dot Com and it came back saying the page is “mobile friendly” and “easy to use on a mobile device.”
You can also expand on the “page loading issues” to view the details. In this particular example, it indicated that the Googlebot smartphone was unable to load 9 page resources, most of which were because the Googlebot was blocked by the robots.txt file.
A more advanced online utility that you should include in your toolbox is the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. The goal here is to “make your web pages fast on all devices.” It’ll help you achieve this goal by analyzing the content of the web page and then generating suggestions that you can implement.
As you can see in this example, the desktop version of John Chow dot Com performs very well, earning an overall score of 91 out of 100. There’s not a lot of room for improvement here, but even so, PageSpeed Insights still generated some suggestions, each with a corresponding amount of “estimated savings” on page load time. It suggests eliminating “render-blocking resources” for a potential savings of 0.6 seconds, for instance.
By contrast, the mobile version of John Chow dot Com does reasonably well, with an overall score of 61 out of 100, but there’s a lot more room for improvement here. Going through the lab data, we learn that it takes 3.6 seconds before the “first contentful paint” and 5.9 seconds for “time to interactive.”
The most fruitful opportunity for optimizing page load speed is to “serve images in next-gen formats,” potentially shortening the page load time by 5.19 seconds. This is something that I haven’t personally thought about yet, as I think most of us still rely primarily on PNG and JPEG formats for most of our images.
The “opportunity” suggestion goes on to say that we might consider a WordPress plugin that will converted uploaded images to more optimal formats like JPEG 2000 and WebP.
Google Is as Google Does
While it’s true that Google remains secretive for the intricacies of its search algorithm, Google also offers some great insights that you can implement on your own website to maximize your SEO opportunities. This comes in the form of the occasional official blog posts, but also via official tools like the mobile-friendly test and PageSpeed Insights.
You probably won’t rely on these tools as frequently as Analytics, but they’re worth revisiting periodically to make sure you’re in the green.