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“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Cassie Gillette

When Al Pacino said this in The Godfather: Part II, he certainly wasn’t talking about Google. But if he was living in 2012, watching Google delve deeper and deeper into our personal lives, maybe he would’ve been.

With the advent of Google+ and Search Plus Your World, Google knows a whole heck a lot about our lives. Whether we love it or hate it, let’s be honest, as a business, especially one just starting out, we’d LOVE to have the information that Google does. What are our customers doing online? What do they like? What sites do they visit? What are they searching for?

The thing is, we can get some of this information, we just have to know where to look.

Google Analytics

Want to learn about your website visitors? Google Analytics can help. See what pages users are visiting, where they’re coming from, what keywords they’re searching to get there, what keywords they convert on. With the recently added social integration and multi-channel attribution, you can even see what role social media plays in conversion along with what channels are truly driving conversions.

Analytics is invaluable so get in there and start learning about your users.

Webmaster Tools

While analytics will tell you about your site visitors, Webmaster tools will tell you about your site. Simply by submitting an XML sitemap, you can find out how your site is performing on the web.

See where errors are occurring, get HTML suggestions, site speed data and see stats on keyword performance, search queries and backlinks. Webmaster tools gives you some insight into how Google sees your site.

As a bonus, it also can help you get around that pesky not provided issue.


When it comes to information regarding search queries, a PPC search query report is one of the best things you can have. But what if you aren’t running any PPC campaigns? What if you don’t even know your keywords yet?

Adwords offers a few tools that can help you learn what types of keywords users are searching and help you discover new keywords. The keyword tool can help you discover new keywords (hint: put you competitors URLs in there) while the traffic estimator tool can show you how many that keyword may perform.

These tools can be extremely helpful when vetting ideas or laying out your marketing plan.

Google Trends

Want to learn about a particular market? Interested in seeing how many people are talking about it? What articles were the most popular? Google Trends can provide some useful info. For example, maybe you’re thinking about creating a mobile photo app. Type in ‘photo apps’ and you will see that the market has surged in the last three years. You also can see what people are saying about them.

Be sure to check out ‘How to Use Google Trends Like a Pro’.

Insights for Search

Insights offers you info on keyword search trends, compares searches, shows top related keywords, rising keywords and geographical data. It’ll also show you interest over time and forecasts for the future. See if that idea you had is ready to take off or on its way out.

A few other ways people are using it – competitive analysis, creating and adjusting your keyword strategy and helping you with your content strategy.

Think Insights

One of the newest Google products, Think Insights helps you understand your market by looking at your brand on the internet. Build a brand impression or see how your site performs on mobile. You can get a TON of information in there so I’m not going to get into all of it, but I highly advise checking it out.

The bottom line is that yes Google may be evil, but like Pacino said, keep your enemies close and in this case, utilize the information they have.

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