Most of us who design websites know about Google’s most popular tools: Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and the Adwords Keyword Tool. Here are some other really cool Google tools you probably haven’t heard about:
Keyword tool: Wonder wheel
Google Wonder wheel is a visual tool to help brainstorm keywords. To use the tool, do a regular Google search. Then, from the results page, click on the bottom-left link for “More search tools.” Underneath the new list, you’ll see the link for Wonder wheel.
Once your Wonder wheel pops up, you can click on any of the related terms to continue branching out from that topic. It’s kind of like a thesaurus for keywords! (Also try “Related searches” for a longer, list-style display of keywords related to your search.)
Wonder wheel is a welcome relief when you’re tired of staring at the AdWords keyword tool.
Historical tool: Timeline
Google Timeline is another tool you access from a regular search results page. Under the same left column as Wonder wheel, you just click the “Timeline” link.
Timeline displays a visual graph of historical events related to the search term, then links to related websites. It can give you great background information on an industry or a search term.
Current topic tool: Trends
Google Trends is a great place to learn about current events. The homepage lists the top 10 hottest topics and the top 10 hottest searches. Click on one, or do a search, and it will display the latest news and social media updates about that topic.
The results page also shows a timeline like the Timeline tool, but only for the past day or so. Trends also shows the top links and top updates for that search.
If you post updates or blog about hot topics, you can sometimes rank really high in the search results, because for some topics Google lists news first. You can also use the historical data to find out how your keywords have been used in the past – you might be able to predict seasonal dips in sales, or continued growth in an industry.
Just for fun: Hotpot
Hotpot is a fancy tool for local searches. You sign in with a Google account (or install the Google Places app available on Android – it’s not available for other smartphones). Then you rate places and get recommendations.
Next time you search for local businesses, Hotpot will combine the results based on your location and your reviews. If you link your Hotpot account to your friends, their ratings will affect your results.
Even if you choose not to link to friends, Hotpot gives you recommendations on places that other people with similar preferences like. It’s a fun alternative to UrbanSpoon.
So what are your favorite Google tools?