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With Thanksgiving just days away, it is the perfect time to give thanks for little things that make our lives easier. With the amount of power Google holds over (seemingly) the entire Internet, I am sometimes hesitant to give them too much credit. (Google Maps did almost start a war a few weeks ago…) However, Google does offer a wealth of tools for web developers, all of which make my work life a whole lot easier. Here are a few of my favorite (free!) Google web tools worth giving thanks for:

Google Analytics
www.google.com/analytics/
Google Analytics offers free site monitoring that produces reports on website traffic, and marketing and SEO effectiveness. It is an easy way to see which pages on your website are bringing in the most traffic, so you can target your audience more successfully. It’s easy to implement as well! When you sign up for an account, you are automatically given a block of code that you simply paste into each page of your website.

Google Webmaster Tools
www.google.com/webmasters/
These tools include site search integration, in-depth analysis of your site’s search results, alerts for errors or malware found on your site, and listings of links to your site from elsewhere on the web. You can also submit a sitemap for your site, which increases SEO and optimizes crawling of your site to only relevant pages.

Google Maps/Directions
code.google.com/apis/maps/
Whether you need a static or dynamic map, or embedded directions to your business, Google Maps API has you covered! Google offers easy to work with, customizable mapping options for all types of websites. The API (Application Programming Interface) lets you use all of the benefits of Google Maps, while keeping your website visitors on your website!

These are just some of the major web tools that Google offers, but they are the three that I am most thankful for. So, thanks Google for making my job a bit easier every day and for continuing to come up with new tools and services that innovate the web! (Even if you are slowly becoming an Internet monopoly…)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you all have a very safe and happy holiday season!

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