What is one of the most underutilized and powerful tools for SEO?
Google Trends an invaluable tool for any serious marketer. Because of its power, it’s important that you understand how to use it properly and not to “discover trends” where none exists. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Google Trends, plus 12 ways to use it for SEO.
What Is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a free tool that provides data and graphs on the popularity of specific search terms used on Google and YouTube. It was originally introduced in 2006 and the latest version was released in May 2018.
You can use Google Trends to:
- Find out what’s recently trending.
- Identify trending topics or subtopics within an industry or overarching theme.
- Discover geographic search trends local to your area.
1. Keyword Research
You can conduct free keyword research on Google Trends by entering a specific search term in the search box on the homepage. By default, this runs a search of Google’s most popular keywords – but you can also change it to scour YouTube search data instead.
Google Trends will return a graph of the search term’s popularity over the past year. You can also change the timeframe by expanding the date range. Looking at the past two or three years of data, versus only the past year, can help you distinguish between fads and true trends. The keyword research feature helps to identify keywords that are growing in popularity and to avoid keywords that are becoming less popular over time.
2. Finding Related Keywords
What makes Google Trends unique is its ability to recommend related keywords that are currently growing in popularity. This feature is powerful in that it allows you to identify better, more relevant keywords based on your core search term.
When you entter a search term into the homepage, the site returns a list of keywords it considers as closely related to your search. Google Trends shows you these keywords in order of popularity, and will even provide you with the exact % search volume increase for each one.In our experience, these trends are some of the most important ones to hop on, because they haven’t become competitive yet – meaning you can land the #1 slot on Google’s search page before the keyword becomes mainstream.
The only downside to building your strategy around “Breakout” keywords is they can sometimes turn out to be fads, not real trends. Unlike evergreen content, the content you build around these trending search terms may eventually go stale.
3. Discover Related Topics
In addition to using Google Trends to discover related search terms, you can also use it to uncover related topics for future content. In the table to the left of Related Queries, there’s another table called Related Topics. Instead of showing you specific search terms, this table provides you with insight into broader topics that people are searching for.
You’ll still need to hone in on specific keywords for every topic you choose to write about – but these recommendations can help you find new and trending ideas for future content.
4. Start Big & Whittle Down
A great way to start big? Enter a broad keyword for your topic and press Enter.
From there, Google Trends invites you to drill down. With an estimated 6.3 billion searches per day and approximately 2.3 trillion global searches per year, the key takeaway here is to start big, and then filter to get the most relevant information.
5. Context, Context, Context
Google Trends works on relations and relevance. The results of today aren’t compared to the overall popularity of all trends, but rather the previous heights of the keywords you entered. The context of the search term and the page is based on relationship of the keyword and relevance on the pages it is looking at. In other words, anti-keyword stuffing algorithm.
The takeaway: never ignore context.
6. Get More Advanced with Specific Search OptionsUsing “related queries” and other specific search options can help you find new keyword ideas – and even steal business from your competitors.
You’ll notice five options – many of which even frequent Google Trend users don’t always use:
- Web search (Default).
- Image Search.
- News Search.
- Google Shopping.
- YouTube Search.
Each individual click will yield results based on different segments of your potential markets. Don’t be afraid to dig down into the queries, either – there’s a good chance that you can hop on a new trend before it becomes a “breakout” and secure a top position for your latest post.
7. Target by Location
The most cursory use of Google Trends will focus exclusively on keywords. For the best results, you’ll also need to incorporate location into the mix. Using local keyword trends, you can see exactly which regions and subregions need your products or services, allowing you to get laser-targeted with your SEO strategy.
Location filtering allows you to hone in on the geographic areas with the highest demand for your products or services.
8. Trend Predictions
It’s the easiest thing in the world to log on to Google Trends and identify those trends that already leave a trail of breadcrumbs. The problem? Every other marketer is using the same data.
If you want additional insights, try using the available data to predict trends. In order to hop on the latest trends before no one else does, you need to keep a finger on the pulse of seasonal and local trends at all times. With the help of Google Trends, you can find relevant topics that are trending right now…. and create content about them before no one else does. Not long ago, the practice of “newsjacking” was a sure way to capitalize on current hot stories. Google Trends can indeed show you exactly which news trends of the day are the hottest.
9. Use Long-Tail Key Phrases to Inspire Content
Ranking at the top of the SERPs for a search term is still quite an undertaking, but there’s no reason you can’t get to the top of Google search results for a long-tail variation of a trophy phrase. Switching gears, let’s say you’re writing a music blog and you want to leverage an upcoming event; the Grammy awards.
A click on the trend will yield top questions asked Google, most searched best new artists, and even questions related to the host of the Grammys. But you want to go deeper and find content that’s truly insightful.
Try using tip #3 to find the associated queries making Google Trends — but don’t stop there. Cross-reference those queries with each other (ala tip #2) to get a proper context and find out what’s at the core of customer curiosity.
10. Use Data for Video Optimization
Viewing related topics – not just related queries – can help you better optimize your video content for search.
Let’s say you posted a video with some meaningful title and description.
- Enter in your search term.
- Switch from Web Search to YouTube Search.
- Check out Related Queries and Related Topics.
- Sort by Top or Rising — if you prefer.
11. Use Cyclical Trends for Brand Positioning
Let’s say you’re optimizing for a specific purpose. Historically, the interest in the keywords will demonstrate the rise and fall of the trends. That doesnt mean that the Brand does too. Try to include some other relationship data to see how the brand can act like a base line and the keywords ebb and flow accordingly.
12. Identify Blind Spots & Don’t Misread the Trends
Advanced use of Google Trends means you’ll go a step beyond whatever you think your current insight is to see if you have blind spots.
- Don’t ever trust a single snapshot. Always get a broader view of a timeline to see what else is happening.
- Is an increased trend in one key phrase still dwarfed by more important ones? Always look for context.
Knowing what you now do, you can use Google Trends to plan your content calendar. Because you’re aware of your blind spots (while your competition may not be), you can delve deeper into the search results for more sophisticated data to inform your SEO strategy.
Google Trends data is more important and valuable than ever.
There are unique insights to be gleaned for those willing to go beyond a basic search.
The key is sticking with your queries until you find the insights – even if they aren’t always obvious.
Published by Oksana Kvitka