Billions of searches are performed in Google every year. These searches provide useful information about your target market’s interests, behaviours and perceptions, which can be used to your advantage. The question is how?
Google Trends is a tool that lets you sort Google searches by type, geographical areas, date and categories. It also allows you to compare different search terms (up to five at a time), and lets you analyse the search history of keywords to see whether they are increasing, decreasing or remaining stable.
It also has a ‘Hot Searches’ feature which lists the top searches each day for different countries, and a ‘Top Charts’ feature that let you track the most popular searches on a monthly basis across different categories.
Here are some ways you can use Google Trends as part of your social media or content creation strategy:
1. Find out the trending popularity of a keyword to help optimisation
You can enter keywords into Google Trends to see if they are trending upward or downward. It can be helpful to periodically check out the trends of any keywords that your website has been optimised for.
If you find that your optimised terms are on the downhill, you might then consider swapping them out for terms that are trending upward. Before doing this however, it is useful to find out why your keywords are or are not trending.
Some keywords for example ‘pest control’ or ‘lawn mowing’ might be more prevalent during particular seasons or cycles than at other times of year.
2. Compare keywords for popularity before planning your AdWords campaign
When searching the trending popularity of a keyword, it helps to compare it with other similar terms at the same time. This helps you to see which terms people use most often. For example if you compare ‘weight lifting’, ‘strengths training’ and ‘lifting weights’ amongst U.S data, you would see that the volume of searches for ‘weight lifting’ far outweighs those of the other two.
Comparing terms can be a useful step to do after creating your list of keywords using Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and can help you refine which terms you might like to use as part of an AdWords campaign. Google Trends will also provide a list of other keywords related to the terms you input.
3. Discover new content ideas for your blog and social media channels
Stuck for what to blog about? Or looking for something interesting to post to your social media channels? Go to Google Trends and check out the column on the left entitled ‘Trending Now’ for phrases of the day. Or use the ‘Top Charts’ feature to select a relevant category e.g. Business, or Entertainment and click ‘Explore’ to find content.
Communicating with your audience about what matters to them in the moment is a good way to build engagement. If you can share a new angle or fresh thoughts on a trending topic, you can become part of the larger conversation, which may help you find new audiences.
4. Curate a calendar for scheduling content
Google Trends helps you to identify cyclical patterns so you can identify which posts or content is most suitable for which times of the idea. For example, “birthday party ideas” is a search that peaks every year in January.
If you know when content is popular you can post it at the height of its seasonal trend, meaning it will get read and shared amongst more people than if it was posted off-season.
5. Brand message monitoring
Trending isn’t always a good thing for a company. Sometimes companies experience surges of peaks in searches because of bad publicity, or negative reaction to the brand.
For example, if there is a lawsuit against a particular business, or outrage over the message of an ad campaign, there will likely be a lot of searches for the company.
Google Trends therefore can be a good place to monitor how your company’s brand is trending and why. Are you in the news for all the wrong reasons? Or is your company trending because consumers are really gelling with your new image?
6. Create charts and graphs you can share with your audience
Google Trends lets you create charts and graphs of trends that can be easily incorporated into your website or shared on social media. You can customise the dimensions of the post, and generate the HTML code you need.
It is a handy tool that is free to use for creating quick and easy website content.
7. Identify where search queries originate from
As well as seeing what searches are trending, you can also see where searches are originating from with Google Trends maps that show the locations of search queries. The dark blue colour represents a high search volume.
This is useful as it lets you know what geographic locations might desire a certain product or service most. This allows you to tailor your advertising and SEO keywords appropriately based on geographic location.
Although Google Trends provides us with a lot of useful data, as with anything, we must be careful with how we use it. Make sure your use of the trend is appropriate.
Posting out of context, or insensitive material on the wave of a trend can backfire quickly as it may be perceived as spammy.
Make sure anything you post is relevant and useful, and do your homework to make sure you know why something is trending before you try and cash in on the trend. (Hint: a simple Google search of the keyword, filtered for most recent dates, will bring up current news on that topic).
The real value of Google Trends is that it takes some of the guesswork out of content creation and small business marketing.
You no longer need to simply go with the flow, or post informational updates periodically only about your business. Instead you can tie your business’ activities into popular trends and information that will resonate with your audience.