I do not doubt that marketers here are aware of Google Trends and often check it for seasonal data and popular search queries. But are you using this tool to its full potential? I guess some may even interpret the results they get the wrong way.
Here I give you a short but actionable guide on using Google Trends far deeper than for pure trend research. Let’s begin with the basics.
How Google Trends Work
We mostly used Google Trends in a simple and straightforward way: enter the keyword and get the graph that displayed the popularity of a search term over time for a given location. Some marketers treated those numbers on the graph as the search volume of a given keyword. But it’s not exactly the thing.
The popularity of the keyword doesn’t equal its search volume. Because Google Trends shows the relative popularity of a term. It means that all keywords are vetted and then placed on a scale from the lowest-popular to the highest-popular. According to this, you may see that a search term that you consider to have low search volume appears very popular in comparison to another term.
With Google Trends you can:
- See the popularity of a search term over time. The bigger the time span – the clearer the popularity pattern will be.
- See the popularity of a search term in various locations and compare them.
- Compare two and more search terms on one graph.
- See related searches and topics in a table below the graph.
- Check the popularity across Google’s search engines like YouTube, Images, Google Shopping, etc.
With all those benefits, you can do in-depth keyword research and get lots of insights for free.
Plan Content Strategy
A closer look at keyword trends may help you to plan your content activities ahead and see what topics are on top or will decline soon. It is that kind of data that beats the search volume numbers.
You may already noticed that some events happen regularly. E.g., if you run an entertainment website, prepare content that coincides with those topics and then update it before the trending peak. And it includes not only those clearly event-based posts about Oscar winners or places to visit in summer.
For example, if you look at the five-year trend for the “get fit” search query, you may see that it has pretty obvious spikes each year in January.
After some research, you’ll understand that it’s the time when people are making their New Year resolutions to lose weight and start searching for useful tips to get fit.
If you’re a
Find “Hot” Topics to React
Unlike seasonal or holiday-based topics, “hot” topics that you can find with Trending Searches decline too fast. Many trending searches last only for a day or two because of a short interest of the audience. E.g., if you check Google Trends for the “royal wedding” search term, you will notice that its peak was last year on May, 19.
It’s the day when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married. And the interest to it dropped hugely already next day.
So articles on ‘hot’ topic posted the next day may not bring results. But you still may use the opportunity. The massive buzz around hot events keeps spinning around on social networks mostly. And you may dive into it if you prepare ahead.
Use topic-related hashtags (you may check for them in the sidebar on Twitter) to drive audience that is interested in that topic to your tweets. Schedule your posts, photos or images that you create for this topic to publish several times that day to reach to more people.
Research Keywords Across Google Search Engines
As I already said, Google Trends has a cool feature for comparing search terms popularity across Google’s search engines including YouTube and Google Shopping. Different search terms may have different popularity in Google web search and on YouTube. And it’s a great opportunity to create even more targeted content.
Thus, if you compare trends for the “Game of Thrones” term, you will notice that the interest to this series was relatively stable during the last 12 months. But if you check the same term for YouTube (click the drop-down tab on the right and choose “YouTube Search”), you will see a couple of interest peaks in late August and mid-November. It was around the dates when official teasers for the series were released.
Check your search terms across different search engines and choose what type of content will be more beneficial for your website. If you see a rising trend for your search terms on YouTube, maybe it’s better to create a video instead of an article for it.
Get Ready for Seasonal Articles
There are specific search queries that are closely tied to dates or seasons. It’s various holiday-related and season-dependant terms like “christmas decorations” or “summer drink recipes.”
Many marketers disregard seasonal topics and rarely bother creating content for such search terms. But they may be beneficial for websites in entertainment, travel or health & beauty categories.
If you’re an online store that has seasonal goods, exploring these trends may also be beneficial to you. You may create list-articles with “best sunglasses” or “top winter holiday destinations” and then publish them ahead of interest peaks. It’s a good base for content update activity.
Optimize for Local Keywords
Google Trends allows checking the popularity of a search term in different locations – including countries, regions, metros, and cities. E.g., interest for “snow boots” is high in such traditionally “snowy” states like Montana or Wyoming.
You can use this data for creating targeted content for your site and blog. Thus, you may create useful content on the topic “Top characteristics of snow boots that you should know before purchase.”
Another good idea is to use those search terms for highly-targeted PPC campaigns for your local store. Stop wasting money targeting the entire US region. Create Ads only for states or even cities where most of your potential customers live. You may also create landing pages targeted exclusively at residents of a particular region or city.
Use “Related Queries” and ‘Steal’ Competitors Keywords
When you check out for a particular keyword in Google Trends, you may notice a “Related queries” section that shows similar terms that people also search for. With Related queries, you can find more search terms that you may use for your content campaigns.
You also get a better idea of the needs of your audience and potential customers and their ‘search journey.’ And may then refine your keyword choice to serve it the right way.
Take a step further and do more in-depth keyword research on those related queries. Use those related searches as your seed keywords to get more long-tail keyword ideas for your content. Thus, when you check for “running shoes,” you will see in Related queries that people also search for specific running shoe models:
Then you may check “nike shoes” in Keywords Explorer for detailed info about traffic or difficulty of the given keywords. If you do such a check for at least ten search terms from Related queries, you will get a bunch of long-tail keyword to use in your content.
Another great idea is digging through the Related queries to find competitors’ search terms and ‘steal’ them. Create an article where you show how your product is compared to that of your competitors and target their keywords. Thus, if you check out ‘adidas shoes’ in Google Trends, you will see that people also search for their competitor, “
One of these shoe companies may drop a nice piece of content with a favorable comparison of Adidas and Nike running shoes. This way, you will target both customer groups.
Google Trends service was not intentionally created for marketers. But all its data is an outstanding source of fresh ideas for content creation. If you know how to use the data from its queries, it can become your favorite tool for marketing activities. Go beyond your basic research of topics and keywords, and you will find off-beaten insights that no one uses.
Do you have your favorite tips for Google Trends? Let’s discuss them in comments.
NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Helen, content marketer at Ahrefs. She explores new things every day to impress her readers with catchy stories. Apart from all that marketing stuff, Helen loves listening to rock music, reading and traveling. A lot! Feel free to follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook.