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How to Use Google Trends

How To Use Google Trends & Find Valuable Insights

I love Google Trends. You can learn so much about your audience. It is an important part of keyword research and our SEO process in general. Hopefully, these awesome insights from our team will help you find meaningful ways to use Google Trends for your cause.

Here are 7 valuable insights you can find in Google Trends:

 

1. Show an increase (or decrease) in search interest in a topic over time

Google trends shows search interest in Vegan beats Vegetarian

You can find interesting information like how veganism has far surpassed vegetarianism in terms of search interest globally over the last 5 years. This will prove to vegan advocates that their hard work has more than paid off.

And if you want to make the case to your management that you should be covering a topic less (or more) because your audience is losing (or gaining) interest, Google Trends is your best friend!

2. Confirm a viral trend

Viral or not? Sarahah overtaking Musically by a landslide

Interest in Musical.ly. vs. Sarahah

You can confirm the virality of trending topics, and check if people are still searching for it as much. If you know that Musical.ly has been incredibly popular for more than a year, and is averaging an incredible 5 million average US searches a month, and you notice that Sarahah, which is gaining interest for potentially being a breeding hub for cyber bullying, has more than surpassed Musical.ly even at its peak, you know this is definitely going viral. Knowing this, an organization like Common Sense Media will want to advise parents how to help their children navigate this app.

3. Identify seasonal search trends in your industry

Google Trends seasonality Mathematics

It can be very helpful to identify seasonal trends, so that you know when to work on your next campaign, to make sure you are ranking before the next spike happens. It is also just great to know when there will be low search interest so you are not surprised when you see a big traffic drop.

4. Demand vs. Performance: Determine the cause of a decline in impressions

Is the decline because of a decrease in demand or because there was a change in performance?

Google Trends demand abcya

I use Google Trends all the time when creating monthly SEO reports to help my clients understand what is happening with their top keywords. Are they newly ranking for a term that has a lot of search volume, and hence it becoming a top keyword instantly, or is there a surge in demand for a keyword they have consistently been ranking for? Is that a drop in impressions because teachers are on summer holidays, or did Google decide not to rank this page for this keyword anymore? Trust me, if you are in the Education sector, Google Trends will help keep you sane over the summer when your traffic suddenly drops like there is no tomorrow.

In the example above, the keyword abcya has been declining since May, but is kind of picking back up in August. This is also seasonal if you look at it over multiple years.

5. Show differences in language and habits across geographical regions

Google Trends regional interest Down Syndrome

There are differences in spelling, word usage, and habits across the globe. Google Trends can help you make sense of this. For Down Syndrome, for example, Google Trends shows that in some regions of the world people use only Down’s Syndrome, after the scientist who discovered it.

While you can have a match off between vegan and vegetarian to see which is used most in each country.

Google Trends geographical interest in vegan vs vegetarian

6. Show YOUR impact (on search results)

Google Trends shows impact of The Cove on search results

Interest in ‘dolphin hunting’

If you have run a big awareness campaign on a topic, you may be able to see the impact of it in Google Trends. For example, after “The Cove”, a documentary raising awareness on dolphin hunting in Japan, was released there was a significant spike in search interest for dolphin hunting. Google Trends shows that the impact lasted for a couple years. Then there was a short campaign of celebrities speaking out about the practice, which led to a massive spike in search interest but had, unfortunately, only a short impact on search interest.

7. Check current trending topics and insights

Google Trends Featured Insights

On the Google Trends homepage, you can find current trending stories by category, and usually, Google will have curated some interesting insights related to current events, like whether people look for solar or lunar eclipse or what Game of Thrones house people search for most.

Some other significant findings were for example how people’s interest in “what does it mean to leave the European Union” spiked AFTER the results for Brexit were in (rather than, you know, before they voted), or a concerning spike in search interests for “I looked into the sun” after the solar eclipse.

So, how can you start using Google Trends?

  1. Just be curious and ask yourself a question.
    For example, “I wonder how the Instagram stories launch affected Snapchat?”
    Spoiler: Snapchat’s search interest declined.
  2. Conduct keyword research and check some of your top keywords
  3. Check your monthly top keywords
  4. Pay attention to relevant news on social media and plug related terms in Google Trends.

Good luck and let me know what gems you uncover!
Next: read more about what SEO can do for you.


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Rianne Olde Keizer

rianne@mediacause.org