In a nutshell, Google Trends allows you to see the popularity of a search term over the course of several years, all while factoring in different variables and parameters like search type (web search, image search YouTube search) and location (worldwide, country specific, state specific). When the Google Trends data is translated and utilized properly, it can be a very powerful tool for anyone engaged in a search marketing campaign. Today we are going to take a deeper look into how to use this great tool to your advantage.
When you enter a search term, you will be presented with 3 main metrics: interest over time, regional interest, and related searches.
Interest Over Time
The first metric will show you how popular the search term has been on Google over an extended period of time. In honor of the NFL season coming to a close, lets look at the search data for one of the NFL’s most polarizing figures, Marshawn Lynch.
As you can see, search popularity for Lynch has been steadily trending upwards from 2004, peaking during last month. In reaserching for this article, I consulted with Nelly Roach, President of the Missouri-based marketing firm Caledon Virtual. She mentioned that when translating the data, “it’s important to note that the numbers represented in this, and every other Google Trend metric, are normalized and not indicative to actual search volume.” Using the example above, January of 2015 was given the score of 100, meaning that during that month the search term in question made up the biggest slice of the Google’s total searches, regardless of if it was 1% or 99%. For more detailed data regard actual search volume, Nelly suggested using Google’s Keyword Planner.
The next metric we will look at is regional interest, which shows you exactly where the search term was most popular. Automatically, Google will show you worldwide search data, and gives you the choice of narrowing that down to the city level. Given that Lynch is professional athlete in America he obviously had the most traffic in the US, so lets dig a bit deeper:
It looks like Lynch has good search traffic across the US, with a high concentration in the state of Washington. Again, not at all shocking given that Lynch is the star running back for the Seattle Seahawks.
Lastly, Google will show you related search terms and rank them in regards to popularity. Lets look at the top search queries related to Marshawn Lynch:
As you can see, the top related query comes from people looking for his interviews, which makes perfect sense given that his interviews (or non interviews, if you will) have been gaining great notoriety. Another cool thing you can do with the related searches is see which queries have experienced the biggest jump in popularity over a specific period of time. For example, if we look at the popularity of Lynch’s related search queries in just this last month (January 2015) to the pervious month (December 2014):
As you can see, related search terms involving terms like “conan”, “gronkowski”, and “conan marshawn lynch” have been deemed to be breakout search terms, meaning that the term experienced a growth of over %5000 from the previous month. This makes perfect sense, given that the video people were looking for with the afore-mentioned queries was released and gained popularity this past January.
Hopefully this can shed a little light on using Google Trends, and how it can become a powerful tool in any search marketing campaign.