Google Trends is a free tool that provides search data for keywords and topics. A lot of marketers underestimate the value of this tool is because it doesn’t offer the same metrics as other keywords tools, such as impressions and CTR estimates.
Then again, Google Trends isn’t really a keyword tool. It’s
more like an interest research tool and it allows you to segment data in a
number of powerful ways.
If you’re not sure what Google Trends is, take a look at or articles What is Google Trends? and 8 Google Trends tips for advanced SEO insights, where we explain some of the advanced insights you can get from it.
For today, we’re looking at practical examples of how to use Google Trends to improve your search marketing strategy.
You can take insights from Google Trends to create SEO and content strategies that address your audiences’ needs as they change throughout the year. This process involves monitoring the search volumes of key hero terms over different timeframes (days, weeks, months etc) and comparing them to interest levels from previous years to spot patterns and emerging trends.
Let’s imagine a ski resort in Austria wants to target UK
holidaymakers as one of its key audiences. Like many businesses, interest is
highly seasonal, dependent on the weather and affected by calendar events such
as school holidays.
So the first thing this company might do is check how the search volumes for key hero terms vary across the year.
Now, by default, Google Trends returns data for the past 12 months. However, you can easily change this by defining a custom time range, which allows you to compare search volumes for every year going back to 2004.
You can also cross-reference this data by location to see
which parts of the country are most interested in your hero terms.
Already, you can see that we’re getting valuable information from Google Trends. But how does this translate into better marketing and business decisions?
Over the past 12 months, search volumes for “skiing in Austria” declined in April and recovered in October, with a peak in late December/early January. As we would expect, interest is highest during the winter months but there are still spikes in interest to work with throughout the year.
People don’t normally wake up one day and decide to book a
skiing trip for next week. They plan trips like this over a period of weeks,
months or even longer. So the first thing you can do is use this data to predict when bids should be highest
on your PPC ads. It’s also important to rank strongly in organic search during
these periods because most of your leads are likely to come from people
planning for the next winter season.
Shoulder seasons are the period between peak and off-season
where things generally die down. Lead quantity naturally declines but there are
a number of steps you can take to maximise profit during these periods:
Google Trends will even tell you how to adapt your messages, what kind of incentives work, which high-intent search terms to target and how to discover which interests you can satisfy through differentiation.
Now let’s take a look at how to use Google Trends to help with the technical side of things, such as optimising your page titles, meta descriptions and page content to match user interests. A recent study conducted by Ignite Visibility found that meta descriptions have the most influence on which result users click – by a long margin, too.
Relevance is everything here. Users read these previews to decide whether pages will provide the information they’re looking for.
So a clothing brand can turn to Google Trends and type in
something along the lines of “womens clothes” and look at the Related topics and Related queries sections to see which items are currently
You can then use this data to optimise your meta descriptions to include the most popular items right now and reorder your page content to show the most in-demand items first. Likewise, you might want to change your use of images in the hero sections of pages to reflect current interests.
Taking this even further, there might be some search trends that prompt you to create new pages entirely. Or you could create new category pages that could rank for emerging search trends and possibly even generate site links in your organic listings.
You can get quite granular with this too. For example, you can look at search volumes for the past seven days and compare this with weekly data for the past month, quarter, year and past few years.
You can then identify the days and times of day when interest is strongest, and compare this data with related topics and search queries to gain a more rounded view of what’s inspiring people to type these keywords into Google.
Now, you’re starting to get in-depth search insights. But there comes a point where you’re limited by the data available on Google Trends and the manual workload of comparing data.
Luckily, we can fix this problem.
By using the Google Trends API, you can extract data from the platform and play with it how you like. This is precisely what we’ve done with our Apollo Insights platform, which extracts data from Google Trends and search data from dozens of other third-party sources.
This allows us to
add Google Trends data into a much larger, comprehensive dataset and compare
insights. For example, we can build up a picture of how your brand is
performing against industry benchmarks and competitors.
gives us full control over this data so we can work with it quickly.
In the last
section, we touched on the idea of segmenting search volumes weekly and
comparing results to previous weeks across months or years. It would take a lot
of time to extract this data manually from Google Trends before you even
analysed, cross-referenced, visualised and then compared it with data from
Apollo allows us to
do this almost instantly.
Which means we might see random spikes in search volumes and sales for the same products throughout each month. This will prompt us to investigate and find out why this is happening. Sometimes, these spikes might be occurring at different times across the country. Other times, there might be more widespread and, occasionally, almost nationwide peaks of interest.
Google Trends is a powerful tool in its own right but it really comes alive when you extract its data and integrate it with datasets from other sources. In today’s data-driven marketing environment, this is how you build a 360-degree view of your search marketing performance and spot new opportunities before everyone else.
If you’d like to know more about how to use Google Trends, you can speak to our analytics team by calling 02392 830281 or drop us your contact details and we’ll call you.
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