As the world’s most popular search engine, Google has access to decades of information about what people are searching for online – and this information is accessible through the Google Trends tool. Researchers have used Google Trends search data for everything from predicting the stock market to monitoring the spread of disease. Read on to learn how you can use this powerful free tool for your business.
What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a website that shares anonymous, aggregated data about what people search for on the internet. Using a random sample of billions of daily searches, Google Trends measures the relative volume of searches over time, going back to 2004.
Observe: Google trending Reports relative search volume only, not absolute search volume — or the total number of Google searches a term has received. Google Trends data is indexed at 100, which means the maximum search volume for a given search query over a set period of time is 100. When looking at trends over time, 100 is the day with the highest search traffic for your keyword. When you search Google Trends by region, the place with the most search interest over a set time period has a score of 100.
How to use Google Trends for your business
- Plan ahead for seasonal marketing
- Find the best day of the week to run ads and post content
- Use regional insights to create valuable content
- Identify additional keywords
- Discover breakout queries
- Find the right wording
- Optimize marketing by channel
- Understand your competitors
As a business owner, you can not only use Google Trends to stay up to date. So it can help you with keyword research, competitive analysis, and more.
1. Plan ahead for seasonal marketing
If you use Google Ads, you know that Google tells you the monthly average search volume for search terms on the platform. The difference between Google Ads and Google Trends is that Trends provides real-time data rather than a monthly average, so you can use it to pinpoint searches to specific events or see how searches are changing over time. With these insights, you can plan ahead for seasonal marketing campaigns that promote products at a time when searches for related keywords are increasing.
“Hiking sandals” is an example of a seasonal keyword. Each year from 2004 to 2022 search interest for the term “hiking sandals” in the US peaked in June and declined in November. To capitalize on this pattern, you can increase your ad spend in late spring and early summer, when most people are looking for hiking sandals.
2. Find the best day of the week to run ads and post content
You can use Google Trends to see if your search term is performing better on certain days of the week. For example, both “hiking sandals” and “hiking sandals” see the most traffic on weekends. Therefore, consider running more ads and focusing on content marketing campaigns that land on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
3. Use regional insights to create valuable content
You can make the search volume data more specific by selecting a location and narrowing your parameters from worldwide to the United States, for example, or even further to California. Selecting California will display search volume sorted by metro area. For example, the term “hiking sandals” had the highest search density in the San Diego metro area in 2022. You can use this information to localize advertisements and improve targeting of your content marketing efforts. For example, you might consider blogging about the best hiking trails near San Diego to promote your hiking sandals.
4. Identify additional keywords
Use Google Trends to do keyword research for SEO by showing related search topics. When you use Google Trends to explore a term, you can scroll down past the “interest over time” and “interest by region” data to a related search topic section. To get a clearer picture of each term’s performance, toggle between rising (highest increase in search frequency over a given time period) and top (highest overall search frequency).
In 2022, increasing related topics for “hiking sandals” in California included “ankle” and “backpack,” while some of the most commonly related topics were “sandal” and “hiking boot.” If you sell hiking sandals, looking at themes can help you figure out what other products your customer might be looking for—like hiking boots and backpacks. You can click on these topics to assess whether they are worth pursuing. Exploring trends by topic can give you additional information about search interest that you might not have discovered otherwise.
5. Discover breakout requests
Along with increasing related searches, you’ll usually see a percentage showing how Google search volume has grown. However, for some searches and topics, there is no percentage increase in search volume. Instead, you see the word “breakout,” which Google uses to indicate that search volume for that term has increased by over 5,000%. For a search term to experience such strong growth in the short term, the search volume was likely to be very low initially. These newly popular keywords can be an important part of your SEO strategy.
6. Find the right wording
Google Trends’ comparison feature can help you choose the perfect phrase for your search term. In the US, for example, “hiking sandals” attracted slightly more interest than “hiking sandals” in 2022 — except in Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, where “hiking sandals” was the preferred term. This feature can help you decide which keywords to prioritize in your marketing efforts. A brand that sells sandals might use the term “hiking sandals” in the South West and “hiking sandals” elsewhere.
7. Optimize marketing by channel
Google Trends offers ecommerce store owners the ability to refine search volume data by search type. Web search is the default, but you can also see trends in image search, news search, shopping search, and YouTube search. Benefits include seeing how shopping search and image search trends differ from web search. For example, popular web searches for “hiking sandals” contain the word “best,” while image and shopping searches tend to contain the words “for women.” If you want to rank in web search, you should make a list of the best hiking shoes. If you want to make sure your product page lands on image and shopping pages, you should know that searchers are looking for products that fit their body and gender identity.
8. Understand your competitors
A handy feature of Google Trends is the ability to compare up to four different search terms at the same time. Once you’ve decided on a region and time period for your first search, click “+ Compare” in the light blue box to the right of your original search term to see how those two terms compare. You can add up to two more terms, which can be useful when conducting competitive analysis. Compare your brand name to your top three competitors to better understand your niche and improve your marketing efforts.
Frequently asked questions about Google Trends
Is Google Trends a free tool?
Yes, Google introduced Trends in 2006 as a free tool for the general public.
How accurate is Google Trends data?
The Google trend data is correct, but does not provide absolute search volume. Since Google performs billions of searches every day, it would take a long time to add each search query to its dataset. Therefore, Google Trends uses a sample of search queries. Google notes that its trends data “is not scientific and may not be a perfect reflection of search activity.” A search volume of zero is reported for some searches. However, this may mean that the search volume was too low for Google to classify as significant. actual volume may be higher than zero – but still low.
Can I use Google Trends for international data?
Google Trends data shows global searches, making it a good option for international data. Depending on your region, you can search for data by country, state, or metro area.
How does Google Trends determine search popularity?
Google Trends determines search popularity by taking a random sample of daily searches for a given search query and then converting that sample to a number out of 100. The term with the highest search volume at any given time is the benchmark for 100 and all other searches’ popularity is shown relative to the most popular search query.
What is 100 in Google Trends?
If you see the number “100” next to a search term, it doesn’t mean that it has an absolute Google search volume of 100. Since Google uses normalized values, a value of 100 means that the term in question has the highest relative search volume.