Google Trends is a valuable tool for any business to determine how specific target key words and phrases are being searched for over time, anywhere in the world. Based on Google Search, this tool will return data showing how often a specific term is entered relative to total search volume over a set period of time-past, present, and future potential. Most importantly, it’s free.
If one of your goals is to create content targeted to high-performing keywords, Google Trends will prove helpful and insightful. This can help greatly with search engine optimization (SEO), or the “process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”
The information you’ll learn by using Google Trends will help you create targeted content specific to your audience. Here are a few ways to get the most out of this resource.
1. Start with a high volume keyword (like “dog”) and use filters to find more specific information relevant to your business’ keywords.
Your first step is to type your keyword into the “Explore topics” search field at the top of the Google Trends intro page. By searching “dog,” the dashboard will immediately tell you the internet’s interest in this keyword over the last 12 months, viewing data as you mouse over the line graph. You’ll see interest in the term by region, or you can use the dropdown arrow next to “Region” to switch to “City” view. Mouse over each region to see specific search interest. You’ll also see Related Topics & Queries, which means users searching for “dog” also searched for the related subjects listed.
These are the basic functions of Google Trends, and you can use the filters at the top of the page to get more specific.
“Worldwide” can change to a particular country or state/province. “Past 12 months” can change to any other time range, all the way back to 2004. “All categories” has an endless amount of options in its dropdown. And “Web Search” can change to Image, News, Google Shopping, or YouTube search.
Expert Tip: Be sure to check various time ranges. There may not be much fluctuation in interest over the last 12 months, but a search for the last five years could return some very different data.
2. Use the search type to discover where your audience is, and then use the “Rising” option to find out where they’re going.
The “Web Search” dropdown gives you the options Image, News, Google Shopping, or YouTube. You may find that the keyword you’re searching for has a much higher return as a YouTube search than as a regular Google search. This is an opportunity to use YouTube for marketing purposes, with videos or vlogs to reach your audience. Focus on the visuals of your page with great photos if your keyword has a higher return in an Image Search.
Under “Related queries,” you’re able to switch between overall top-ranking related queries or find out what queries are up-and-coming. Google Trends will programmatically identify which keywords have a current increase in search volume. This gives you the opportunity to target keywords that are always popular, as well as what is hot and trending at that time.
Expert Tip: Consider the power of discovering a new trending topic before anyone else, earning your latest content a top-ranking position.
3. Know where your audience is and use that information to target your content to specific locations.
Whether you’ve written a blog post and want to share it on Facebook or LinkedIn, or you’ve taken a great photo and want to post it on Instagram or Snapchat, you can gain a lot by targeting a campaign to a specific location. Don’t waste money on pay-per-click campaigns across the world or country when you can narrow it down to a less general area.
Use what you already see on the basic dashboard and keep clicking through the darkest blue areas to find a more specific location of interest. For “dog,” it appears to be the United States or Australia. Or go even further from the U.S. to Montana to Glendive, MT. Then, when you’re on your preferred social media platform, use this knowledge to target your greatest audience.
Expert Tip: Check related queries across different locations, as well. Your specified keyword might not perform well in one area, but a very similar keyword may be winning in that location.
4. Use the “Compare” feature at the top of the page to see how your initial keyword ranks against other important keywords.
You may find that the keyword you’re searching for on Google Trends is not performing as well as a related query. In that case, use the related query to compare the two and determine your next steps.
In this case, we’ve made a more narrow search for the “corgi” dog breed. Google Trends also suggests searching for other high-ranking terms related to this keyword, like Welsh Corgi or Corgi Toys.
Expert Tip: Using the “Compare” feature is a great way to keep track of trends among keyword families. Bookmark this particular comparison to see how the two trend together over time and in specific locations.
5. Find other topics to write or post about through related topics and queries.
If you’re trying to get your content to rank higher or to target particular people searching for your specified keyword, consider moving outside the box and taking advantage of the trends to create even more new content.
For the keyword “dog,” you might add to your content a blog post about the dog zodiac sign or the appeal of the Disney Jr. show “Puppy Dog Pals,” as they both rank in rising related queries and topics and will help your content rise above less-researched content.
Expert Tip: Try utilizing hashtags with these related queries on whatever current content you have. If you have any post about a dog, using #yearofthedog #westminsterdogshow #puppydogpals may help boost visibility.
6. Use the “Stories Trending Now” feature to create content based on trends.
Although the trending topics on the Google Trends homepage may not be the exact keywords you’re looking to hit, they are a sure thing for what is currently hot on the internet. It’s important to remember to incorporate a variety of content to keep your audience interested, and this tool will show you exactly what people are interested in at that very moment.
Take advantage of the free, easy access to no-brainer content. Consider what content you already have created. Is there anything relating to what’s currently trending? Maybe you can share a post from a notable news outlet for a trending topic and include your related content link in the caption. Or share your content with a hashtag relating to the currently trending topic.
Think outside the box and learn what your audience is most interested in by utilizing every tool Google Trends has to offer.
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