Written by Annie-Mai Hodge on 10.20.2020
Utilizing Google Trends for SEO
There are plenty of ways that you can use Google Trends to improve your SEO. This powerful, free tool contains lots of useful data that you can extract and use to your business’ advantage and improve your online marketing strategy.
Scratching the surface
Google Trends is a huge source of open data, allowing users to view Google search data all the way back to 2004. There are five different data sources that it has used since its launch in 2006, Web Search, Google Image Search, Google News, Google Shopping and YouTube. With some of these, you can view data all the way back to 2004, whereas others only go back to 2008.
When getting started, another thing to be aware of is that Google Trends doesn’t give the figures for actual search volume. Instead, it presents search volume data on a scale of 0 – 100 of relative popularity to every single search term that users entered into Google, with 0 being the lowest and 100 being the highest.
Using the Google Trends dashboard is simple. In the early days of Google Trends, the welcome dashboard would ask you to enter your search criteria such as data source and location straight away, but now it allows you to explore topics before whittling things down by entering search parameters. This way you can enter a keyword for your topic and then hone in on specifics to find information that will help your SEO.
Once you’ve entered your search terms, you can then start to further investigate using the different data tabs. The ‘Worldwide’ tab helps you to target a specific geographical market, allowing you to view search data from all over the world or isolate by location. This way you can view location trends in your target market and ensure you are tailoring your SEO to their search intent.
Looking at how your target keywords are searched for in different areas can also help with your international SEO. By viewing the countries and regions that your target keywords are popular in, you can see what languages it may be useful to translate your page into so that you can better serve these international users and reach a wider audience globally. This can also inspire ideas for content and help support an international link-building campaign.
Performance over time
Another useful feature that Google Trends offers is allowing you to view how your target keyword has performed over time in a way that just looking at the overall search volume figure for a period of time cannot. By viewing the search data for a keyword over a time range, you can get a better idea of the longevity for a keyword and use this data to predict trends and seasonal patterns as well.
You may find a keyword that’s shows a particularly high search volume in recent times. However, by looking at the graph charting how the search volume changes over a period of time, the statistics may tell a different story. This keyword could have been one that had a huge spike in activity over a short time during a viral ‘fad’ for this particular topic, but then rapidly declined afterwards as people quickly lost interest.
These high spikes will skew the overall search volume data, making it look like this keyword is extremely popular and a great one to target for SEO purposes. This is why it is important to look at how a keyword has performed over time in Google Trends to avoid targeting a keyword that is already past its peak, with the surge being over and now steadily declining in popularity.
Peaks and troughs – an example
A great example here is ‘Pokemon Go’, when it was released in 2016, it seemed like everyone was using the augmented reality app. Consequently, the term received a huge flood of search volume for that year, and if you were looking at the overall search volume for the year, it would appear that this keyword would be a great, high-traffic option.
However, when you enter ‘Pokemon Go’ into Google Trends and view the Worldwide data for the last five years, it is clear that search traffic for this keyword spiked during July 2016 when the app was released, then rapidly declined thereafter. Therefore, it would be fairly pointless to create content to try and ride the tail end of the wave of the Pokemon Go craze, even though the search volume figures may have seemed promising at first.
You can also use Google Trends Data to predict seasonal trends by looking at the search data for a particular term over time. It can give great insights into how certain search terms peak at different times of the year depending on where in the world you are.
For example, if your company sells sunscreen, you can see that the search volume for this will tend to rise and fall depending on when the summer months are in each different country.
You can use this seasonal data to work out the best times to promote your product or service in your target locations and use quieter times to prepare content in advance for times of the year when search traffic is much higher.
Content and keyword research
Google Trends is also a great place to get ideas for new content that will drive traffic to your site. When you enter a search term into Google Trends, it will give you a list of ‘Related Queries’ and ‘Related Topics’ that users who searched for your term have also searched for. Each of these search terms will have a percentage next to it that shows the term’s growth in that time period, or if it has grown over 5000% it will be marked as ‘Breakout’.
By seeing the other trending topics that your target audience are searching for, you can get a better idea of their search intent and how to best serve these users. Additionally, you can gather ideas for long-tail keywords to target and ideas for topics for content that might interest and be useful to your target audience.
If your business produces video content as well, you can look at the related queries for YouTube too, as this may differ from Web Search data and provide ideas for which kinds of videos your target audience like to watch, so that you can better match their search intent.
Finger on the pulse
These are just some of the ways that you can use Google Trends to help boost your website’s SEO, so it’s absolutely essential you check in with this tool regularly to ensure your SEO is up to date.