1. Start Big and Whittle Down
In the past, Google Trends had you enter parameters right off the bat — Web Search, Worldwide, etc.
- Using Worldwide helps you target a specific market geographically. For example, you’ll see the word “umbrella” peak at different times across different hemispheres.
- Time selection ranges from the “past 5 years,” all the way down to the “past 4 hours.” Pro tip: Use multiple time selections to get an idea of the long-term trends vs. the short-term trends. More on that later.
- Filtering by category is essential. At least if you’re running a search on “Celtic Thunder” and don’t want to read about Irish weather patterns.
- Search Type (including web, news, and YouTube) is another vital category, but more on that in item #3
2. Context, Context, Context
Google Trends works in a highly relativistic fashion. The results of today aren’t compared to the overall popularity of all trends, but rather the previous heights of the keywords you entered.
The overall trend looks much more stable. This familiar “heartbeat” pattern is characteristic of seasonal search terms like the Caribbean cruise.
- Using the “+ Compare” tool to add new keywords.
- Filter by country or category
- Web searches
3. Get More Advanced with Specific Search Options
- Web search (Default)
- Image Search
- News Search
- Google Shopping
- YouTube Search
Each individual click will yield results based on different segments of your potential markets.
which is why in the above example you see the key phrases that have moved up 2,400 percent. Click “Rising,” and you’ll also have the option to view the top overall keywords. Usually, “Rising” is a better option if you want to identify the hot trends.
These suggestions are highly useful for SEO because they can help inspire new content that embraces new trends.
4. Target by Location
The most cursory use of Google Trends will focus exclusively on keywords. For the best results, you’ll also need to incorporate location into the mix. Don’t be afraid to zero in on specific regions and sub-regions – especially when it comes to the U.S.
Take it a step further with a click on Florida, and you’ll find that the Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne metro region is highest, followed by Miami and then Naples. This is critical data for specific targeting in PPC and even local search.
5. Trend Predictions
It’s the easiest thing in the world to log on to Google Trends and identify those trends that already leave a trail of breadcrumbs.
- Identify trends with filtering by specific categories or countries. Today’s top health story might not make major headlines in Google Trends, but it can help you identify topics to watch.
- Compare two key phrases in a single trend. Is “Vote for X” trending higher than “Vote for Y”? You might have yourself an informal poll.
6. Use Long-Tail Key Phrases to Inspire Content
Ranking at the top of the SERPs for “Caribbean Cruise” is quite an undertaking, but there’s no reason you can’t get to the top of Google search results for a long-tail variation of a trophy phrase.
A click on the trend will yield top questions asked Google, most searched best new artists, and even questions related to the host of the Grammys — such as “how old is James Corden”
7. Use “Top Charts” For Additional Insights
As Google explains, Top Charts is different than the trends most people are watching. Think of this as the “Billboard Top 100” of Google; you’ll see the top trending items in a variety of categories. Sort between Trending and Most Searched for additional insights.
8. Use Data for Video Optimization
- Enter in your search term.
- Switch from Web Search to YouTube Search.
- Check out Related Queries and Related Topics.
- Sort by Top or Rising — if you prefer.
From here, you’ll find that people search cruises based on ship classes, not just by searching the ships themselves. Armed with this knowledge, you are in a better position to write relevant titles and descriptions. This improves your opportunity to capture YouTube traffic, as cruise season rolls around.
9. Use Cyclical Trends for Brand Positioning
Let’s say you’re optimizing a wedding boutique. A simple search of wedding shows the reality of wedding season on Google:
Using some of the strategies above, however, you can find some additional keywords to position future posts to handle the return of each cyclical trend.
10. Identify Blind Spots & Don’t Misread the Trends
Let’s return to one of the current trends, the Grammy Awards. The recent spike suggests a strong interest in the topic.
Advanced use of Google Trends means you’ll go a step beyond whatever you think your current insight is to see if you have blind spots.
- Don’t ever trust a single snapshot. Always get a broader view of a timeline to see what else is happening.
- Is an increased trend in one key phrase still dwarfed by more important ones? Always look for context.
- Researching weddings for #9, I encountered a drastic increase in YouTube trends for weddings during the summer of 2017 – far greater than in previous summers – which almost quadrupled previous interest. Further research couldn’t identify a specific keyword, except to show a drastic increase in wedding interest in South Asia. This geographically-driven trend is a great example of a unique insight that comes from the never-ending search for understanding context