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What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to analyze the most popular search queries of Google users. You can search for any topic or keyword search within any country and you will see the interest in this topic or keyword over time, followed by a breakdown of the interest per region and the related search queries for this specific keyword or topic.
Why should I use Google Trends?
Google Trends offers unique insights into the searching behavior of our target audience. It provides us with valuable information on our target audience’s wants and needs. It also gives insights into where our target audience is located, as accurate as per region. This allows us to determine where we should focus our marketing approaches in order to get the highest ROI possible.
How to use Google Trends for SEO?
1. Getting started
First you need to access the tool. You can do this for free and without making an account. All you have to do is go to trends.google.com.
Next, you are going to explore the potential keywords, keyword phrases, search terms or topics your product or service falls under. During the explanation I will be using a fictional travel company called “TravelFree” to give a better demonstration on how to use the tool.
For TravelFree, I need to know what people interested in traveling are searching for so I can offer them the right trip and sell all my seats. The first thing I’m going to do is type in the keyword “travel”. For this example I’m going to assume the market is operational in the United States.
As you can see from the screenshot above, whenever I type a word into the search bar, it will ask me to choose between the search term and the topic. Depending on your needs, you can choose either. Since I don’t have a concrete idea of which type of travel or travel destination I want to offer, I’m going to choose the general search term.
2. Adjust your search settings
Now that I have selected my search term, I can specify my search based on country, duration, categories and search. I must choose the country I want to target. If you have a company that doesn’t operate in a specific country or location you can select the “worldwide” option. For my example I am going to select the United States, as demonstrated in the image below.
Next, I’m going to choose the time range for the data I want to take into account. The longer the period of time, the easier it is to spot any trends. Therefore I like to select the past 5 years. As you can see on the image below, the graph showing the user interest over time has changed drastically.
Then we can select a category. I prefer to keep all categories to make sure all data is included. However, if you have a really specific target audience, it is best to select a category.
Lastly, we need to select the data source we want to use for our research. You can choose Web Search, Image Search, News Search, Google Shopping and Youtube Search. Depending on your needs you may select the source of data. In this case I am looking for what travel enthusiasts are looking for to lead them to my website, so I will select the Web Search as my data source.
3. Analyze your data
Now that the tool is fully set up, we can start analyzing the data it provides us with.
The first metric we want to look at is the interest over time. This gives us a great indication of when our audience is most interested in our search term. As to be expected, the interest in travel peaked in March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. We can also see that travel in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has actually gained in popularity and this trend does not seem to be ending any time soon. Perfect time for TravelFree to start offering trips!
If we scroll down a little, we see the interest per region. The biggest amount of searches for the word travel are currently coming from the state of Hawaii, followed by D.C. and Alaska. The audience with the biggest interest in travel is located in these areas. Therefore it might be a good idea to set the starting point of my trip within one of these states. If we scroll down further, we can also see which states the interest is the lowest. That would be Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi. We can conclude that our target audience is underrepresented in these states and setting the starting point for a group trip here would prove to be much more difficult to fill.
There is also a related topics and related queries section. Here you can see which topics and search terms are rising in interest within the audience that is searching for our keyword. For example, we can see that people who are interested in travel are also interested in “hawaii travel covid” and “hawaii travel restrictions”. Our audience within the US seems to have a pretty big interest in traveling to Hawaii. However they also seem to be interested in Covid-19 and the travel restrictions in relation to Hawaii. A good strategy for TravelFree based on this information would be to offer a Trip to Hawaii from D.C. The trip’s whole selling point could be to have fun while being safe. The company should also offer potential clients some form of reassurance that they’ll comply with all restrictions and clients can pack a bag to Hawaii without worrying about a thing!
Based on this search using Google Trends I was able to identify what is going on in the market, where I need to find my target audience and what their main concern is. I can use this information to offer a specialized service or product as mentioned in my example. I can also use this information to write a blog and draw traffic to my website or to create social media posts and grow my following due to their interest in this topic. The possibilities for SEO optimization and market research through Google Trends are endless.