What is Google Trends & How to Use it

Google Trends is a free tool that analyzes the popularity of Google search terms using real-time data.

It shows users what people are searching for as impacted by time, season, and location. You can then use that information to inform your marketing strategy.

Here’s what it looks like:

In this article, we’ll cover how to use Google Trends and five practical ways to leverage it for your content strategy:

  1. Find currently trending topics
  2. Identify seasonal trends
  3. Optimize your local SEO strategy
  4. Monitor your competitors
  5. Optimize your SEO strategy

Let’s dive in.

Google Trends measures keyword popularity rather than keyword search volume.

Here’s how Google explains it: “Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents, to compare relative popularity.”

To start using Google Trends, enter a keyword into the search bar or choose one of the provided examples.

You can also scroll down to see general information about current trends in your country.

If you decide to use the search bar, simply enter the term you want data on and hit enter. Let’s start by searching for “ps5:”

To compare two terms, hit the “+ Compare” button beside your original search term. Here’s what the data looks like if you compare search terms, like “ps5” vs. “xbox x:”

We can see a breakdown of how popular each term is in every state. 

Google Trends is a relatively straightforward tool, but there are many ways to use it for your overall content strategy.

Here are five ways you can use Google Trends to improve and supplement your current content strategy:

Finding trending topics can help you plan out content, identify unique angles, and even simply stay relevant as a brand.

From the Google Trends homepage, scroll down to see “Recently trending” topics across the globe:

Would we create a blog post about the upcoming live action Barbie movie? No, that wouldn’t be relevant long-term. 

But does this trending topic make for a great meme to share on socials? We think so.

A seasonal trend is a trend that comes back regularly, usually around a specific holiday.

By researching trending topics in Google Trends, you can find out when to start advertising for your next big holidays.

Say you own a flower shop. You probably see a regular spike in sales—and searches—around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“Flowers for Valentine’s Day” starts getting traffic around February 7th to 13th. That’s data you can use to plan the start of your marketing campaigns.

You can also research harder-to-predict trends. 

Say you create content for an insurance company. You could look back several years to get an idea of when hurricane season typically occurs, then create content and marketing campaigns during that time frame.

Going back a few years will also tell you if a trending topic is a seasonal trend or simply a temporary fad. If traffic spikes around the same time each year for a keyword, then it’s a trend. 

If not, it’s likely a fad.

Take the Ice Bucket Challenge, for example. Before and after August of 2014, it got little to no traffic.

Since fads fade quickly, creating long-term content or designing marketing campaigns around them may not be a good use of time or money.

Plan Google Shopping Ads by Season

You can also use Google Trends data to determine when to plan your Google Shopping ads

Start by entering a keyword and toggling from “Web search” to “Google Shopping.” We chose “wedding guest dresses” for our keyword.

Interest increases in spring and summer and decreases in fall and winter.

Things start picking up again in January and February, so running shopping ads during that timeframe may give you a head start. It would also be a safe bet to run ads throughout the spring and summer months.

3. Optimize Your Local SEO Strategy

Google Trends allows you to view keyword popularity worldwide or by country, subregion, metro area, or city.

This can help you refine your marketing campaigns and understand where your potential customers are.

Let’s use an obvious example: surfboards. It’s less likely that people in landlocked areas of the US will be looking to buy one. 

When we toggle by subregion, we can see that people in California and Hawaii are much more interested in surfboards than the rest of the states:

Advertising Opportunity providing.

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