Google trends have often been neglected by content marketers. Most were checking it just to see the users’ interest in the topic and never use it to its full potential.
Today, the popularity of Google Trends for marketing research grows. Although it still provides a straightforward data on Google Search usage, some studies show that searches on Google Trends reached 2 trillion in 2016.
Google Trends offers the following opportunities:
- Checking the search term popularity over time (the bigger the time span – the clearer the trend);
- Compare two+ search terms on a graph over time;
- Check the popularity of a search term across different Google’s search engines like YouTube, Google Shopping or Images;
- Get the related topics and term suggestions below the graph;
- Check the search term popularity across different locations, including broader ones like a country, and narrower ones like a city.
This helps marketers get some not-so-obvious insights about various search queries and refine their keyword research.
A Few Words on How It Works
What you should remember: Google Trends is NOT a keyword research tool. Some marketers treat those interest metrics as real search volume metrics. But the truth is – they are not.
Google says that the metrics it shows for Google Trends are just relative popularity of the term. It means that Google vets all the searches and places them on a scale from the lowest-popular (zero) to the highest-popular (100). Thus, the low-search-volume query may have a high rate of interest as compared to the other term.
But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use Google Trends in your keyword research. Let’s check the most effective but not-so-obvious ways content marketers may use Google Trends for their work.
1. Find What’s Trending and Use It on Your Blog
If you run a news-based blog, you should know how Trending Searches are working. But do you know how to use those insights in your marketing strategy?
Most of those trending searches will fade away quickly even before you may even start creating your content. Take a look:
This graph shows the interest in the Game of Thrones series. You see that it had a few spikes while the last season aired. But then the interest to the show drops quickly. Thus, posting articles on the topic now most likely won’t bring you good traffic.
So how can you catch up those one-time trends? Check the “Related queries” for those searches:
E.g., you see that the recent outage of Cloudflare forced many people to search for “502 bad gateway”term too. So it may be a good idea for tech blogs to share some insights about this term mentioning the Cloudflare issue. It may help to boost traffic to the article and make it last longer.
Additionally, check the hashtags that are trending on social. You may still catch up with the tweets and other social media posts. E.g., see the trending Twitter hashtags for your location and use them in your posts.
2. Check The Trends Across Google’s Search Engines
Did you know that you may check the interest in your topics not only for Google search? Google Trends shows the results across various Google’s search engines, including YouTube and Google Shopping.
It’s the fantastic support for your keyword research for YouTube content or eCommerce website, obviously. Because different search terms may get different interest rates in Google search and YouTube search.
Let’s check an example. If you drop the term “pokemon” into Google Trends and check the YouTube searches for it. You may notice a few prominent interest spikes for the term in November 2018, and then February and June 2019:
Seems odd? Not really. These spikes clearly correlate with the release dates for the trailers and the movie “Detective Pikachu.”
So it pays off checking your search terms across different Google search platforms to choose the best format for your content. If you see an interest in the topic on YouTube, it would be better to create a video for that term instead of an article.
3. Update Your Seasonal Content
Marketers often ignore seasonal topics and focus their efforts on evergreen content creation – and it’s a perfect tactic. But I believe that seasonal content is no less beneficial for businesses. And it’s where Google trends tool helps the most.
First, many topics are tied to recurring events like holidays or seasonal activities. Check the queries for “july 4th decorations” or “summer vacation destinations”:
You see that their interest peaks usually repeat over the same periods year after year. So it’s good to find some seasonal topics in your niche and create the content for these terms to get additional traffic.
The only problem is that these seasonal topics lose their traffic flow right after the event. Remember that image from Rand Fishkin:
You won’t be able to keep the traffic to seasonal articles stable as you may with evergreen content. But you still can update those posts prior to the events and get a recurring traffic flow. Moreover, you can use not-so-obvious queries to attract even more seasonal traffic.
E.g., check the query for “lose weight” in Google Trends. It looks like it gets its peaks of popularity in January! Research it a bit, and you’ll see that it’s the time when people are making their New Year resolutions and include “losing weight” there.
So if your business has anything to do with the topics of health, lifestyle, nutrition, etc., you may create content for such query and then update it every year ahead of January to show your users the freshest tips on the topic.
4. Use Related Queries to Outrun Competitors
You are familiar to “Related searches” section in Google SERPs. Google Trends offers similar functionalities called “Related queries” and “Related topics.” Want to know the difference?
Here’s how one of Google users explains it:
Search terms show matches for all terms in your query, in the language given.
- If you search the term banana, results include searches for terms like “banana” or “banana sandwich.”
- If you specify “banana sandwich,” results include searches for “banana sandwich” as well as “banana for lunch” and “peanut butter sandwich.”
Topics are a group of terms that share the same concept, in any language. Topics display below search terms.
If you search the topic London, your search includes results for topics such as:
- “capital of the UK”
- “Londres,” which is London in Spanish[/blockquote]
So “Related searches” section may be used to expand your choice of search terms. Check the variants it offers you to choose more keyword ideas for your content.
You may download a .csv file with related queries right from the Google Trends, and then upload it to your favorite keyword tool and get metrics for those terms. You will find many long-tail keywords that may help you to rank for thousands of additional search terms.
You may also use related terms to find your competitors’ branded terms and build your content upon the comparison of your and competitor’s brand. E.g., when you check the brand term “levis clothes,” you will get other branded keywords like “macys,” “adidas,” “gap,” etc in the “Related queries” section:
If you run a clothes store that sells these brands, you may create an article that compares those brands and reaches to a broader audience of customers.
Note: Want to know more how to do keyword research to outrun your competitors and get to the first positions in Google? Watch this video:
5. Check For Trending Local Searches
You might have noticed from one of the previous example screenshots that Google Trends have another cool feature: showing the users’ interest by location. You may filter not only by country but also by subregion, metro or city.
This filter should help marketers to target their content in relevant location. E.g., you may see that the popularity of terms like “sunscreen” or “surfboard” is higher in such “marine” states as Hawaii, California and Florida:
In case you run a blog about travel or sports, you can use target the audiences in those states that will be most likely to read your content.
Blogs of online stores also benefit from this filtering. E.g., target your audience with the articles like “What do you need to know about surfing in California” and include a detailed section about surfboards there.
Another good idea is checking Google Trends for PPC terms and see their popularity across different locations. So you can stop wasting money by targeting the entire country and choose only valuable locations for your Ads.
The Bottom Line
I can’t advise you to forget other tools and head over Google Trends alone. All in all, this tool wasn’t intentionally designed for content marketers. And its data should better be used in combination with other professional tools for keyword research.
But as you see from this article, it does offer some unexpected insights and may help you with filling your content schedule, choosing the type of content, and selecting the search terms to target.
Did I miss some unconventional ways of using Google Trends for content marketing? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Author The Author: Helen is a content marketer at Ahrefs. She explores new things every day to impress her readers with catchy stories. Apart from all that marketing stuff, Helen loves listening to rock music, reading and traveling. A lot! Feel free to follow Helen on Twitter.