Here’s why Google Trends is a useful business tool
Q: I’ve been told several times that Google Trends is a great business tool – can you elaborate?
A: Google is by far the most used search engine with well over 90% of global search traffic, with over 3.5 billion searches processed every day.
Each search is executed based on the words entered, which allows Google to understand trends as they happen or on a historical basis. Google also includes searches performed on YouTube in the Trends tool.
This rich database of keywords can be accessed by anyone using the Google Trends web page.
The Value of Keyword Research
If you are in business, you most likely have a website and if you have a website, you want to generate as much traffic to it as possible.
Using the various advertising platforms is one way of generating traffic but if you do your homework, you may be able to get visitors for free (also known as organic traffic).
Google’s decision to include your website for any given search criteria is incredibly complex, so keywords alone won’t guarantee free traffic but it’s an essential first step.
There is no better way to research keywords than Google Trends because it taps into the ultimate database of what people are searching for every day.
Assuming you know which search words your potential customers will use is a very hazardous approach, one that we were guilty of in the beginning.
Since we’re in the ‘computer service’ business, we thought focusing on that search term was important but Google Trends made it clear that wasn’t the terminology that our customers were using.
The term ‘computer repair’ generates exponentially more traffic as shown in this comparison.
Understanding the Basics
The site starts with current trends that most likely won’t be of much value, so start by entering a search term or topic that relates to your business.
The resulting dataset will be for the web searches in the United States (unless you are doing this from another country) for the past 12 months.
The graph will represent the interest in that keyword over the timeframe you select which can go all the way back to 2004.
One of the great uses of Trends is to see seasonal changes in the use of a keyword which can be seen clearly if you use “tax software” as the search term and change the timeframe to 5 years.
The highest peak every year is toward the end of January and the beginning of February, which can be seen by floating your mouse pointer over the middle of the graph and dragging it side to side.
This intelligence can be used in both online and offline marketing initiatives since it illuminates when customers are most interested in this product category.
If the search term has multiple meanings, you can use the category option to refine the data for the proper meaning.
You can also change the data from web searches to image, news, shopping or YouTube specific searches.
Comparing search terms is another valuable market research option in Trends. If you add “tax preparer” to the “tax software” data, you’ll see the difference in the search volume as well as a similarity in the annual peaks.
As you scroll down, you’ll see interest by subregion and related topics and queries that can lead to other valuable search terms.
I’d highly recommend learning how to use this tool for anyone involved in business development or marketing.