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How to Use Google Trends for SEO

Dominick Hayes

December 02, 2021

For many SEOs out there, it’s no surprise that using Google Trends for keyword research is a common practice. But, as it turns out, it goes way beyond just keyword research – there are quite a few ways you can utilize it for boosting your SEO efforts. 

In today’s article, we’ll briefly explain how does Google Trends work. Then, you’ll learn what is Google Trends used for by SEO managers and how the platform helps them boost their rankings. Let’s get started!  

Navigation

  • What is Google Trends?
  • 7 ways you can use Google Trends for SEO
  • Find related keywords
  • Dive deeper into keyword search volume 
  • Localize your content
  • Identify seasonal trends 
  • Generate new topics for videos or articles
  • Discover “breakout” keywords 
  • Make future trend predictions
  • Challenges of acquiring Google Trends data
  • Conclusion

What is Google Trends?

Simply put, Google Trends is a platform that shows the popularity of any keyword searched on Google and Youtube. The popularity score on Google Trends ranges between 1 and 100, 1 being the lowest and 100 being, of course, the highest.

On the Google Trends platform, you can dig deep into the trending searches data by choosing a specific geographical region or a desired time frame. Google Trends allows you to filter data by selecting any range from 2004 up to the past hour. 

Is Google Trends free to use? 

Yes, Google Trends is completely free, making it the more reason to take advantage of what it has to offer. As a free tool, Google Trends provides great amounts of valuable, real-time data that can be used for keyword research and other SEO-related matters.

Understanding the frequency rate

Before we move any further, it’s essential to understand what exactly does the 1-100 popularity range mean – there’s actually some confusion about that across the internet.

Many people believe that the trend curve directly represents the keyword’s search volume over time. In fact, Google Trends displays the relative popularity of a keyword. Relative popularity is the ratio of a keyword’s search volume to the sum of search volumes of all queries.

 To have a better understanding, take a look at the definition from Google Trends Help Center:

Trends adjusts search data to make comparisons between terms easier. Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents, to compare relative popularity.”  

Now that we have that cleared out, let’s look at the evolution of Google Trends to really grasp how powerful the tool is.

 Once, Google Trends was a website for analyzing people’s interest in various topics. Today, it has grown into a huge web search data utilization tool that captures real-time public reactions and gauges news stories within the short-term future. With Google Trends, you can measure tendencies in social attitudes, political matters, sports, entertainment or any other area that’s relevant to your interest. 

7 ways you can use Google Trends for SEO 

As you’ve probably already gathered by now, Google Trends definitely possesses some valuable data for your SEO strategy. Let’s go find out how to use Google Trends for your SEO strategy, shall we? 

1. Find related keywords 

Let’s begin by learning how to use Google Trends for keyword research. 

Say you have an online shoe store where you’re reselling products of the most popular brands. According to the latest fashion news, Ugg boots are making a comeback, so you want to check if that reflects on the Google searches and bingo! It does. Based on Google Trends, searches for “ugg boots” are steadily increasing – a good sign, right?

Now, a smart move would be finding similar keywords to this one. With similar keywords, you could optimize your blog posts, generate cluster topics or figure out how to name your product categories. This data is highly beneficial when seeding keywords or planning content ahead, all of which you can find under the queries section. 

Related queries allow you to discover trending search terms that are similar to your entered keyword. For “ugg boots”, these would be the top 5 related queries: 

The queries that contain “black friday” are seasonal (which we will get to in a bit). However, you can see that keywords like “ugg platform boots” are on the rise, so you can definitely include them in your copy or use them for planning content ahead. 

To generate even more new keyword ideas, take it a step further by finding related searches for the related searches. Also, you can use the keywords suggested by Google Trends as seed keywords in Keywords Explorer. 

With all that said, using Google Trends for keyword research is probably the most common way SEOs take advantage of the platform. 

2. Dive deeper into keyword search volume 

Now, let’s find out why keyword volume is important and how using Google Trends helps with it. 

As you probably know, keyword search volume is the number of times a term was searched during your selected time frame. Search volume is a fundamental metric for SEO managers since it drives new traffic to a website. You can enter any search query into the Google Trends search and see how the interest rate increased or dropped in your chosen period. You can also view the interest rate by region, analyze state maps, and discover places where a term is most (or least) likely to be searched. 

As we mentioned earlier, the interest rate ranges between 1 and 100. Once again, don’t forget that Google Trends presents relative keyword popularity. In other words, it’s the ratio of a keyword’s volume to the total number of searches of anything conducted in a given place at a given time. 

3. Localize your content

Google Trends shows in which country, city, or subregion a search query is the most popular. With local trends data available, you can determine where your products or services are needed the most. 

Here, we searched for the “air conditioner” search term, set the location as “worldwide”, and selected the past 90 days.

To no surprise, the term was the most popular in Australia, the country that holds many heat-related records. Now that you know the country your search term is the most popular in, take a look at a city-level breakdown:

You can use this information to target these specific regions with Google Ads instead of wasting your budget targeting the entire Australia. Or, you can produce content specifically targeted at people that live in that city.  

Also, bear in mind that nearly all SEOs are utilizing the same keywords shown on Google Trends. With local searches, you get a chance to be creative, brainstorm long-tail phrases, and stand out from the competition.  

4. Identify seasonal trends 

A good marketing specialist always plans their content in advance. Oftentimes, it includes considering the upcoming season and the type of relevant content. As you probably know, search query volumes are highly influenced by the season. By monitoring seasonal trends, you can plan your content according to the time of the year, i.e., the Christmas holidays. 

It is crucial to plan your content in advance if your business is season-dependent – for example, you’re selling air coolers in a country where it gets cold in the winter. By analyzing relevant historical search trends, you can predict the peaks and troughs and use this information to create content to coincide with the peak.

 For example, if you want to get ready for the Christmas season, you should start preparing 2-3 months prior. Same goes for your already-existing content – you can start optimizing it a couple of months before the peak.

5. Generate new topics for videos or articles

Although Google owns Youtube, it doesn’t mean that trending searches are the same across both platforms. Hence, it would be a smart idea to generate content topics exclusively for YouTube. 

Say you want to post a video tutorial on how to use your software. For the next step, you need to figure out what queries people look for around that topic, so you open Google Trends. With Google Trends, you can detect top or rising video topics and optimize your video title or description, so it’s more in line with what people are searching for. 

If you type in a query into the Google Trends search, by default, you’ll get web results. To switch the search type, click the arrow next to the web search – now, you’ll be able to choose the Youtube search in the menu. 

You can also use Google Trends to generate topics for your blog in advance and fill out your content calendar. Navigate to the bottom-left of the page and locate the Related topics section. Here, you’ll find relevant topics similar to your search query, which allows you to utilize them for your blog. 

6. Discover “breakout” keywords 

Google Trends sometimes marks it as a “breakout” keyword to represent interest in a rising search query. See the example below:

As Google describes it, “breakout” means that there’s not enough search volume data to generate a significant “before” and “after” difference. So, any search term that’s growing above 5,000% is considered a breakout keyword.

 Since these keywords are not competitive yet, you can be the first to establish a stable position before it goes mainstream. When it does, likely, you’ll already be on the first page of Google.

7. Make future trend predictions

Finally, you can use Google Trends data to speculate what queries will be trending in the future and use it for your keyword research. You can look at past search trends and identify patterns in consumer behavior from year to year. If a keyword related to your business was rising in search volume at a similar period a few years in a row (i.e., every March-June for the past four years), make the most of it by targeting that keyword. 

Challenges of acquiring Google Trends data 

Google Trends provides the “Compare” function, where you can enter multiple keywords and compare the interest rates of them together. Here, we checked the popularity of “free kittens” and “free puppies” keywords in the United Kingdom for the past 12 months – it seems that the British are dog people:

In all seriousness, if it’s just a couple of keywords you want to compare on Google Trends, it’s easy to copy-paste that data into a spreadsheet. But say you’re in a sneaker company and want to analyze a hundred brands – gathering this information manually will be way more time-consuming. To acquire this amount of Google Trends’ keywords data, you’d need an automated solution, i.e., a web scraper. 

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer an official solution for scraping its data. And, if you use a 3rd party scraper, Google will not make it easy to acquire its data – you may run into CAPTCHAs or IP bans along the way. 

However, if you use a Google Trends API, you won’t have to worry about these issues since technical maintenance will be taken care of. Using this tool, you’ll be able to extract large amounts of Google Trends data in a structured JSON format and use it for boosting your SEO strategy. 

Conclusion

Although Google Trends was not exclusively made for SEO marketers, it has evolved into a suitable tool for keyword research. By delivering the freshest trending searches data out there, the Google Trends platform gives you a chance to get ahead of the competition. 

So, now that you know how to use Google Trends for SEO, make sure to take advantage of what it has to offer! After all, Google Trends is a free tool that holds large amounts of valuable data. 

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