Google Trends – forecast what customers want tomorrow

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Many marketers still underestimate or overlook the potential of Google Trends as an all-round marketing weapon. This tool is free and will add value to your SEO, sales and content strategies.

However, before we get into the many possibilities: What is Google Trends? The site was launched in 2012 and has been updated ever since. The current version is from 2018. With Google Trends, you can determine the popularity of various search terms. If you enter a term, Trends shows you a graph that displays the search interest in this term over time.

The user can customize the time period of interest. Likewise, you determine which region or language should be taken into account. Up to 5 different terms can be compared together in one graph. As you can imagine, if used correctly, these and other features can provide your company with numerous potential competitive advantages. In this article, we explain how you can use Google Trends to know before your competitors which topics customers will be Googling tomorrow.

Google Trends
Table of Contents

What you need to know about the Google Trends statistics

As mentioned above, Google Trends shows you the interest in the respective word. It is important to understand that you are not shown the search volume here. The graph is standardized. The point within the examined period, where the search interest has reaches its maximum, is given the value 100. All other values on the graph are then assigned values between 0 and 100 relative to this point in time. If you include other terms in a comparison, their graphs are also displayed relative to the highest value of the most popular search term in the analysis.

Also keep in mind that the displayed values are measured relative to the total Google search volume of the respective time period. For example, let’s imagine that in July Google received a total of 10 trillion search queries. Of these, 10,000 were related to tractionwise.com. If tractionwise.com was also searched for 10,000 times in August, but a total of 11 trillion Google searches were counted, the Google Trends Graph for tractionwise.com will fall.

Forecast demand with Google Trends

Google Trends indicates which products are in demand where and when. For this purpose, set the time horizon of the graphs large enough. This way you can see whether demand is increasing in the long term. By the way, Google Trends is not only increasingly used in online marketing. Even science has already discovered the tool and has found it to be valid. Studies have used Google Trends data to forecast real estate pricestourist numbers or cinema visits, for example.

Sustainable Fashion 1 years Google Trends
"sustainable fashion" did seemingly not follow any trend when looking at a one year period
Sustainable-Fashion 10 Years
The trend becomes more visible when considering a longer time span

Filtering by search interest in only certain locations can reveal exactly where your product is in demand. This allows you to target your advertising campaigns more geographically and not waste budget in places where there is no demand. 

You can even switch the “Subregion” tab to “City” for more detailed information. If you press on the individual regions on the map, the respective graph appears at the top. A search term can be simultaneously trending down in some places and trending up in others.

Geography Google Trends
At one glance you can make out where exactly your product is demanded

Note also that many products and searches follow a seasonality. Adapt your offer to the annual rythm. A supermarket chain, for instance, will focus on diet products around the turn of the year:

diet seasonality google trends
Advertising for Diet, Light and Zero products makes a big impression especially right after Christmas

Google Trends and Content Marketing

Just as a supermarket can plan its assortment and a restaurant the number of delivery staff needed with Google Trends, it is also possible for marketers to adjust their content strategy accordingly. Many keywords are also accessed more or less seasonally.

For content marketing, it is important to plan in advance so that suitable content is published about 2 to 3 months before the search term reaches its peak. Start a link building campaign around this time to generate a small traffic boost at the peak of the keyword.

If a keyword reaches annual peaks, it is also useful to always update the article at this time. For example: Publish the article “The 10 creepiest Haloween outifts 20XX” every year in mid-October.

related topics google trends
"Related Topics" for the keyword "online marketing"

Google Trends is also handy when searching for topics for new content. Under “Related Topics” you can find terms that are often googled in addition to your search term. If, for example, you maintain a blog on the topic of digital marketing, you can see what else potential customers are searching for in this topic area. In the example on the left, you can see that there is currently a lot of interest in the term “Drop shipping” in the field of “online marketing”.

It would therefore make sense to dedicate the next blog article to drop shipping. By the way, “outlier” means here that the respective search term recorded an increase of more than 5,000% in the period.

With ” Related Topics”, you can also find out who your toughest competition is. Type in the name of your company and you will see who else your customers are looking for. Then you can go on to compete for customers with your rivals. For instance, in articles such as “Advantages of (your company) over (your competitor)”, you can then highlight your advantages over your competitors.

A further source of inspiration is the subpage “Trends in search queries”. Here you can see under “Search trends in real time” which keywords and stories have generated the most traffic in the last 24 hours. You can also filter here according to your topic, for example, “Business” or “Health”.

Google Trends and Keyword Research

You should also take advantage of Google Trends when it comes to optimizing your content for search engines:

To the right of “Related Topics” you will see “Related queries”. Here you can see exactly which ones are also typed in when people search for your keyword. As you can see on the right, you should therefore include the terms “reverse dropshipping” or “how to drop ship on amazon” in your blog article about dropshipping. Distinguish here between the tabs “Rising” and “Top”. “Top” shows you which words are generally searched for the most and could often be more suitable here. 

Dropshipping google trends
Related queries for the term "dropshipping"

Use the data from Google Trends also for your SEO strategies in general. For example, if you suddenly notice a sharp increase or decrease in traffic for a certain keyword, Google Trends can show you if there is a general trend or if something is wrong with your website.

Misinterpretations and limits of Google Trends

Of course, Google Trends also has its limits. For instance, no absolute numbers are given regarding the search volume. The tool is best suited to compare the potential of different search terms. Also note that no background information for the search interest is provided. 

There are many reasons why some terms are searched. Not every internet trend means more interest in the real world. Maybe there are double meanings or internet memes that you are not aware of. A very obvious example would be the supposed hype about umbrellas in the USA in 2007:

Umbrella english google trends
2007 Rihanna put out her song "Umbrella"

Also consider that the Internet often produces one hit wonders. Research for example the very short-term worldwide high interest in so-called “Fidget Spinners” in 2017. Also keep in mind that the results from Google Trends are calculated from a random sample of Google Searches and not from the actual total search volume. Therefore, they are not always accurate and also not recoverable.

Conclusion

Google Trends will enrich your online marketing efforts and is free. There is currently no comparable database that aggregates Google search queries worldwide and is so easy to use and understand. Use the tool to find ideas for new content, uncover future demand and prepare keywords that customers will Google tomorrow today.

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André Wehr

André Wehr

About Me

As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience the importance of customer centricity for companies on a daily basis.

Incorporate the essential perspective of the customer into your product genesis and marketing processes. That puts horsepower on the street and keeps things moving.

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