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Covid-19 has dramatically impacted people’s lives, their needs have now changed and this has affected how they interact online and in particular with search.
Google Trends has really come into its own in this environment. It’s considered a keyword tool but it’s probably more accurate to describe it as an ‘interest research’ tool. It can play a vital role in helping to inform you of changes in search behaviour that could have the potential to affect your business.
As the name suggests, it can tell how certain search activity is trending up and which is trending down, it can provide highly useful insights. The fact that there is so much historical data to compare against adds to the richness of these insights.
So, what exactly does it do?
Google Trends analyses the popularity of search queries across various regions for a specified time range. It also allows you to compare the relative search volume of searches between two or more terms.
There are five available search criteria on Google Trends:
Keywords - Enter the terms you want to find trending information on for example ‘healthy recipes’
Country - Select the market you’re most interested in
Time Range - Select the time range you want to focus on
Category - which area of search e.g. News, Jobs & Education, Games or Food & Drink
Search Type - which source is it Google Search, News, Images, Shopping or Video.
Here are some of the main ways that Google Trends can help your business stay informed during the pandemic. (needs a bit of work this sentence as it’s the opener for the six ways.
Why is it useful?
Google Trends will help you explore all of the following:
Keyword Research: You can see how popular relevant search terms for your business are. In this example web design is a far more popular search query than web development. So if planning any marketing activities whether it be content writing or ppc campaigns, we now know which are the more important keywords to focus on.
Competitor Analysis: You can also look at how popular your brand is compared to a competitor and over time if your brand is gaining or dropping in popularity.
Seasonal Factors: It can highlight when certain products and services are in demand and when they are not. When for example do people begin searching for Christmas gifts? For last year it started as early as the end of October.
Creating content: Google Trends can be used in so many ways to generate content ideas. For example, do people ask certain questions on Google that you could help answer? Google Trends allows you to explore search term questions like…’How to’ and then select the category that best fits your business. You can then scroll down and see related questions. [need a better screenshot and highlight the bottom left of the page].
Changes in Consumer Behaviour: See how consumer behaviour has changed since the pandemic. With trends as suggested in the name we can see what search queries are trending upwards during Covid-19. See spike in following search terms around baking bread and working from home.
And to see what search queries have declined during Covid-19:
Identify Differences in Search Patterns by Location/Market: Google Trends can identify if different markets use different terms for the same product or service. Google Trends provides a heat map showing areas where your search term is popular and hovering over a certain area will generate a pop up window that will show the search volume index for these search terms for that area.
Google Trends should be a go-to tool for any marketer, it gives valuable information on whether a term is popular, on the rise and what popular terms your target audience are using.
Keyword matching on Google Trends
Depending on how you enter the search term will generate very different results.
As Google explains, for the search query grocery list with no punctuation this will generate results for these words in any order along with other words: grocery list for quarantine, list of grocery shops, coronavirus grocery list.
However the term “grocery list” will give results for that term exactly along with words before and after e.g. grocery list essentials or low cost grocery list.
Using + will include either of the words e.g. pantry + recipe
Yogurt + Yogurht + yogut: this will include alternate spellings plus common misspellings.
Lunch - Box: this will include the word lunch in results but not the word box. This is very handy if you want to exclude ‘free’ search queries.