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Google Trends is a useful and free tool that delivers statistics and other information regarding the popularity of specific search terms on both Google and YouTube. There are many reasons why it has become such a popular source for big data research and applications, not least because it provides a platform to observe consumers’ search information by offering extensive statistics on search data. Better yet, Google Trends is easy to use, not only when it comes to collecting data but also when providing options for comparison.

Specifically searching for certain products/services is a telling indicator that a user is likely to purchase those, too. There’s a proved correlation between a consumer’s willingness to sweep the Web and the making of a purchase. A person’s pre-existing knowledge plays a critical role during the search itself, of course, and eventually, in the final decision making. Put simply, the more a person knows, the better their search activities become.

Consumers use search results by entering their own keyword-filled terms to access a range of information sources. But given the inevitably numerous search results, they wind up not utilizing all (or even half) of the sources available to them. Most often, this means that they don’t go beyond the first page of Google search results. Business owners who want to maximize sales can use Google Trends to rank higher search engine results page(s) (SERP), according to DataForSEO. It’s nothing short of a magic wand, really.

But first, you need to know how to wield it.

1. Analyze keyword volume trends

Google Trends allows you to see a keyword’s trending volume over the last year.

Why does this matter? Because finding those that are growing in popularity means getting a step ahead of the pack — enabling you to create content around the industry-relevant keywords that people are actually searching for.

For instance, if you use a keyword research tool like Soovle or Jaaxy, you’ll only see the search volume number, but with Google Trends, you’ll also be able to predict a keyword’s performance in the future.

In the same vein, Google Trends will help you avoid keywords that are trending poorly.

But how can you tell whether a keyword is truly trending or just a fad? All you have to do is adjust the trending timeframe; if you expand that timeframe to the previous two to four years, you’ll have a better idea of what’s a trend and what’s a blip.

This also allows you to identify seasonal keywords — those that spike in quarterly patterns. You might want in on those particular keywords, but it’s always helpful to tell them apart from the real trendsetters.

2. Look for related keywords

Another powerful feature of Google Trends is its unique ability to recommend related keywords that are also growing in popularity. Say you have your core term in mind; search for it, then scroll down to the “Related Queries” table. You’ll find that Google Trends brings up keywords it considers closely related to the one you searched for, as well as list them in order of percentage popularity. Both actions do a great deal of heavy market research lifting.

3. Note “Breakout” keywords 

Sometimes, you’ll see that Google Trends replaces the percentage (%) search volume with the term “Breakout”. Pay close attention to that, because it means that the keyword has increased more than 5,000%. Don’t go reading the number wrong, however; it doesn’t mean that the keyword is overused and hard to rank for — quite the opposite. You should hop on that keyword as fast as you can because it might not have become competitive yet. You can sit and relax atop the Google Search page if you’re fast enough.

Too good to be true?

Possibly. These “Breakouts” often turn out to be fads. It’s not recommended that you build a whole business model around them, because they will likely (and often quickly) fall from grace. But for a few months’ worth of traffic and a coveted place atop Google Search results, it can be a smart move if made at the right time.

Related: How to Identify the Best Long-Tail Keywords

4. Watch for related blog and video topics

It doesn’t stop there. Google Trends can help you discover related keywords to a search, as previously discussed, but it can also provide insight into related topics to consider for future content. If you look to the left of the “Related Queries” table, you’ll notice another table called “Related Topics”. This doesn’t present specific search terms, but offers a peek into broader topics that consumers are searching for.

If you toggle “Rising” and “Top”, you’ll find the latter will list topics that are consistently getting large amounts of monthly searches, even if they aren’t necessarily growing. “Rising” on the other hand, will get you results for those that are trending. These broad topics are very useful for SEO because they can help you create content that anticipates new trends. Once you’ve honed the specific keywords you want to rank for, you can create a list of blogs, videos or social media posts related to these topics.

5. Go local with optimization

This feature is fantastic for brick-and-mortar businesses that serve a local community. As mentioned, conducting a “search” is often an act that accompanies the purchase of a product. As a business, you can use statistics on search activities to monitor, analyze and even predict whether a product, service or new idea will be acceptable to a local audience. It would pay off even further to check out “Interest by Subregion” on Google Trends. While you may live in the same country as millions of others, keywords can trend uniquely in different cities, states and subregions.

For instance, if you manufacture sports footwear and are considering rolling out a line of ice skates, Google Trends will show how search volume for this keyword varies from city to city and state to state. “Interest by Subregion” can help filter and hone in on the geographic areas with the highest demand for products, strengthening and sharpening a SEO strategy.

Related: Search In The Age Of Distraction: Six Secrets To Standout Local SEO

6. Don’t neglect new keyword ideas

Google Trends has even more arrows in its quiver, including five additional options.

• “Web Search (Default)”

• “Image Search”

• “News Search”

• “Google Shopping”

• “YouTube Search”

Results found in these help pinpoint popular topics and queries from different segments of a potential market. So, while you won’t be getting specific keywords, you’ll get an insight into trending searches: real-time data for searches that spiked in the last 24 hours.

Just be careful not to focus too much on keywords that are short-term blips.

7. Tap into LSI keywords

Finally, let’s bring an often-overlooked SEO aspect to our attention: tapping into LSI keywords. LSI is an acronym for “latent semantic index(ing)” — a computer program that has been designed to learn a wide array of synonyms based on context. This revolutionary AI uses mathematical systems to find the relationship between a word and its concept inside a piece of content. Google Trends can further help with on-page SEO by showing LSI keywords. Let’s say you wrote a post about Bitcoin. By using “Related Queries” and “Related Topics”, Google will show you a list of terms closely related to a core keyword.

All you need to do is add these terms into blog posts in the right context, or in a way that makes sense (remember to avoid random keyword stuffing).

As Google Trends progresses and becomes more advanced, contextual aspects will only become more pivotal. Adding context can be done in several ways:

• Using the “Compare” tool to add new keywords

• Filtering search by country or by category

• Conducting web searches

Google Trends works in a highly relativistic fashion, so you never want to ignore context. Results are not compared to the overall popularity of trends, but instead are matched against the previous success of your keyword choice. Take, for example, the term “beauty pageants”. This was a popular search phrase pre-pandemic, but if you look at the trends for beauty pageants in the last 12 months, you’ll notice that it hit an all-time low. Change that to “2005 – present” and the graph will show stability, much like charting a steady heartbeat. This is also one of the characteristics of a seasonal search.

Related: The Best Free SEO Tools to Increase Your Rankings

Conclusion

With modern consumers upping their demands and Google updating its algorithm, we’re at the point when utilizing Google Trends data is more valuable than ever. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and venture beyond the basic search, you will find unique insights that can markedly transform your SEO for the better.