Free Google Tools You Should Use
You can find google trends by googling it, giving it a bing or simply by clicking here.
At it's face value, Google Trends first page can help you see what the most popular search terms are right now. This is especially helpful if you're ready to write but aren't sure what you want to write about. Right now google trends says that some of the most popular search terms are: Ryan Mallett, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Andy Dalton, Spider Monkey and Prom.
Since you now know this, you could easily write a hub or article about any of these topics. Especially one's you have personal experience or interest it. You can check google trends two or three times a day for updates to what people are looking for, and use that bring more traffic to your work.
Google trends is a unique and free program. If you go deeper into it, you will see that google trends offers you the chance to track, follow or explore current trends in internet searches. You can type in any given keyword, and google trends will show you a line graph of the searches that have been generated for that query since 2004. You can type in Anything, Nothing or even Everything. Google trends will show you which countries are searching for that word or phrase the most, and then trends will even offer you some recent articles that have become more popular because of those search terms.
The best part about Google Trends is that it's not complicated. There are no frills with this tool and with a few clicks here and there, anyone can learn to use it.
Google Insight for Search
Google Insight for Trends can be found through any simple search engine, or right here
Google Insight is an advanced version of Google Trends. It offers a more in-depth look at search trends, and allows you to do multiple comparisons of different terms or phrases at the same time. You could type in car auctions, estate auctions and penny auctions, to see which ones are more popular. Then you can vary your search to get more specific details about trends from as far back as 2004.
As with Trends, google insight will show you popular articles and news links that have helped to bring up popularity in search trends. You'll also see which countries are searching for those terms the most and the least.
Insight offers some awesome extra tools, such as Categories. These categories can show you what top trends are in specific areas of search trends. One of my favorite parts of insight, is near the bottom of the page. It shows search terms that are related to your search term, and it also shows a percentage of how much they have increased recently. If you see one that is a "breakout", that means that the trend for that search has gone up 5000%.
There are many other cool features on Google Insights for Search. The best way to find out about them is to go play with Insight and see for yourself. You can always visit Insights help section, or send me a message to get any help figuring things out.
Google's Wonder Wheel Project
I'm not exactly sure how new this tool is, but it's one I came upon more recently. It's called the Wonder Wheel and cannot be found by a simple search. Though you can find many interesting blogs and articles about it, the best way to get there is to do a google search and then click the "options" tab on the left. It will come down and show you an option for wonder wheel.
You can also click here
It's hard to explain exactly what the Wonder Wheel does, but I can tell you it's pretty cool. You can type in any search term and it will show you a wheel with similar search terms related to what you searched for. Then you can click on one of those other search terms and a second wheel will expand from the first to show you more terms. You can continue to click different terms to see the wheel expand. This can help you to connect various search terms and figure out just how to target in on the information you were looking for.
On the right side of the tool, you can see some of the most popular sites that turn up when you choose or type in a particular term.
Wonder Wheel is definitely wonderful, but just make sure you don't spend your whole day playing with it!
Google's Realtime search feature is a great one for keeping up with the times and trends of what people are posting, as they post it. You can often see if it's coming from twitter, facebook or other sources. On top of that, google realtime also gives you a graph of the recent 24 hours and the flux in the posts that match your search.
Find google realtime here
If you are looking for something interesting to post in a specific area, you could easily use googles realtime feature. You might also find it useful if you are trying to find fans, friends or connections.
Google Adwords Sktool
Google Adwords Sktool is a powerful tool that is like the great uncle of google's insight tool. It's not really all that complicated, and it offers hundreds of related search terms that are close to the ones you entered and then shows how many monthly visits each search term brings in.If you searched for hubpages on the sktool, you'll see that the term "hubpages" brings in at least 135,000 global monthly searches and 40,500 local monthly searches. For me, local is in America. You can change this setting for each country and language.
The sktool also offers a competition meter which will show you how much competition there is for each term. The term "hubpages" has almost no competition, while the term "Hot hubpages hubs" has close to the most competition. You also search by specific categories, adult terms or search phrases.
This tool is a bit slow and does take up some of your processing speed when you use it, but when you really need to find hot keywords, this is one of the best tools to use. There are more features available if you have an adwords account.
Take some time to explore the sktool. It'll be worth it.