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Use Google Trends to optimise your keywords

Updated on June 19, 2013

Do you know what keywords people are searching for to reach your website or hub? Google Trends can provide insight into what users are looking for – this wealth of information can be applied when entering keywords to your website or hub.

Understanding what people are searching for is essential. Google Trends (GT) can analyse a search term to specify where and when its popularity has been at its highest or is likely to be in the future. You can even compare up to five keywords at once and receive suggestions on the most popular search variations of those words.

Why use 'GT'?

  • To analyse crowd behaviour – news events (predict Oscars – example below), seasonal terms (valentines, egg or Easter/Christmas – example below)
  • To compare searches for companies or competitors
  • To decide on a title and keywords: compare words over time and measure popularity (should you refer to 'handcrafted' or handmade'? which term are people searching for?)
  • To find out which regions use a particular word – where is your target audience based?
  • To forecast where the trend will go
  • To find 'hot searches' - see what is most searched for right now

Can 'GT' predict the outcome of the Oscars?

Let’s try to predict who will win the best leading actor for this year’s Oscars by using GT. The nominees this year are Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington. Five terms are the maximum number to be compared so we are lucky that there are only five nominees! After entering the search terms to the left of the screen – the results look like this graph below:

As you can see above, Denzel (highlighted in purple) is in the lead followed by Bradley (blue), Hugh (yellow), Joaquin (green) and Daniel (red). In mid-January there were peaks in searches for most actors – this correlates with the date that the Oscar nominations were released to the public.

To find out where most of the searches originated, GT provides a world map to geographically locate the highest search volume. The darker shades indicate a higher rate. From looking at the maps it is surprising that Brazil has a high search rate for Daniel Day-Lewis. Hugh Jackman has attracted a high search rate in Australia but this is perhaps not as unexpected as this is his homecountry.

I wanted to find out why the searches for Denzel Washington have shot up recently so I analysed the related terms section which revealed that the terms ‘denzel washington daughter’ and ‘olivia washington’ had reached ‘breakout’ status, as you can see below. News reports had been issued from the Golden Globes where he had attended with his daughter - I believe this is what caused the increase in searches.

How to use the search bar effectively

  1. Search for exact phrases by using "quotation marks"
  2. Skip words like 'and' 'on' 'up' and use + signs
  3. When you use more than one word for your search, put the most important words first
  4. Expand your search by searching for one word or another. Insert the word OR in capitals between two words

If the Oscars were down to a public vote then GT might have provided a glimpse of the result but in this instance it provides an indication of public interest. This is unlikely to influence the judges decision so these graphs will not accurately predict the result on this occasion - but maybe there is a possibility?

What about seasonal keywords?

If GT is a measurement of public interest then surely it can accurately show the difference in seasonal terms? Below is a comparison of two plainly seasonal words such as ‘Christmas’ and ‘Easter’ which show peaks in April and December, while they both flat-line during the summer months. It is interesting to spot that searches for Christmas start in September/October time, shoot up in November and drop quickly in January. The timeline is a good indicator of when people start searching for these terms and when you are likely to receive more 'hits' for these seasonal topics.

So how can ´GT´ help choose keywords?

GT can help you measure interest for certain keywords over time.

The related terms section is where you can find popular combinations associated with your search term. It is a very useful tool if you want to decide on which combination of a term has received high search results - this can help you input the right keywords. For example the top search combination for 'christmas' is 'christmas tree' so if you run a blog you might want to write an article on 'buying the right christmas tree'.

You can benefit hugely from higher search results just by carrying out some research on Google Trends for keywords!

Note: I would recommend logging into your Google account before using GT as this will enable you to search on an unlimited basis. If you visit GT as a "guest", then you will be allowed a limited number of searches.

Google Trends 'How To' Clip


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    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 4 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Cool! Voting up, this is great information!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Awesome Awesome Awesome article that's about to be shared in a huge way! This info is for anyone who's wanting to increase views and get ideas on topics. I commend you for a well-written and informative article Louise! Votes, shares, and the nine yards across!

    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Rajan, thank you and I'm very glad that you found it helpful !

    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Many thanks for your comment Sujina :)

    • Sujina profile image

      Sujina 5 years ago

      GT is a new info for me. Thanks a lot for this useful hub.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I have hardly used GT but now will try to use it more. Thanks for this useful lesson.

      Voted up.

    • Louise Lately profile image

      Louise Lately 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for commenting peachpurple. I'm very happy that you found it useful - if you have any further questions about Google Trends just let me know.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i did try using goggle trends but not familiar with the steps. Thanks to yr hub, i know how to use it now. Voted useful

    • critic thinking profile image

      Fernando Mateo 5 years ago from Barcelona

      I have been playing a few days with GT too but I have to find the way to use it to improve my keywords, I will keep your hub at hand :)