Google Trends

Last month we published the third and final instalment of a three-part series giving tips on how to up your website's ranking in Google. But Google keeps coming out with new tricks, so we've decided to make it a four-part Google series. Heck, it might become a regular Internetrix newsletter column. This month's focus: Google Trends.

Google Trends is another free service that shows you online interest on any topic or keyword. All you have to do is go to the Google Trends website and enter a word. A graph then instantly pops up displaying, since 2004, how often the term is searched.

Trends also shows you how many times the search term has been associated to a Google News story. When it detects an increase in the volume of news stories for a particular term, it labels the graph and shows a news story headline that was posted around the time of the spike.

What's even cooler is that Google Trends lets you compare the frequency of terms being searched against one another. In the search box simply type your terms separated by a comma (For example: socks, shoes, slippers). When the search results pop up, the graph displays multiple coloured lines representing each term.

Let's try an example. "Web content management" was most searched by people in Bangalore, India. Searching for the term stabilised over time, as back in early 2004 searches for the term had higher peaks and lower valleys. Mid-way through 2004, a Google News headline read "Evaluations of Web Content Management Markets".

Ok great. But what's so exciting about this tool? For those of you have yet to figure it out, Google Trends opens up a world of marketing implications and opportunities. Google is essentially giving away unfiltered access to the interests of millions of people around the globe. As one newspaper put it, 'with a few clicks the world is your focus group'.

Want to hone your Google Adwords campaign? Plunk in a number of keywords into Trends to see which ones people are searching for. With that knowledge, your Adwords campaign will receive more hits and you'll be paying for words that people in your target market are actually searching for. If you're not using Adwords, you can compare your company's brand with the competition or just find out how interested people are in various topics.

Still in its early stages of development, Google Trends obviously already helps you spot trends. In the near future, it may just evolve into a tool with some magical predictive characteristics

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