Google Trends: 5 Ways to Improve Your Content Strategy
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Google Trends is a free tool that analyses current data to assess the popularity of Google search terms.

It shows users what people are looking for as it relates to time, place, and season. After that, you may use that data to guide your marketing plan.

Here’s what it looks like:

Google Trends graph comparing "Football" vs. "American Football"

This post will explain how to use Google Trends and provide 5 useful ways for it in your content strategy:

Let’s dive in.

How to Use Google Trends

Instead of measuring keyword search volume, Google Trends assesses keyword popularity.

Google defines it as follows: “To assess relative popularity, each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and period it represents.”

Enter a keyword into the search field or choose one of the suggested examples to start Google Trends from here.

Google Trends examples

Additionally, you may scroll down to view a general summary of the most current trends in your country.

Latest stories and insights in Google Trends

When using the search box, just type the term you want information about and press enter. Let’s begin by looking up “ps5”.

searching for PS5 in Google Trends

Select the “+ Compare” button next to your initial search term to compare two terms. If you compare search terms like “PS5” and “Xbox X,” the data looks like this:

PS5 vs. Xbox X search results in Google Trends

For a breakdown of the terms by subregion, scroll down:

PS5 vs. Xbox X by subregion in Google Trends

We can see a breakdown of each term’s popularity across all states.

5 Ways to Use Google Trends to Improve Content Strategy

Although Google Trends is a very straightforward tool, there are a variety of ways you can integrate it into your entire content strategy.

Here are five ways to improve and supplement your current content strategy using Google Trends:

1. Find Currently Trending Topics

Discovering hot topics may aid in content planning, the identification of interesting viewpoints, or even just brand relevancy.

Scroll down the Google Trends webpage to discover the global “recently trending” topics:

Google Trends recently trending examples

Let’s look at an example from the Semrush Facebook page:

Ryan Gosling meme

Would you like us to write a blog post on the upcoming Barbie live-action movie? No, it wouldn’t be relevant in the long run.

But will a funny meme on this hot topic go over well on social media? That is what we think.

2. Identify Seasonal Trends

A trend that recurs often, typically around a specific holiday, is referred to as a “seasonal trend.”

You may figure out when to start your next major holiday campaign by researching trending topics on Google Trends.

Imagine that you own a floral business. Around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, you undoubtedly see a consistent spike in sales—and searches.

Google Trends recently trending examples

Start by entering a keyword and pressing enter. “Flowers for Valentine’s Day” should be used.

Google Trends search

Next, modify the date range using the drop-down. The default is seven days, but you may choose from as recently as today to as far back as 2004.

change date range

To get reliable seasonal trend information, it is essential to go back at least a few years.

Example of a trend in Google Trends

The “Flowers for Valentine’s Day” website saw a spike in traffic from February 7 to February 13. You may plan the start of your marketing campaigns using that data.

You may investigate trends that are more difficult to forecast.

Let’s imagine you create content for a company that provides insurance. If you know when hurricane season normally occurs by looking back many years, you can plan your content and marketing campaigns accordingly.

You can determine if a trending topic is a seasonal trend or just a fad by looking back a few years. If a keyword’s traffic increases at the same time every year, it indicates a trend.

If not, it’s probably just a fad.

For example, consider the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” It received very little to no traffic before and during August 2014.

Ice bucket challenge fad

Since fads fade rapidly, developing long-term content or designing marketing campaigns around them may not be a productive use of time or money.

Plan Google Shopping Ads by Season

You can also use Google Trends data to schedule your Google Shopping ads.

Start by typing a keyword and toggling from “web search” to “Google shopping.” We decided on “wedding guest dresses” as our keyword.

keyword research for Google Shopping

View the results to see when interest peaks:

Interest over time for "wedding guest dresses"

In the spring and summer, interest rises, but in the autumn and winter, it falls.

Running shopping ads in January and February might offer you a jump start when things start to pick up again. Additionally, it would be safe to run ads all through the spring and summer.

3. Optimize Your Local SEO Strategy

You may view the keyword popularity worldwide or by country, subregion, metro area, or city using Google Trends.

This might aid in the improvement of your marketing campaigns and the identification of your target market.

Let’s use a simple example, like surfboards. People in the US’s landlocked regions are less likely to be interested in purchasing one.

We can observe that people in California and Hawaii are much more interested in surfboards than people in the other states when we toggle by subregion:

surfboard interest by subregion

Let’s narrow down our search to include only Hawaii to get even more information. We can now observe that interest in surfboards is steady year-round:

interest over time for "surfboards"

The remaining widgets use a similar strategy, only showing results for searches conducted in Hawaii:

queries related to "surfboards"

Even if you are already aware of where the majority of your customers reside, you can still use a local rank tracker to fine-tune your local SEO strategy by looking closely at their search patterns to find relevant search terms and topics.

Perform Local Keyword Research

If you operate a local business, you probably care more about what’s trending locally than what’s trending nationally or worldwide.

Look at what’s trending in your area to plan content that your customers will like.

Assume you are the owner of a car dealership in Chicago, Illinois. You might search for “honda dealership” and limit your results to only your city:

searching for "honda dealership" in chicago

Scroll down to the linked topics and searches, which now include Chicago residents:

Honda dealership related topics and queries

Only the search terms for specific dealerships and automobile manufacturers listed above are available for browsing. Review them to spot possible rivals and plan content.

Based on the linked questions, it might be a good idea to write blog entries comparing Kia, Toyota, Hyundai, and Ford vehicles to their Honda equivalents.

4. Monitor Your Competitors

To compare your brand to the competition, go back to the Google Trends comparison tool.

For this example, Netflix and Hulu will be used. To have a better understanding of their relative performances in this situation, it would probably be more useful to move the time frame back a few years.

As can be seen, the competition has stayed steady over the past five years, with Netflix easily holding the top spot.

Netflix vs. Hulu comparison

We can also notice that many of the traffic spikes for both brands occur at the same time, likely due to new releases or news stories from either brand.

Let’s examine the Hulu vs. HBO Max comparison, which shows a little more volatility:

Hulu vs. HBO Max

In May 2020, HBO Max, a more recent streaming service, debuted. You may have seen a minor increase in traffic as early as 2019, which was presumably when rumors first surfaced before the announcement.

Then, after its launch, HBO Max debuted with a significant increase and, in some instances, even exceeded Hulu.

To duplicate their success or modify your marketing strategy accordingly, if you worked for one of these companies, you could want to look at the shows that your rival published during their traffic spikes.

Using a market research tool like Market Explorer is one approach to keeping track of the trends of your competition. You may compare the trends of your business with those of your rivals.

In this case, we selected Netflix as the primary platform and Hulu and HBO Max as the rivals.

comparing brands in Market Explorer

When you click “Create and analyze,” you’ll be sent to a main page with a Trending Keywords widget.

Hover over different keywords to view the volume growth and the site where the keyword is trending.

Trending Keywords in Market Explorer

Toggle to “Top Keywords” to discover what keywords trended in the previous month:

Top Keywords in Market Explorer

Analyzing what’s trending on your rivals’ websites might help you understand what’s working for them and what could work for you.

We can notice several comedy shows and movies trending in the above graphic (as well as general categories like “comedy movies” and “funny movies”).

If you do not respond to trends, you may lose traffic or customers.

5. Optimize Your SEO Strategy

Let’s go through a few ways you might use Google Trends data to plan and create content.

Perform Keyword Research

Google Trends shows keyword data based on real-time search data, which other tools do not provide.

Plugging in keywords and seeing how they trend over time may be a useful approach to supplementing your keyword research.

Do you already have a list of keywords in mind? You can plug them into Google Trends to evaluate how they’ve performed over time and if they’re the best fit for your strategy.

However, keep in mind that Google Trends does not track keyword volume or difficulty.

You may even take it a step further by determining which popular keywords to target using the “Related Inquiries” area.

Assume you sell handbags. People often search for handbag brands, according to the top results for the keyword “purses”:

Related queries for "purses"

This data might assist you in choosing the keywords to optimize for in a blog post or even in naming the product categories.

You may contrast the results you get to discover which searches are more popular:

Steve Madden tote bag vs. Marc Jacobs tote bag

This shows that, although Steve Madden tote bags have had a significant spike in traffic lately, they may be a fad based on the data (more on that later).

Marc Jacob’s tote bags, on the other hand, seem to be gaining popularity.

Google Trends is a fantastic starting to find when looking for popular keywords, but you should run any keyword ideas you find through a more complete tool like Keyword Overview before writing content:

Marc Jacobs tote bag

Using the whole data, it can be determined that “Marc Jacobs tote bag” has a high search volume and a manageable keyword difficulty.

You may use the Keyword Magic Tool to find secondary keywords to employ in content or ad copy to round out the keyword research process.

It seems from the left column’s grouping of relevant keywords that people are interested in the “mini,” “leather,” and “black” versions of this bag.

researching "marc jacobs tote bag" in Keyword Magic Tools

Pro tip: When reviewing trending topics, keep search intent in mind. In the above example, the intent is predominantly transactional, implying that people are most likely seeking to purchase these shoes. As a result, rather than creating organic content, the most strategic approach would be to run ads.

Identify Related Topics

You may do related topic research in addition to relevant query research.

Use Star Wars as an example. Each topic has a percentage or the term “breakout” to the right of it.

Star Wars related topics

Breakout terms are “Rising,” whereas topics identified with percentage gains are “Top” trending topics. Breakout or growing topics have significantly increased from the previous time.

Here’s how Google scores them:

Google Trends trending topic scoring definitions

Finding any gaps will provide you with the opportunity to profit from popular terms.

Start by typing in general keywords to see what related topics appear. Are you currently writing about these topics in blogs or social media posts?

Here is an example of the related topics section for the term “women’s shoes.”

related topics for "womens shoes"

Athletic footwear is a hot topic right now. If you don’t carry athletic shoes or aren’t running ads for them, you may want to change your strategy.

Now let’s look at “earrings:”

related topics for "earrings"

Studs and rhinestones are two of the brands and trends that emerge.

This provides us with information about which rivals are succeeding as well as popular subjects we need to cover.

Build Topic Clusters

Tools for doing keyword research effectively include the “Related Topics” and “Related Queries” sections. However, they may also help in creating topic clusters.

Topic clusters are groups of relevant articles that are related to a single central topic.

When done correctly, topic clustering may build a solid internal linking structure and assist with rationally organizing your website for both users and search engines.

Consider that you run a business that sells running shoes. The phrase “marathon training” may be one of your topic pillars.

You may discover more focused interests within the general “marathon training” keyword by entering it into Google Trends.

related topics and queries for "marathon training"

Your topic cluster for marathon training could include several connected topics and keywords.

It seems like a good starting point for a blog post to include the keyword “half marathon training program for 10 weeks.”

Most of the other top results are specific marathons; some would warrant their explanatory pages, while “Grandma’s Marathon” and any other entertaining, lesser-known events might make for a terrific listicle.

Start constructing your topic clusters and filling up your content schedule with this information.

Improve Your YouTube Strategy

Popular YouTube topics are covered by Google Trends as well.

Change the default category to “YouTube Search” from “Web search.” Additionally, you may change the category to set the theme of your channel (in this example, we went with “Beauty & Fitness”).

Google Trends YouTube search

Start by looking at the keyword’s general trend. Are people still interested in this topic? It seems that interest in Pilates workouts is rising steadily.

interest in pilates over time

Scroll down to related topics and queries to find out what channels are now popular and what people are looking for:

related topics for "pilates"

Here, YouTube channels mostly cover related topics. Doing competition research at this time to find out what types of videos these well-known channels post would be popular.

You may get ideas for such videos by using the related queries. From the top five results, a few examples of video ideas are as follows:

  • 20-minute pilates workout
  • Pilates for weight loss
  • Pilates for buns and thighs

Validate Your Google Trends Research in Semrush

Google Trends is a useful keyword research tool that enables you to find topics that are popular everywhere, even in your own city.

This free tool has a lot to offer, whether you’re looking for keywords, researching your competitors, or even developing a local SEO strategy.

Looking to validate the data you find in Google Trends? To go further, use our Keyword Magic Tool.

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