June 16th, 2008
Tips, Tools and Tutorials
Google has a tool called "Google Trends" in their arsenal of gadgets that allows you to view relative search volumes and seasonal trends between two or more keyword phrases. Why is this useful? Because we can use trends to help guide our paid and organic search marketing campaigns. Last week, Tech Crunch posed the question wondering if Google could predict the 2008 Presidential election. Not a bad idea, I thought, and dug a little deeper on the subject. Google Trends will let you pull up search volume data for broad keyword terms – so that means the tool will return results for broad keywords that are one, two or possibly three words long that have a certain amount of search volume. This is great because we can compare two or more keyword phrases side by side to find trends that we otherwise would have to wait and dig up from our analytics data over time.
Take the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination in which Obama won over Clinton:
By looking at the above line chart, it’s pretty clear that Google captured more search traffic for "Obama" than it did for "Clinton" since the start of this year (2008) – and we know Obama eventually won out. When you think about it, Google captures a portion of the world’s search traffic (Google Trends also allows you to drill down to United States only search traffic) and their sample size is a good bet at being fairly accurate, seeing that they own around 66% of the U.S. market share. So Google Trends to me sounds like it is able to make predictions with a certain degree of accuracy. The wheels are turning now. Could we start to see Google predict other things as well? Now let’s look at Obama vs Mccain:
From this data, it seems the race between Obama and Mccain is not as close as the Obama, Clinton match-up. For kicks you may want to watch these numbers until the election in November and I’ll probably do a follow up post to review my personal prediction based on Google’s numbers. Based on this data, Obama appears the winner.
A lot of the time you can determine which keywords you will want to utilize for your PPC campaigns and which keyword you will want to market your site with organically by looking at seasonal search vs steady search traffic volumes. For example, on Google trends you can search for yearly events like "xmas gifts" that you think might yield seasonal trends: As you might expect, people search for xmas gifts around christmas time. But notice how each year the search volume of people looking for xmas gifts keeps growing. Ever thought about turning on a few Adsense ads during that time? Digging a little deeper on the gift subject I’ve decided to compare search trends for "xmas gifts", "wedding gifts", "personalized gifts" and "romantic gifts" to see if we can see any seasonal vs steady traffic trends:
"Xmas gifts" pales in comparison to the relative spike in "personalized gifts" so you may want to think about including the latter search term into your PPC campaign. Looking at the xmas trend, you could begin your PPC campaign early on while the curve is still relatively flat to test the market and snap up customers before advertiser volume and click price becomes too much. And since "personalized gifts" has a pretty large search volume throughout the year, a steady organic campaign might not be a bad investment. We can also see, and I laughed at this, people tend to get married during the middle of the year or at least they are searching for "wedding gifts" at that time – again now you can see during what times of the year you’re going to want to invest into paid search when it comes to wedding gifts. Another interesting point is the "romantic gifts" in green: people search for romantic gift ideas during the xmas period and Valentines day. I knew Valentines day was a big one but didn’t realize romantic gifts were that popular around the new year – and that’s what this tool is nice for, finding those otherwise hidden trends. Notice there is also a steady volume during the rest of the year, again probably not a bad organic search marketing investment.
I was a bit surprised when I found Google trends now displaying the top 100 fastest growing or "hottest" search terms for the a given day. Google defines "hot" as keywords that "experience sudden surges in popularity… and displays those searches that deviate the most from their historic traffic pattern". You can even see search traffic by hour! You might be able to look at the hot trends and see what other people find exciting at the moment, then write a quick blog post that caters to the interest at hand to generate a bit of search traffic in your direction. I know that Google has a feature within their search engine that allows new website pages to rank very quickly if the indexed information is relevant and seems valuable to searchers – Google calls this feature Query Deserves Freshness.
I’d like to see the tool:
If anything, know that Google Trends in combination with Google’s Traffic Estimator can be used to find out which keywords are better suited for PPC vs Organic search campaigns. Google uses time as a factor in addition to relative search volumes to give you seasonal/steady search traffic trends but also gives you a tool to drill down and see broad match, phrase match and exact matching keyword data. Your PPC campaign can take advantage of seasonal keyword trends while steady traffic would be at least be a good candidate for organic search marketing.
• 10 years ago
Biggest hurdle is to figure out terms for which you want to compare the trends. In some cases, this might be easy to figure out term but sometime we don’t know what we are missing. Some thoughts on this in my post - http://infosysblogs.com/multi-channel-retailing/2008/09/next_generation_seo_trends_1.html#more
• 10 years ago
Wish if they offer exact match figures