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Google Trends – A Useful Blogging Tool

One of the new tools released by Google yesterday was Google Trends which opens up their Zeitgeist service to enable users to graph the search trends for different keywords since January 2004.

I’m sure this will be a tool used by bloggers quite a bit as it will enable to them to track the topics they’re writing about and the buzz around them. For example a topic I’m following is Digital Cameras. Here’s it’s trend:

Digital Cameras

The ‘letters’ correspond with a key that gives you news items that might explain what was happening at certain times to cause spikes and troughs in the graph.

The tool also allows comparisons between related search terms. So in comparing Digital Cameras (blue) and Camera Phones (red) we find:

Digital-Camera-Camera-Phone

For interests sake we’ll throw in a non related search term – ‘Blog’ (in orange) to see how popular that is as a search term:

Digital-Camera-Phone-Blog

Applications for Bloggers with Google Trends:



Visual Aides - I’m pretty sure we’ll see these little graphs used within posts by bloggers quite a bit as they write posts about trends and compare everything from political parties to breakfast cereals (although there needs to be a certain level of searches for a term before it is tracked – ie there’s no graphs for terms like ‘problogger’ etc out there.

Blog Research Tool – The other application that immediately sprang to my mind on seeing this was how useful a tool it will be when starting a new blog and narrowing in on a niche (including which keywords to target). ie if I wanted to choose between a blog on skiing or surfing the graph reveals what level of interest people using Google have in each (skiiing is blue, surfing is red):

Skiing-Surfing

Obviously both are popular but skiing is more seasonal while surfing is pretty constant. This is useful information to know in setting up a blog.

Add ‘snowboarding’ (orange) into the mix and you see a less popular term – again useful to know if it was a choice between the terms.

Viz

Lastly if you’d narrowed your niche down to ‘skiing’ you can use this tool to help you think about which specific keywords might be popular. For example add the word, ‘skis’ (red), ‘slalom’ (orange) and ‘snow’ (green) and you find all kinds of interesting information:

Viz-2

Found via Inside Google.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. L says:

    Hmm, this tells me that it’s not a good time for the next blog I had planned to start.

  2. brem says:

    Very interesting thanks Darren.

    L: it takes time to build up traffic. Better start now and be on top when the trend is back.

  3. L says:

    That is a good point and was a thought I considered. Thanks.

  4. What the heck is the Search Volume though? There’s no numerical value so do we assume its in the houndreds? thousands? millions?

  5. I don’t think we can really assume anything regarding the volume. If Google provided numerical search volume data, everyone would know the best keywords and thus harm Google’s adsense and adwords programs. As it is now, millions of people are paying billions of dollars for bad keywords simply because they don’t have this data.

    That’s my take at least.

  6. Jack says:

    nice and very useful tool. definately of great use to someone starting a new project.

    I have a question? does the decreasing graph of digital camera trend disturbs you Darren?

  7. Darren Rowse says:

    I wouldn’t say it disturbs me too much as the numbers of people searching are still in the many millions – but I guess it’s something I’m aware of an am monitering as I develop new blogs.

  8. Paul says:

    I’m not too surprised that there are no numerical values attached to the volumes. It is a trend analysis after all and given that alll search terms are assessed using the same tool, you can focus more on the really big spikes (try “Paris Hilton” as an example) compared to the small spikes and base your decision on that.

    This really is a brilliant service and I look forward to using it more often. Of course if you use Trends in conjunction with something like Technorati you could probably identify some of the more popular items all around.

    Thanks for the detailed review Darren.

  9. Sidonie says:

    You didn’t mention the further data this Trend feature allows: Region and Language. I’ve tried it already and found that it is based on a few newsy items cached by Google bot – hardly an accurate reflection of the real world. It’s just another bit of clutter to put on already cluttered blogs. Here’s a marketable idea – simplicity. Develop it and you’ll become rich and not just a pennyscraper from Adsense etc.

  10. Sney says:

    It reminds me of http://www.trendio.com a stock exchange on headline news where people can see trends in media and buy buzz-words.

  11. Joshua says:

    The overall search volume trends are certainly interesting when comparing between words/phrases. However, I’d hedge my bets that the real long-term value of this will be in “cities, regions, languages” at the bottom. An example; the top three search cities for “pottery” are Raleigh NC, Austin TX and Tampa FL. If you are starting a pottery blog, perhaps you want to focus a little more on those areas. Plus seeing where people search from often has unexpected restuls…who would guess that Salt Lake City would be first for “c.s. lewis” for all years (though now it isn’t even in the top-ten for 2006.)

  12. Alex says:

    I’m just very skeptical about Google’s claim to represent a statistically accurate version of reality. Their “zeitgeist” numbers, of course, are just a sanitized fantasy version of what people actually search for on the web, and the absence of any units on these new graphs just gives Google more ability to present whatever the hell they want to present and call it accurate.

    To take just one problem, how you could possibly compare search volume from 2004 to 2006 when the Internet is expanding so rapidly? Is it supposed to be volume as a percentage of total traffic — and if so, does that “total” include all the actual traffic to adult sites that Google chooses to ignore in its zeitgeist reports? Or does “volume” simply a numerical measurement of how many searches were carried out? Or what? It’s impossible to tell, and Google likes it that way. It gives the appearance of useful data — and it may indeed be useful in many ways — but it doesn’t even begin to describe the “world” of searching accurately.

  13. Eric says:

    I think several people here are missing the point – the graphs allow you to see the relationship between different keywords/phrases. No, they do not have absolute numbers – but do you really need to know the absolute numbers when doing analysis/comparing keywords. If you are really concerned about absolute volume – put in an obvious “high volume” term like “britney spears” (of course you can see the decline in interest also). Run the tool on “blog” – that is an interesting graph.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Google just released a new tool based on their Zeitgeist service. Using Google Trends you can actually look at different search trends since January 2004. This seems to be a very handy tool. For a review of Google Trends, take a look at this article at Problogger. [...]

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  4. [...] I was reading ProBlogger’s article today on Google Trends for keywords since 2004. It was pretty interesting to see what sort of trends have developed over the past 2 years. Of course what you search for would probably be in very general terms – because searching for something specific – doesn’t seem to work so well. They give examples of what you could search through – and you can compare trends for various keywords. [...]

  5. [...] Nick Wilson on Performancing.com asked the other day when is a blog not a blog. I responded “guilty as charged”, in regards to some of the non-blogs I have posing as blogs. A few days reflection brought me to the conclusion that the reason I am working on so many different weblog projects half-assed is that I’m afraid to commit to a single topic. And I still haven’t decided what that is. I haven’t been blogging “professionally” long enough, and more importantly, lucratively enough to make a decision yet. If you’re in the same boat as far as writing online goes, Darren Rowse and Steve Rubel point out a tool that may help your writing in a number of ways. [...]