If you want to drive traffic or conversions, identifying trends can be a daunting task for many content marketers and business owners.
Google Trends can help you identify the most popular search terms related to your brand or product, but it’s not always easy to interpret what those results mean.
In this post, we will show you how to use Google Trends to find out which keywords are trending in your niche and how to use that information to improve your SEO strategy.
What we will cover
1. Identifying Trends in Your Niche
The first thing you should do when using Google Trends is to check whether the topic you want to research has already peaked or declined. If the keyword you are researching is still growing in popularity, then it means that people are actively looking for more information about your topic.
If the trend shows that the keyword you are researching has declined, you know that people have moved on to other topics. This could indicate that your current marketing efforts aren’t working, so you need to change your approach.
2. Identifying Real-time Trends
Google Trends has recently introduced a brand-new feature that allows users to access real-time trends directly on the homepage! This means that you can stay on top of the most popular searches happening every hour, giving you a sense of what’s hot and trending in the digital world.
Whether you’re interested in the latest breaking news, celebrity gossip, or just want to keep your finger on the pulse of the internet, Google Trends has got you covered.
But that’s not all – along with the real-time trends, you’ll also find links to relevant news articles, search volume data, and related keywords that people are using to search for the trend.
This means that not only can you stay up-to-date with the latest buzz, but you can also use this information to potentially drive more traffic to your website.
3. Leveraging Peak Seasons
Another great way to use Google Trends (if you want more traffic or conversions) is to look at seasonal trends. For example, if you sell Christmas decorations, you can use Google Trends to increase your traffic and conversion in the holiday season.
By noticing recurring seasonal search terms, you can meet your audience’s expectations by creating pieces of content about the hottest holiday gift ideas, or even writing a blog post about the best ways to spend your money during the holidays.
Such insights allow you to create new campaigns and promotions that align with the seasons you’re targeting in your niche.
Pro tip: Identifying seasonal trends will give you room to curate a robust content calendar for your SEO strategy, as you’ll be able to schedule your posts ahead of time and even go on vacation during the holiday season, for example.
4. Finding Niche Topics By Regions, Sub Regions, and Cities
Not everyone in your audience is the same. (Otherwise, segmentation wouldn’t make sense.) By filtering your audience by region on Google Trends, you can make the most of your niche topics by giving them to the right subset of your audience.
For example, if you run a blog about a topic such as physical fitness, there’s a lot of opportunity in targeting audiences located in Denmark and Switzerland.
Pro tip: There’s an option to choose physical fitness as a search term or as a topic, we’ll opt for choosing the term as a topic because it includes variations and misspellings that your audience uses to find your topic.
Pro tip: You can use Google Trends to compare up to five regions, subregions, or cities. This is essentially pivotal if you don’t want to waste extra cash targeting areas that aren’t interested in what you offer.
For instance, you can choose to target the top-ranking cities in Denmark and Switzerland instead of casting a wide net on both of these countries.
In this case, for physical fitness as a topic, you might want to focus on Münchwilen as well as Ålsgårde, Frederiksberg, and Esbjerg. (Since these are indexed with the highest normalized search interest valued at 100, 100, 98, and 95 respectively.)
5. Comparing the Popularity of Different Topics within Your Niche
Google Trends helps you compare the search interest between different topics with your niche. The reason why you need to compare your topics is that you’ll find that some topics are more interesting for your audience than others.
For instance, let’s say you want to target topics within the niche of physical fitness. Perhaps you’re not sure about whether you should start with articles on creatine supplements, different types of healthy diets, or the best High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts you can do.
So let’s go to Google Trends to find out which of these topics could garner more search interest from your audience in Switzerland.
From the graph, we know that topics like healthy diets and HIIT are stable topics that we can target, with HIIT gaining significant traction during the time of the quarantine in 2020.
So you can now make a side note that you can carry out further research to confirm if your audience in Switzerland would be specifically interested in home HIIT workouts, for example.
Pro tip: Now creatine supplement as a topic is indexed with a normalized interest valued at 0. But that doesn’t mean you should exclude the topic altogether right away; it just means that your audience in Switzerland isn’t interested in this topic. However, always keep in mind that another region can be.
This piece of information is beneficial for you if you’re adjusting your website’s content based on the interests of every region you’re targeting.
To identify that, you want to do research on creatine supplements worldwide and look at the top regions that would be interested in that topic. Only then, you can determine whether you still want to target this topic or exclude it from your SEO strategy altogether.
6. Identifying The Search Intent
Imagine writing lengthy blog posts to explain every position of your HIIT workouts when your audience is looking for videos with chapters and timers.
You might call this the format of your content; you might call it the angle itself, call it what you want. But your ultimate goal should always be to fulfill your audience’s expectations.
This is what we call the searcher intent. After all, if your searchers are looking for home HIIT workouts, most probably, they don’t have time to go to a gym. And if they don’t have time to go to the gym, they also don’t have time to read lengthy descriptions.
To make sure that you’re not leaving any detail up to assumptions, let’s see your audience’s search interest for HIIT workouts in Switzerland.
In this case, we’ll compare web search and YouTube search from 2008 (since this is the earliest time YouTube search interest appeared for this topic in Switzerland) to our present (August 8, 2022).
Note: Bear in mind that the Web search still includes different formats of content other than written content.
With the YouTube search, we see spikes happening with an overall upward trend ever since the time of the quarantine, hitting its peak in February and March 2021 and then forming more of a stable upward trend.
This tells us that there has been a stable increase in YouTube search interest (compared with the interest during preceding time frames) as more people in Switzerland started to move toward HIIT workouts during the global pandemic.
With the Web search, we see that HIIT workouts peaked in April 2020 and then started to go slightly downward, forming a kind of a stable trend that’s slightly going upward when compared with the previous search interest (i.e., the time range preceding the peak itself).
Combining these two findings, we can add a side note that we need to verify if it’s the case that our audience is using the Web search to find a piece of content that incorporates videos rather than blog posts that rely solely on words. After all, maybe they’re looking for websites that provide both types of content for accessibility purposes.
To confirm your findings, you can use a keyword research tool to identify the intent underlying your audience’s search behavior. That said, if you don’t have any keyword tools at your disposal, you can simply look at the top-ranking search results on Google for HIIT workouts.
Knowing what shows up to your audience will give you a direction on the best way for you to cover HIIT workouts for your audience across different regions in the right time periods.
7. Discovering New Opportunities
This is slightly similar to finding niche topics and popular terms by region.
But what we want to tackle here is finding related topics that you can cover in your niche as a way of adding new ideas or even expanding your niche to cover search trends that can still match the search behavior of your audience.
To discover new opportunities related to HIIT workouts, let’s take a look at related topics and queries within the Web search and YouTube search in Switzerland.
Looking at the two lists, all the rising queries that we see on the first page are indexed at a normalized search interest valued at over 5000%. That’s what we call a “breakout.” Breakouts usually happen when the topic is still new and amassing a tremendous increase in search interest.
Note: The difference between related topics and related queries is that the former focuses on terms that are indexed as topics, whereas the latter presents the terms indexed as search terms (i.e., as you’ve spelled them verbatim).
Now since you’re trying to discover new opportunities to target in your content plan, you can make a note of different topics that you leverage to expand your niche. For example, we can take street workouts as a potential topic. We also see our audience in Switzerland is interested in aerobic exercise and Tabata.
Also, if you take a closer look, you’ll see a name of a YouTuber (“Pamela Reif”) listed as someone who’s reached a breakout in the search interest for our audience in Switzerland.
In cases like this, you should make note of others’ names within the industry since most probably they’re competing for the same spot you’re competing for.
Pro tip: You can drive more traffic to your blog by adding the home version of Pamela Reif’s most advanced gym exercises!
8. Detecting Temporarily Popular Topics
The last thing you’d want to do in your business is to give your all to a certain topic and then realize it was just a fling for your audience. To avoid this, let’s go to Google Trends again to determine whether or not a certain topic (or sub-topic) is just a passing interest.
For this example, let’s return to our primary topic “Physical Fitness,” but this time, let’s see the trends in Vietnam on YouTube search. (In case we wanted to see if we could target them as a demographic.)
From the graph, it’s obvious that physical fitness as a topic peaked as a search interest in Vietnam in January 2008, but then, we can see that this interest significantly declined over the years till it flattened out.
Whenever you see a spike that doesn’t last or regain its traction over a long period of time, it’s a sign of a temporarily popular topic (which can either be specific to a certain demographic or extend worldwide).
The Bottom Line: Making the Most of Google Trends
Used correctly, Google Trends can transform the course of your business and set it up for continued success. Now, it’s time for you to put everything you’ve learned so far into action so that you nail your niche and provide the value that your audience is waiting for.
Here are the steps you want to test in your niche with Google Trends:
1. Identify search popularity within your niche.
2. Leverage seasonal search terms and topics.
3. Find niche topics according to regions, sub-regions, and cities.
4. Compare trending searches to discover what’s popular.
5. Identify the search interest.
6. Discover new topics and sub-topics.
7. Detect temporarily popular topics.
Once you’re done with these steps, you’ll gain more clarity about what your audience is expecting from you and how you can deliver the value that can set you apart from the competition.