If you haven’t been using Google Trends to help with your business, you’re missing out. It does more than just tell you what the latest hot searches are. Under the Explore menu, you’re able to analyze search terms of your choice, found out when they were popular, where they came from, and what search phrases they appear in.
This can be incredibly useful in conjunction with other analytics that tell you how google searches drive traffic to your site: you can find out if certain events drive searches, how better to optimize your content to pick up on broader search trends, and the like. But Google’s analysis of its own search trends doesn’t stop there.
Just a few days ago, Google released a new way to track search trends. Called Top Charts, it appears to be a simple tool: it tells you the search trends for given topics from actors to whiskey. It’s a pretty simple idea that has pretty powerful implications. Like their knowledge graph that shows up on the side of many of their searches, Google has been working not just to provide us with webpages that have the words we want, but also with the actual knowledge we’re searching for.
Built on similar technology, Top Charts is another of attempt by Google to really understand the web. It’s actually a non-trivial and pretty difficult problem for Google’s computers to realize that LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are both athletes. And before Top Search, it was a very difficult problem for a user to try and figure out which athletes were getting the most Google buzz.
This new way of understanding search behavior can be really helpful for your business. Let’s say you have a website that does car reviews. Traditional keyword research is really hard. Previously, to understand what kind of cars people are searching for, you’d have to go through an entire list of cars and do some careful analysis to figure out what’s hot and what’s up-and-coming. With Top Charts, I can see at a glance that the Ford Mustang was the most searched for car in July, followed by the Ford F-Series.
This allows me to tailor my content so that my website is providing the information that people are actually searching for. Using other Google Trends tools, I can narrowly tailor my content so that it’s on the radar and make sure that my reviews stay current and relevant to my audience. Otherwise, it’s hard to know what’s really going on in a given industry.
Right now, there are only 40 categories that Google tracks, but we can expect more as the concept grows and takes off. Along with Facebook’s Social Graph, though, these new more powerful ways of searching will help businesses better identify who their customers are and what they really want. And even if it’s not immediately helpful to you, it sure is interesting to learn that Bulldogs narrowly beat out Labrador Retrievers in the great dog breed search battle.