How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

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By Adrian Cruce

Keyword research is crucial for search engine optimization because of how Google and other search engines work. Users perform searches using keywords and queries (search terms). Including relevant keywords in your content means search engines are more likely to show your page(s) when users perform searches that include them in their queries.

SEOs and marketers use various tools to find popular and relevant keywords, including Google Trends. Even though it is not a traditional keyword research tool, it is still indispensable for those who can leverage its features and capabilities.

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends is a free tool that analyzes the popularity of specific search queries on Google and YouTube. It can help you understand people’s search behavior in a particular season, location, or the past.

The data you can collect using its various features allows you to learn a lot about your target audience, what they search for, keyword seasonality, and which events trigger specific interests. Additionally, you can see the history and current status of the popularity of specific queries, which is an excellent indicator of what people are entering into the search bar.

Using Google Trends to Find Search Volume Trends

To see current search trends, type the keyword you want to learn about into the tool and hit enter. The results will include a graph that shows how popular it has been in the time frame selected and how it is trending.

The graph can tell you whether a keyword is becoming popular so you can find ways to integrate it into your content. If its popularity is trending upwards, you know people will be searching for it in the coming months or years so it would have a good return on the effort you put into creating content around it.

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Second, you can learn which keywords to avoid because of their waning popularity. Creating content around a keyword whose popularity is fading is not a good use of often limited marketing and SEO resources.

However, you should differentiate between trends and fads. Trends can be seasonal, in that a search query’s popularity might look like it’s falling, but you might find it always falls around the same time every year. That is a trend you can get behind. However, fads do not have seasonality; once their popularity fades, they are no longer worth looking into.

To know if you are looking at a trend or fad, expand the timeframe to about three years using the “Custom Time Range” options within the tool. Doing this gives you more data to work with and also makes seeing trends easier.

Find Related Keywords

Google Trends also allows you to discover new, trending keywords. Once you perform a search inside the tool, scroll down to the section labeled “Related Queries”. Here, Google lists keywords they deem closely related to what you searched for.

Because these are trending search queries, Google will also show you the percentage increase in their search volume from the last period they did their measurements.

This feature works best if you combine it with the country featured. Selecting the country you want to rank in provides you with keywords relevant to it and that are in its language. The worldwide filter might not give you the desired results unless you are doing international SEO.

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Find Breakout Keywords

This feature is related to the one discussed in the prior section. Instead of showing you a percentage increase in search volume, Google sometimes replaces this metric with the word “Breakout”. The search engine says these keywords have had a higher-than-normal increase in traffic volume.

Why? Because they are typically new and, therefore, only had a few searches before Google started measuring them. Importantly, these keywords have little competition and thus can result in stellar results if you are the first to create content around them.

If you rank high and the keyword takes off, you will be in a great position because you will already be ranking for it.

Even though these keywords can bring tremendous results, there is the downside of them being fads. Although you should not create a marketing campaign around them, you can still benefit from the traffic they bring for a few months to a year before they fall off.

Use Related Topics Alongside Related Queries

Google Trends also has a “Related Topics” section beside their related queries section. This section is very useful if you want to create a new topic cluster on your website. So, how do you use it for keyword research?

Start by clicking the button labeled “Rising” and click “Top”. This will surface topics related to the keyword or search query you are researching. Once you have the topic, search for it on Google Trends.

Then, scroll down to the “Related Queries” section, switch to “Top” and discover the keywords related closely to that topic.

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Doing the above helps you find the best 25 topics related to your initial or seed keyword and 25 queries related to each if you decide to search them all. You can then use these clusters to create a content marketing strategy that gives you complete topic coverage and authority that have been shown to help websites rank better.

Use Google Trends for YouTube Keyword Research

YouTube has become an essential part of digital marketing, especially since it is the second-largest search engine behind Google. That said, many people do not realize Google Trends can also help with YouTube keyword research.

As with keyword research for other content, it starts with the main or seed keyword. Next, scroll below the search term and above the interest graph to find a dropdown that says “web search”. Switch it to “YouTube Search” and you will have data for the video-hosting platform.

You can then use the other tips we have discussed above for keyword discovery and research to find trending, new, popular, or related keywords you can create videos around.

Google Trends is a powerful tool with amazing capabilities that can make keyword research and discovery much easier. It helps you stay on top of what is happening in the world and your industry so you can see where interests are developing or falling off to strategize better.