How to Use Google Trends For Market Research.

As a marketer, one of the “golden” moments you can ever have is spotting a niche that is popular in it’s early stages where most of the competition is still unaware of it. I have had several moments like that happen to me and by taking advantage of it, I was able to make a lot of money in short time. Most of the times that I did spot these opportunities were thanks to Google Trends which if you know how to use, you can spot these same opportunities every single day.

What exactly is Google Trends? 

It is a website created by Google that monitors hot topics happening around the world that are also being searched online. When a topic, be it a news story or YouTube video gets a certain amount of hits in a day, it becomes a hot trend. They also get categorized according to their subject and are displayed in line graphs. 

Every single day something new happens and if it’s popular enough, Google finds it. For example, in the U.S, there is a major political race for presidency going on so now that this is happening, many people are searching online for what one candidate said, what types of positions they have, whose leading in the polls, ect…

These topics are searched by thousands of people and it is recorded so if you visit Google trends now, you’ll probably see a lot of political stories showing up. 

How can a marketer leverage this to make money?

Your goal as a marketer is to spot hot subjects that you can capitalize on and Google trends is the place to find many of them. If you have a niche site and find a hot topic on there (Google trends) that is related to it, you’d have a great opportunity to leverage traffic from that topic through things like SEO and PPC. This would allow you to get a lot more visitors and make a lot more money and the following you will read is how to spot the topics and leverage them:

I most often do this on my diet website by looking at which topics are trending. I will use this site as an example to illustrate how to use Google trends. 

Usually this place doesn’t report weight loss matters individually, so what I end up doing is just typing it (the word diet, or health, weight loss, basically something very broad). But also it’s VERY important that you look up a specific period (usually present) to make sure you get the most updated results. For example:

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The current screenshot records trends for the word “diet” that go all the way back to 2004. This line graph is almost perfect when it comes to showing how people look at dieting each year. For example, they focus on it less as the year ends and then refocus on it when it begins, every single year.

A marketer who sees this can accordingly target his ads and websites to advertise to people in “peak” periods like January where they would get the most traffic. 

However, because I try to find trending topics within dieting, I want to see what’s hot and that graph above doesn’t show me anything special. However, on that same screenshot, there is a portion of it I couldn’t fit into the image, but I did take another screenshot to show that other area and there you will see which topics within the word you typed (again diet) were the most popular:

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Now on this screenshot, we can see that from 2004 until 2016 the exact terms which were considered most popular and many of them happen to be diet plans. All you have to do is click on the word “rising” which I circled in red and you’ll see these names too. We have 4 diet plans on that list: Dukan diet, hcg diet, paleo and the gluten free diet. These will be the terms we will want to target. The rest are just broad search terms that don’t provide much help.

So as a marketer who has a diet site, I would then look into each of these diets and see which one is most popular to advertise, although the answer in the end would probably be all. Google trends will also show me this information. All I have to do is type them all separately into the search (the place where I originally typed the word diet):

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Now this is the type of graph that provides priceless information for marketers. We can examine how popular each diet was in which year and how it’s doing now. Before I explain that, let me explain how to read this chart…

Notice the number’s 20-100. These represent different points of popularity reached by the diet or whatever term I typed. It’s measured from 0-100 with 100 being the “peak” point. 

If you were a marketer looking to find which is the most popular diet in 2016 to focus on promoting, the answer would be the paleo diet. Look at it’s 2016 trend. It’s slightly above 40 points while the rest are all under 20. 

If you were doing a PPC campaign, you would be able to predict how much more traffic you’d get if you targeted the paleo diet for a promotion vs say a campaign on the gluten free diet (you would probably get a little over 2x as much traffic for the paleo diet).

You can also get a more precise number of traffic if you just look up keywords for the terms. Whenever I find hot topics on Google trends, the very next thing I always do is look it up on Jaaxy:

With the 4 topics, we have, these are the numbers of people who search them:

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These numbers closely match what Google trends showed me. I am not worried about anything other than the “avg” number being shown here and it represents monthly searches which there are a lot of for ALL of these diets. 

Back to the leveraging part…

  • I already have a diet website.
  • Using both Google trends and a keyword tool, I have found 4 very popular diet topics I can add to my website. 
  • With the stats you see above, through SEO and PPC, I could potentially leverage and add anywhere from several 1,000’s-100,000’s visitors to my site if I do things correctly. Those extra visitors can lead to more income.

How to do this with SEO: I start with one of the diets (say paleo), find the main keyword which gets the most traffic, then dig deeper to find a variation of that keyword that has low competition. Once I do, I will write a very long article on the diet and probably promote a book on it which I’m affiliated with. I will then do the exact same thing for the remaining 3 diet terms. 

How to do this with PPC: Take the very same article you write for SEO and just set up a PPC campaign for it. The only difference is that while the title or your article will target a low competition keyword (For the SEO part), when you set up the article to receive PPC visitors, the keywords you target will not have to have any low competition. You be able to target ANY terms you like, no matter how competitive they are. And if you also wrote articles for the other 3 terms, repeat the exact PPC steps for each of them. 

I will also add more examples of leveraging below…

 

Keep the following 2 notes in mind:

Note 1: Stats WILL always fluctuate (Both on Google trends and the keyword tool). In this case, the lowest searched term is “hcg diet” but if we look back at Google trends for just 2016, it’s more popular than the “dukan diet” which means those keyword stats I showed you above may change in a month if the topic remains just as popular. However, these things aren’t major because if you already found a popular topic, whether it fluctuates a little bit doesn’t matter as long as it remains popular, which it does for ALL 4 topics. 

Note 2: Some hot topics take awhile to be picked up by keyword tools so if you see a hot topic trending, but a keyword tool you’re using says there’s very little searches, don’t assume the keyword tool is right. In about a month, you will see more accurate stats, but do NOT wait a month to do anything with the hot trend. Act on it while it’s hot!

Which would you focus on most and why? 

When you stumble on 4 different topics that are all popular, which is very rare, you may wonder which one you should prioritize first. I would say the paleo diet because:

Let’s say you found out about these 4 topics in 2016. You would want to first look at how all of these diets trend this year so I would take the same search and select the current year. Then whichever one of the 4 is most popular, that’s the one you’ll target first:

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Paleo is obviously the most popular so that would be the first thing I would target on my diet site (The way I explained through SEO/PPC) and honestly, the first graph I had above that showed the longer records of this comparison also clearly showed this, but sometimes you will get comparisons that are so close, it’ll be difficult to distinguish which is more popular.

What to do if you can’t find a hot trend…

Sometimes you’ll type in a basic key phrase and it won’t return anything like the diet example above. Sometimes it’ll just be graphs, but no terms, sometimes the opposite, sometimes nothing on both things.

This kind of thing usually happens with very specific terms such as names of programs or services. But this doesn’t mean that the term you were looking for isn’t good enough to target, it just means it’s not popular enough for Google, but it’s still worth researching. 

What you should do is not rely on Google trends in this case and look up the term on Jaaxy or another keyword tool. If you don’t have any of these, you should get one, but if you can’t, look it up on a regular Google search and see if there’s a lot of websites talking about it. 

To really show how this can happen, I want to use a different example of a niche topic like making money online because it’s often hard to find anything on Google trends for it vs something like dieting.

Yesterday I wrote an article on a program called Online Cash Source. Looking at the trends, here is what you’ll see:

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Or sometimes you’ll do a search like “make money online” and get a BIG line graph show up (in fact, it’s rising since 2004), but if you look at the same area underneath it where I originally found the list of diets, this is what you may also see:

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These terms really don’t help me out if I’m looking for make money online programs or trending topics. They are just basic terms I can’t really leverage. And this is when I selected “top”. When I selected “rising”…

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That message appeared. It is common to see this happen but should you ever run into this situation, just further explore the topic or keyword you were looking up through keyword tools (such as Jaaxy again) and this is why: 

Online Cash Source. Google trends didn’t say anything about it, but a keyword tool search showed that it was popular, thus if I were a blogger or making ads, it would make sense for me to cover this topic:

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More examples of utilizing Google trends to market of big events:

There’s 4 things that can likely happen if you’re a niche marketer:

A) You can, again, have an SEO website dedicated to a certain niche. In these cases, while you’re writing content, looking for hot trends related to your niche site is very important and I’ve already shown you how to do that above with the dieting example, but let’s try another completely different niche topic…

Example of A: You own a website that sells football accessories to kids. And hot trends may include the play off season, fantasy football topics, the Super Bowl and other things that will trend. You can cover each of those topics separately each year to target the relevant keywords (ex: Super Bowl 2016):

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B) You might not have any particular SEO site, but look for hot markets and when you find them, you make a website, but the main source of traffic generation you use is PPC. Here is a case study of a successful example.

Example of B: You still have the football site for kids and every year, one event, the Super Bowl trends. If you know marketing as well as football, you can leverage the popularity of this event by targeting Super Bowl audiences and selling them things like jerseys, the competing team’s gears and any other accessories that make sense to sell to this crowd ALL through PPC and for every single product, you would create a different PPC ad and keep it as relevant as possible to avoid paying too much.

C) You might have a YouTube channel and a hot new trend breaks out that you can do a video on. If your YouTube channel is also niche oriented, kind of like an SEO site (say you do videos on video games) and you spot a hot trend like a new release pops up, it would be great for you to make a video covering it.

Example of C: You make videos on YouTube and can cover each new popular topic when it comes out. I’d prefer you link back all videos to your SEO website if you have it since it’ll boost it’s rankings. 

D) You can do all 4 things. 

Example of D: Have a niche site, a rising trend appears, so you cover it by writing a post on it, targeting a low competition keyword for SEO, then immediately after finishing it, do PPC to send traffic to the post, and also create a YouTube video which can link to the post as well. 

ALL of these strategies can be used separately or together (this is better) on a single page website or a major niche site (it’s better to have this vs a 1 page website).

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My final thoughts:

For most if not all niches, you will be able to find at least one or multiple hot topics through Google Trends. Do not put all your focus on only researching through this approach because it won’t be able to show you everything in every niche (as the example of Online Cash Source above showed), but you should check up on it regularly and it will depend on how often the niche you have has popular topics. Here’s other ways you can find hot topics.

If it’s something like sports, celebrity news, politics (this year at least), fashion trends and health, you’ll probably find a lot of popular topics within each of these things so if you own a blog that covers one of those things, you should look at Google trends more often. People like me who own blogs like this one probably won’t find as many popular topics but I still do check for them, just not as often!

Do you have a Google trends strategy that works for you that you’d like to share?

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5 Comments

  1. Eddy

    Hey! Very insightful article. I kind of knew how it all works but definitely needed more information. Never really knew I could pair Google Trends with Keyword search together. Thank you so much. And also, it shows when the words are being used more often. That is so good to know.

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Eddy, in many cases, Google trends will show you the either the topic and/or the keyword that is associated with the topic, but generally if you do SEO, both of those pieces of information are going to be very broad so you will need to narrow down the keyword and the topic through keyword research if you hope to get ranked high for it. But again, if it’s for PPC, you won’t need to go through all of that.

  2. Hannah

    I always knew that Google trends was used for niche research. Although was was never quite sure on how to actually use it.

    I found this article very easy to follow and packed with useful information. I will feel a lot more confident doing my niche research using Google trends. I can definitely see how this tool can come in so handy!

    Great job on this post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
    Hannah,

  3. Jovo

    Hi, this is a very thorough analysis on how to use Google Trends. I know about it and do check it from time to time but I realize after reading the text that I am not using all advantages of it.

    When you jump on hot topics, I guess this also implies a string competition. So how do you deal with it? Thank you.

    • Vitaliy

      The earlier you jump on the hot niche, the more time you’ll have before the competition catches up. They eventually will and you should expect it.

      The hottest niche I ever found was actually popular a month before I stumbled onto it and despite that I was technically late, I still had a few golden months available with little competition where I made most of the money from it. But even when it did get competitive, I was still making a lot of sales.

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