How to Use Google Trends for SEO

Google Trends is mostly viewed as a fun tool which helps us get a glimpse into what’s going on in the world. Much like the trending function on Twitter, we can use it to find news updates, learn about scandals and keep an eye on cultural shifts.

But, if it’s used correctly, it can also be a really useful SEO tool.

We’re taking a look at how it works and how you can successfully use Google Trends for SEO purposes.


What is Google Trends?

Put simply, Google Trends is a tool which allows you to see search terms that trend on Google. It really is that straightforward! You can refine your searches by looking at particular topics, keywords, locations and timeframes.

The ‘Trending Searches page is a good place to start because it gives you an insight into what’s creating buzz online. In “Real Time Search Trends”, you can look at different categories, such as Entertainment, Health or Sci/Tech.

If we take an example from the UK, trends for the phrase “how do I update whatsapp” have exploded over the past few days because of recently emerged privacy concerns relating to the app.



Data privacy is a particularly hot topic at the moment, with many people losing trust in the digital giants such as Facebook as there are increasing concerns over who can access our information. When scandals like this happen, you will often see trending searches related to how to ensure digital safety.


Related: Data Privacy Scandals: Why We Don’t Care as Much as We Should


Google Trends is a great way to get an insight into how people respond to news stories and scandals. You can refine your search too, and take a look at what’s happening in your particular sector. If you are interested in particular trends in your industry, you can input your chosen search term and it will show you how people search over time.


Google Trends is just one of the many free marketing tools that Google has available for use. If you want some tips on how to get started with Google, feel free to drop us an email to see how we can help.


What can we learn from the failure of Google Flu Trends?

The potential of trends data has always been an exciting prospect for Google. Since their data collection is so vast, and gives us an insight into people’s behaviour, there is a chance that it could help us predict the future. And that’s exactly what they tried to do.

Google Flu Trends was a project which existed from 2008 to 2015. Its central aim was to use data regarding how people searched for flu-related terms to predict when an outbreak might happen. However, although successful for a short while, it was not able to accurately predict several flu epidemics and it’s data varied massively from that provided by the Centers for Disease Control. The plug was pulled on the project.

Perhaps Google Trends isn’t so useful for predicting the future. Particularly when it’s used for something as important as global public health issues. It’s safe to say that, while trends data is incredibly interesting, it cannot be relied on to save the world just yet.

However, don’t write off Google Trends completely. It can work really well on a smaller scale, particularly if you are targeting a particular location or interested in seasonality. You will be able to find consistencies in searches, as well as related topics that people search for.

Let’s take a look at some of the key methods for using Google Trends when creating an SEO strategy.


How to use Google Trends for SEO


Find seasonal trends

This one is particularly important to new businesses who might be trying to understand the mindset of their audience. You will likely already have some idea of the seasonality in your industry, but Google Trends can confirm that for you and provide you with the data you need to create a seasonal marketing strategy.

In the example below, you can see that “sterling silver necklace” is a particularly popular search in November – the lead up to Christmas. This may seem like common sense but now you have proof! Plus, you can get an idea of the exact dates for when people start carrying out their initial research.


Graph showing how certain searches will have a seasonal trend pattern


Identify potential blog topics

A great feature of Google Trends is the ‘related queries’ box. Say you want to put in a fairly generic search term, such as “digital marketing” because you know this is the area you need to focus on. Scroll down and you will find other search terms which are more suited to editorial content, such as “digital marketing trends 2019” or “benefits of digital marketing”.

You can then click on that long-tail keyword and get an idea of its popularity at different times of the year. Does it appear to be more popular in the summer seasons? Then you know to schedule that particular blog post for June or July.



Target specific locations

Another good way to use Google Trends for SEO is to get an idea of how search markets vary between different locations. For example, if you are an outdoor clothing brand, the climate variations between different locations will affect how many people are searching.

As you can see in the below examples, the US has more of a defined seasonal peak for “outdoor clothing brands”, whereas the UK has peaks throughout the year (likely due to the more unpredictable weather!)

This is particularly useful if you are a business interested in targeting multiple places – for example, England and the United States. You can tailor individual pages to suit those audiences, and make sure to create content that relates to both locations.




Is Google Trends the future of SEO?

There are a number of ways that Google Trends can complement your SEO strategy and provide you with a whole set of interesting data. Use it as a research tool and spend a decent chunk of time delving into the different options and it can be incredibly useful.

However, Google Trends should not be the only tool you use for your SEO strategy because there is a high risk of coincidence and it’s easy to make assumptions. Plus, when you are only looking to target extremely popular keywords, it can be difficult to compete with high-authority websites.

We would also recommend trying out different tools but make sure that you are combining a number of different methods and test what works for you!


For more information about creating an SEO strategy which suits your business, you can get in contact with us today.