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How to Use Google Trends for SEO: The Ultimate Guide

Google Trends is an incredibly valuable tool for SEO professionals. With access to up-to-date search volume data and insights into rising trends, Google Trends can help inform your keyword research, content strategy, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know to effectively utilize Google Trends for SEO, including:

Table of Contents

  • What is Google Trends?
  • Key Benefits of Google Trends for SEO
  • How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research
  • Uncovering Seasonal Trends
  • Identifying Breakout Searches
  • Generating Content Ideas
  • Location-Based Opportunities
  • Limitations of Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool from Google that provides aggregated metrics for search term popularity over time. Specifically, it shows how frequently a keyword or topic has been searched on Google over a specified period relative to total search volume.

The Google Trends score ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 representing peak popularity for that term. This allows you to make comparisons between search terms and see relative trends over time.

Key things you can analyze with Google Trends:

  • Search volume and growth for specific keywords
  • Rising or declining search interest over time
  • Related keywords and topics
  • Regional interest and differences
  • Trends across web search and image search
  • Trends across Google Search and YouTube

Understanding these search trends and patterns allows SEO professionals to optimize content and better align with user intent and demand.

There are several key ways that SEOs leverage insights from Google Trends:

Keyword Research

Google Trends should be a core part of your keyword research process. It provides up-to-date search volume data that can help you identify high-potential keywords to target in your content and SEO campaigns.

Gauge Seasonality

Certain keywords attract more search volume at different times of year. Identifying seasonal trends for your focus keywords allows you to plan content accordingly.

New trends are constantly emerging. Google Trends helps you spot up-and-coming keywords before they become oversaturated with competition.

Content Ideation

Related keywords and associated topics can spur creative ideas for blog posts and other content. Google Trends provides a wealth of data to fuel your content brainstorming.

Location-Based Targeting

Google Trends reveals interest and search volume differences by country and even city. This allows you to tailor content and SEO for specific locations.

Track SEO Performance

Monitoring search volume changes for your target keywords over time can help indicate whether your SEO efforts are paying off.

Next, let‘s dive deeper into how to tap into these benefits with real examples.

Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO strategy. With Google Trends, you can get key insights into search volume and user intent that allow you to refine your targeting.

Here is a step-by-step walkthrough for using Google Trends for keyword research:

1. Enter a Seed Keyword

Start by entering a seed keyword or phrase that is relevant to your business to see search volume trends over time. For example, a running shoe brand could analyze trends for "running shoes."

This will show overall search popularity as well as peaks and valleys that may indicate seasonal or event-driven trends.

[insert image showing seed keyword trend]

At the bottom of the Google Trends page you‘ll see a list of "Related queries." Click into these other search terms to find more specific phrases with high search volume.

The running shoe brand could find related queries like “marathon running shoes” and “motion control running shoes.”

3. Refine with Search Operators

Use search operators to refine related keywords for more precise targeting. For example:

  • "running shoes for women"
  • "stability running shoes -trail -walking"

Look for rising keywords with low competition that align with your brand. These present opportunities to rank well.

4. Export Keyword Ideas

Once you have a robust list of keyword ideas, click the “Download” button to export a .CSV file. You can then organize these keywords and prioritize which ones to specifically optimize for.

Analyzing Google Trends data alongside search volume and competitor data gives you further context into which keywords represent the greatest opportunities.

Certain search terms attract more volume during specific seasons or times of year.

For example, searches for "snowblowers" peak during the winter:

[insert image highlighting winter peak]

While interest in "lawn mowers" surges in the summer:

[insert image showing lawn mower summer peak]

Identifying these types of seasonal patterns for your keywords allows you to plan content and marketing campaigns to align with periods of high interest.

Here are some tips for discovering seasonal trends with Google Trends:

  • Analyze 5-10 years of historical search data for your main keywords to spot seasonal patterns.

  • Look for regular peaks and valleys that indicate a strong seasonal affinity. Monthly data often works better than the default weekly view.

  • Compare trend lines for complementary keywords to see if they mirror one another. For example, "snowblowers" vs. "lawn mowers".

  • Consider regional nuances. Winter in Miami differs from winter in Chicago. Segment your analysis accordingly.

  • Download and save seasonal keyword data for future content planning.

Creating evergreen content also allows you to capture interest for seasonal keywords during their “off-seasons” as well.

One of the most powerful aspects of Google Trends is its ability to spot rising trends.

Keywords marked as “Breakout” have experienced a recent surge in search volume indicating a fast-growing trend.

![breakout keyword example]

Capitalizing on these breakout keywords early allows you to establish authority before more competitors enter that space.

Tips for latching onto breakout trends:

  • Look for rising keywords marked as “Breakout” on Google Trends.

  • Search for your main keywords, then filter by “Rising” queries.

  • Set Google Trends alerts to be notified of new breakout keywords.

  • Analyze keyword difficulty of breakout terms to focus on those with less competition.

  • Check Google News trends for context into real-world events driving search spikes.

  • Move quickly to target breakout keywords in your content while search volume is still rising.

Breakout keywords won’t remain low-competition for long. But getting in early allows you to stake your ground before the trend goes fully mainstream.

Google Trends is a goldmine of content inspiration. Let‘s explore some ways to tap into Google data to fuel your next blog post or video.

Scroll down on the Google Trends results page and you‘ll see a "Related topics" module. This shows other common themes and keywords frequently searched in conjunction with your term.

These topics clusters can provide creative sparks. For our running shoe example, related topics included popular brands like Nike and Adidas as well as niche categories like "trail running." Great prompts for potential content angles.

Explore Keyword Combinations

Combine keywords from different related topics to find specific keyword opportunities. For example:

"Adidas trail running shoes"

"Nike running shoes for flat feet"

Brainstorming keyword combinations helps develop my content ideas while also identifying very targeted phrases to optimize for.

Review FAQs

What are common questions people are searching around your content themes? The People also ask section in Google search results provides insight.

Compile a list of popular FAQs around your topic as prompts for new articles and videos that answer those queries.

Analyze Competitor Content

Review what top-ranking content your competitors have around themes relevant to your business. This can reveal content gaps to fill as well as spur ideas for improving upon existing posts.

Google Trends illuminates what people are searching for, while analyzing competitors shows what content is already ranking well. Together, this informs what you should create next.

The data is there. With a strategic process, Google Trends can ignite your next creative content marketing campaign.

People search differently based on where they live. Google Trends allows you to see geographic differences in search volume so you can tailor content accordingly.

For example, this search trend map for “yoga” shows popularity across India:

[insert map image highlighting India]

While interest for the same term in the United States is focused more on the West Coast:

[insert map centered on California]

Optimizing content for specific locations provides better alignment with searcher needs. Here’s how to tap into location-based Google Trends data:

  • Analyze geographic trends for your keywords to see if interest varies by country or region.

  • Compare statewide search volumes to identify metro areas with the most interest.

  • Tailor your content and SEO to focus on high-potential locations.

  • Develop locally-optimized landing pages and campaigns for key regions.

  • Consider local language nuances and cultural differences across markets.

  • Promote your locally-targeted content through location-based marketing channels.

Hyperlocal SEO is gaining importance. Google Trends provides the search volume insights to fuel locally relevant content at scale.

While tremendously helpful, Google Trends does have some limitations to keep in mind:

  • Sampled data: Google Trends provides an sampled estimate of search volume, not absolute numbers. The data may not include all searches.

  • Delayed reporting: Trends data can be delayed by 3-6 months, meaning current patterns may not fully be reflected.

  • Limited search data: Google Trends only includes data from Google, excluding other search engines.

  • Broad matching: Google associates some searches with terms that may not match the searcher‘s exact intent.

  • Difficult to export: There is no API access. Downloading keyword data is only available through manual CSV exports.

So while an extremely valuable tool, Google Trends should be just one input into your overall SEO keyword strategy rather than the sole factor. Combining it with keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and Google Ads Keyword Planner provides a more complete picture.


Google Trends provides SEO professionals with invaluable data on search volume patterns, trends, and geographic differences. With so much insightful information, it should play a key role in your keyword research, content ideation, campaign planning, and performance tracking.

While Google Trends has some limitations, its benefits far outweigh the cons. Tapping into Google‘s trove of aggregated search data can give you a significant competitive advantage.

Use this guide to start integrating Google Trends more strategically into your workflow. Analyzing current trends, uncovering emerging keywords, and identifying seasonal shifts will help take your SEO skills to the next level.

What‘s your top takeaway for using Google Trends for SEO? Share your insights and strategies in the comments below!

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