Google Trends for Real Time Search Data

Google Trends Screenshot

Use Google Trends to keep your finger on the pulse of the web.

Google is continually developing and tweaking tools that offer insights into people’s behavior on the web.

If you’re a small business owner or an on-line entrepreneur, you are probably already familiar with some of the most widely-used Google tools, like Google Analytics, Google Webmasters Tools, and Google AdWords. But have you heard of Google Trends?

It’s a fascinating tool in that it gives you a real-time glimpse of search trends by subject  area and by location. How is this data gathered? Here’s how it’s described on the Trends site:

Where Google Trends data comes from:

Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to figure out how many searches were done over a certain period of time.

For example, if you search for tea in Scotland in March of 2007, Trends analyzes a percentage of all searches for tea within the same time and location parameters.

Data that is excluded

  • Searches made by very few people: Trends only analyzes data for popular terms, so search terms with low volume appear as 0.
  • Duplicate searches: Trends eliminates repeated searches from the same person over a short period of time.
  • Special characters: Trends filters out queries with apostrophes and other special characters.

How might you use Google Trends?

Well, let’s say that you’re curious about how many people are looking for help with procrastination. You can search for a term on Trends and your results will display a graph showing the term’s popularity over time in (nearly) real time. Here’s what we got for “procrastination.”

Procrastination Search Results

Here’s how the term “procrastination’ is reflected on Google Trends.

When you’re on the Trends site, if you hover your mouse over the graph you can examine different points in greater depth. We were very interested to note here that in nearly all instances, the lowest point for searches on the word “procrastination” were in July. Not surprising, if you think about it.

Google Trends gives you a useful overview, not only of what's hot right now, but also of what people are looking for over time.Click To Tweet

Letters on the graph represent news articles that might indicate why the term was spiking during that time period. And if you click the “Forecast” box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, Google Trends will extend the graph, predicting future search stats based on a mathematical formula.

Google Trends gives you a useful overview, not only of what’s hot right now, but also of what people are looking for over time.

Practically speaking, one thing I learned just now is that July would not be a good time to launch a Guidebook about Procrastination!  (And here’s a small teaser – we will be launching a new Guidebook very soon … so stay tuned.)

Here’s to your time success …

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