Here's how to use Google Trends to get new content ideas

Photo Written by André Gussekloo

If you work in marketing, Google Trends probably sounds familiar to you. On blogs and in tweets you will occasionally see a screenshot of this tool that reveals the search behavior of Internet users. And every year Google presents Year in Search: an overview of the most typed search terms. Nice to share, but do you do anything else with it?

In this blog post we take a close look at Google Trends. You'll see how to use this tool to discover developments within your niche market. You'll also see which seasonal trends are prevalent among your target audience. With this data you can put together a content calendar for the coming weeks or even months in a relatively short time. 

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends is a free tool from Google that gives you insight into the popularity of keywords. You get a graph for a desired period and in a country of your choice, such as the Netherlands or Belgium. The trendline gives you an idea how important a keyword or topic is for your target audience. 

How to use Google Trends to get new content ideas - 2manydots

How does Google Trends work?

On the Google Trends homepage, choose how you want to search. If you already have concrete ideas, you can type them into the search bar at the top. If you don't have any, scroll down. You will see a number of examples of possible searches. There is also an overview of the search terms that are currently trending. Google Trends works in real time.

Search terms vs. topics

In the search field you can type your own search term. If you have your own list of search terms you want to rank for and have not yet written content around one or more search terms, this is a logical approach.

But if you simply want to know what search terms might be interesting for new content, you can also search by topics. You do that through that search field as well. Google's autocomplete function will then come up with related topics.

How to use Google Trends to get new content ideas - 2manydots

Once you zoom in on such a topic, you get the well-known graph. Below that are related search terms and topics. You can rank these on ascending order. This way you get an overview of the search terms that have risen the most in popularity in recent times. And that in turn is interesting if you are looking for content ideas.

You can shorten or lengthen the time period to get a better idea of trends. Google also reports regional interest in many countries.

How to use Google Trends to get new content ideas - 2manydots

Comparing subjects

What is nice about Google Trends, is that you get the opportunity to compare two search terms or topics with each other. This way you can see which one is the most popular and whether there is a possible turnaround.

How to use Google Trends to get new content ideas - 2manydots

What information does Google Trends provide?

Whereas Google Keyword Planner gives you absolute numbers, Google sticks to relative numbers on a scale of 1 to 100. You see how a search term is currently performing compared to previous times, or how it compares to another search term. Specifically, you see:

  • How popular a search term has been over the years
  • At what times people search for a topic
  • In which countries and regions people search for a topic
  • What search terms and topics are related to it
  • Which search terms are trending right now

Getting new content ideas with Google Trends

Google Trends, the name says it all, uncovers trends and developments. This is a handy tool for content professionals, but certainly not the only one. Indeed, you will often use it in combination with Google Keyword Planner or another SEO tool. Because no matter how trendy a search term may be, if there is little search volume it may be smarter to prioritize another search term. 

1. Check new trends regularly
Depending on the sector in which you operate, you can check the latest trends, for example, monthly or quarterly. When doing so, surf extensively to the related search terms and topics offered by Google Trends.

2. Make a shortlist
Write down the search terms that seem interesting in a spreadsheet. Compare them in Google Trends to see which one currently has the biggest momentum. Upload the search terms to Google Keyword Planner as well to see if the absolute numbers show potential.

3. Create content clusters
Especially if you identify an incipient trend, you can make a big deal out of this. If it fits within a larger development, for example artificial intelligence (AI) or the metaverse, you can produce a whole content cluster for it. In this way, you build up the status of authority long before your competitors wake up.

4. Capitalize on seasonal trends
Do you notice a search spike at the same time each year? Then capitalize on these trends by placing relevant content on time, about two months before that peak. This way you will rank in time for it.

André Gussekloo Content marketer
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