Using Google Trends to generate content ideas

You can use Google Trends to help you discover which topics and search terms are popular – knowledge that you can use to create the sort of content that drives traffic to your site and engages your customers.

Results date back to 2004, which can be really handy if you want to compare the long-term trends in particular search terms or topics.

What exactly is Google Trends?

Google says its Trends tool lets you see “which topics the world is searching for.” Unlike the Keyword Planner, Google Trends doesn’t reveal the number of searches; rather, it reports on the level of interest in a particular topic or search term, and how this has changed over time. Ergo, it’s a fabulous tool for keeping your content strategy bang up to date!

Long-term search trends

Google Trends is an amazing tool for analyzing long-term interest in a particular subject, and it’s especially handy for direct comparisons.

Take this comparison between MySpace and Facebook, for example: there is clear tipping point around the year 2008, where searches for MySpace declined as searches for Facebook massively increased. This of course reflects the national trend of people deserting MySpace and other early social networks in favour of Facebook.

Myspace Facebook searches

It is possible to compare up to 5 search terms in this way.

Short-term search trends

Right at the other end of the spectrum, it is possible to use Google Trends to find out which topics have become popular within the last 24 hours. In fact, when you go to the homepage, you will see a summary of the topics that are trending in search, followed by a list of conversation points that have gained traction that day:

Search topics

Tip: click through for content ideas

When a relevant topic catches your eye, you can click through to see more detailed info that will be very helpful in deciding what content to create. The EU referendum topic page showcases the latest search trends and top questions:

Google trends

We can see that there are far more search queries around leaving the EU than staying in it, so a blog titled ‘Should Britain leave the EU?’ is likely to attract more search traffic than one entitled ‘Should Britain stay in the EU?’

Content can also be created to answer the top questions associated with the topic.

There is a whole host of additional related questions, many of which would make excellent blog titles, and a feature to drill down into regional interest. This can help when writing pieces aimed at particular localities, e.g. ‘Does England want to leave the EU more than Scotland does?’

EU Referendum Search
UK Brexit Questions

Who can use Google Trends?

Any copywriter or content marketer who wants to write pieces that reflect the interests of their customers can benefit from using Google Trends. Data from Google Trends can fresh new ideas for all sorts of content, from blog posts to guides, white papers, social media updates and even videos.

It’s not just writers for topical news channels/ blogs that can make use of Google Trends: the data about longer-term search patterns can be incredibly useful for evergreen content creation. Remember our MySpace/ Facebook example? This finding could make a valuable contribution to a white paper about the evolution of social media over the last decade.

A number of leading brands have started using Google Trends to inform their content. For example, Buzzfeed and The Guardian used Trends data after the most recent UK election: Buzzfeed created a map of the most-searched-for party leader for each constituency, whilst The Guardian used Google Trends data throughout the campaign to show what questions voters were asking Google about the campaign.

Get inside your customers’ heads with Google Trends

By typing in terms related to your business and looking for ‘spikes’ in search patterns, it’s easy to see which topics are trending. Then it’s just a case of checking the related terms and rising terms to come up with new content ideas and keywords.

Knowing more about your target audience gives you the power to tailor your content. By using Google Trends to find out what people are searching for, you can come up with new ideas for your content and answer the questions your customers are asking. For example, if people in your area are searching for information on a festival that’s happening next week, you could use this knowledge to create a mini-guide that answers some of the most popular questions.

You can even use Google Trends to find out what YouTube videos people are searching for, allowing you to create informative videos based around the most popular search terms.

It can be tough to come up with new, fresh ideas for content on a regular basis. Using Google Trends can help you to become a credible source of interesting and relevant content that will engage your customers and drive additional traffic to your site.