Google Trends: The underrated goldmine for content ideas

What does Grant Imahara, Andy Kusnetzoff and Chrissy Teigen have in common? They were all the most searched for people in three different countries this week. If you’re wondering why that would matter to you, you are in the right place.

Alongside affiliate and e-mail marketing, content marketing is one of the best ways to promote your brand. It can feel like a bit of slog coming up with relevant topics, though, especially if you are a start-up.

While there are a plethora of keyword research tools available all over the web, they can be expensive for businesses just starting out. It can also be quite overwhelming using some of them.

Not everyone enjoys drilling down into longtail keyword research and few people have hours to find niche topics that nobody has thought of before.  If you are short on time and ideas for content topics, Google Trends will change your life.

What is Google Trends?

If you guessed it’s a thing that tells you what is trending on Google, you are correct. In its most simplistic form, Google Trends does what it says on the tin. While it is a popular tool in newsrooms around the world, it can be equally useful for any business that uses content marketing as part of its strategy.

How to use Google Trends for content ideas

While all good content calendars are planned months in advance, Google Trends can help plug the gaps. It can also help you to discover content ideas on the fly – especially if a big news event occurs in your industry.  But it can also be useful in helping you come up with other ideas – or refine some of your current ideas even further by breaking things down geographically.

Using Google Trends for on-the-fly ideas

If your content strategy is adaptable and you are looking to use Google Trends for on-the-fly topic ideas, bookmark the trending searches page. From here, you can see what people have been searching for over the last week. For some locations, you can also see real-time search data – meaning if you have the fastest finger first, you can get to a trend before it is trendy. The historical data will show up to 20 top searches for the day. These are largely centred around news events or sports results, so using Google Trends for topic ideas this way can be helpful if your content strategy allows for a more dynamic creation process.

Using Google Trends to build on content ideas and discover new ones

This way of using Google Trends can be a really powerful way to take your content marketing to the next level. It is particularly useful if you need a geographical approach to your content. 

To get started head on over to the Google Trends site (obviously) and punch in a keyword or topic idea that you want to explore.

We have used content marketing (how original) for the purposes of this article. 

google trends for content ideas

Once you have entered your keyword, you will get an overview of how interest in the topic has changed over time. You can go as far back as 2004 or as recent as the past hour (only applicable to some locations). You can also refine the parameters to only include a specific country or change the type of search - for example, a news or image search rather than a general web search. 

google trends for content ideas

But it’s the next part of Google Trends where things get really interesting. The interest by region will show an overview of countries - or regions within a country if you have set your parameters to a single one. From there, you can drill down deeper into the geographical searches by clicking on the highlighted areas on the map. You can also use the next section to discover content ideas you might not have considered before.

google trends for content ideas

Google Trends will show a list of related topics and related queries for your selected keyword. They are broken down into "rising" and "top" - which you can adjust through the dropdown arrow.

google trends for content ideas

Using this method of keyword discovery is incredibly powerful. It can help you understand and consider colloquial phrases if you are hoping to target different or very specific geographical regions.  It can also help you understand when you should start posting about specific topics. For example, looking at the historic metrics for Christmas sales, you’ll see exactly when people start looking for information about Christmas sales. If you have a retail store in more than one location, you can further use it to drill down into the locations and see if some customers in some areas are thinking about sales sooner than others.

And since the data is practically in real-time for many locations, using Google Trends in the current climate of uncertainty is a very useful tool.

The way people search changed drastically in the first half of 2020. Right now, there is no way of knowing how this might impact future data for content ideas.

Right here, right now, though, data is changing so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to give a reliable or assumed forecast passed on historic metrics.

Using Google Trends to adapt your content strategy to be a bit more dynamic could be the difference between somebody finding your article or it falling by the wayside.

Remember – you do not have to completely change the topic you are writing or have written about. You might just need to change some of the words you have used. 

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