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Google Trends is now almost 15 years old, but the website that analyses the popularity of queries in search still often gets overlooked as a tool that can supercharge SEO strategies.

While Google Analytics offers more granular and in-depth insights, Google Trends is excellent for discovering broader trends, especially for specific industries and regions. Here are a few ways that you can use it to support search engine optimisation.

Keyword and topic research

One of the quickest ways to populate a list of keywords for a specific topic that you want to cover in a blog or article is to enter a search term into Google Trends. You will then be presented with a number of keywords that are related to the search, ranked by popularity.

Google Trends also shows you a visual in graphical form of how the popularity of the search term you entered has changed during the last 12 months. You can also expand the date range to see its performance over time.

These simple results are both very useful for keyword research as you will be able to identify whether a term is trending or growing in popularity. Google Trends will use the word ‘Breakout’ to denote a keyword that has seen a 5,000% spike in search volume, so look out for those in particular.

Coming up with new ideas for a blog series can be challenging, so you are also likely to find value in the ‘Related Topics’ section. Here, Google Trends will provide a list of broader topics that are related to the search term you entered.

Provide context to keyword usage

Google Trends allows you to tap into a pool of data from the last 16 years. For each search term you enter, you can track the ‘interest over time’ right back to 2004. This information can be invaluable when attempting to determine whether the drop-off in popularity of a keyword is due to it being a fad or indicative of a general long-term trend.

When using the term ‘caribbean cruise’, for example, there was a huge increase in interest in January and February this year before a considerable drop after the pandemic hit in March. Interest levels have remained low since then. While you may think that this is a trend isolated to 2020, a look at the ‘2004-present’ data range shows that these spikes and troughs actually happen every year.

Google Trends is therefore excellent at adding more context to keyword popularity and potential search volume.

Target by location

If you are creating content for international markets and want to focus on transcreation and translation in the coming months, Google Trends’ location-based data will also be invaluable.

After entering a keyword, you can use location filtering to see the areas where there is a higher degree of interest. This can help you to see whether there is demand for certain products or services in certain regions. It is possible to filter by both country and city. Using the term ‘caribbean cruise’ again shows that the term has been the most popular in Liverpool and Glasgow in the UK and Fort Lauderdale and Miami in the US.


When trying to implement an effective SEO strategy, you can fall prey to myths and untruths that can throw your best-laid plans off track. No, SEO is not dead, and it’s not just something you can set and forget about. Here are five other common myths.

Long-tail keywords are easier to target

There is often a misconception that long-tail keywords are easier to target and rank for compared to head terms that drive large search volumes. While long-tail keywords attract fewer searches over a given period, this does not mean that they can be used to boost rankings for more esoteric or niche queries.

This is because keyword difficulty, a metric that tracks the ranking difficulty of a word or phrase, can be very similar for both high-volume and low-volume keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and longer in length, hence the name, but are not a silver bullet for better rankings.

Google will penalise duplicate content

Duplicate content is defined as any copy that appears on two or more pages, either on the same site or across multiple domains. It is not desirable as it can undermine SEO strategies, but Google has stated on several occasions that there is not a specific search penalty for any websites that continue to host duplicate content. You can find out if you have any issues with this by running a site audit and checking the final report.

Google only ranks new content

Publishing new content is very important, especially as Google uses a ‘freshness’ signal in its ranking algorithm, but there are times when an article or a blog can continue to rank near the top of SERPs even though it was published several years ago.

This usually occurs when freshness does not have a negative impact on the quality of the content. For example, Google currently ranks a page from 2013 at the top of search for the query, ‘how to tie a tie’. The answer to this question is the same now as it was seven years ago, so freshness does not factor into it.

PageRank is not relevant anymore

PageRank is an algorithm that measures a webpage’s authority. Google has confirmed that it continues to be a ranking factor, but its decision to discontinue public scores for the metric back in 2016 has caused confusion. Some SEOs now claim that it is no longer relevant for this reason.

However, PageRank is still used by Google when ranking content, and research shows that the metric aligns quite closely with organic search traffic, which highlights its value.

SEO should focus on first-place rankings

The top position in search rankings is the best place to be, but it does not always translate to higher levels of traffic. A recent study of 100,000 branded search queries found that the first listing only gets the most overall traffic from search 49% of the time. Perhaps surprisingly, pages between fifth and 10th are able to drive the most traffic for 10% of queries.

This suggests that a first-place-or-bust mindset is foolish because pages can rank for more than one keyword and thus generate higher levels of traffic overall. The key is an effective SEO strategy that aligns search intent with the right content.