Ever since Google snatched away keyword data, it's been a pretty big pain to figure out what people are searching for. Sure, there were hacks and workarounds -- but those weren't quite as helpful as having a report of exactly what people are searching for to land on your site.
Personally, I started using Google Trends a lot more, even if the results weren't always accurate. See, I couldn't be 100% sure Google Trends was giving me the right information -- when searching something like "rice," I couldn't be sure whether the results were talking about a delicious food or a university.
Luckily for all of us using Google Trends to get by in the wild west of search data, the tool got a major update yesterday. Tapping into the Knowledge Graph, Google Trends data will be reconfigured to make sure you're actually getting data you want to find -- so when you're looking for Rice University, you're not getting rice the food.
How does Google do that? Now, when you go to search for terms in Google Trends, more accurate search suggestions will appear in a dropdown. For example, here's what it looks like when you search for the word "shoes":
Shoes can refer to many different things -- specific brands, the things that horses wear on their feet, or just the generic ones you've got on your own feet. And with the old Google Trends, those searches could've been lumped together. Now, though, you can get more accurate and actionable search data because you know exactly what you're searching for.
Right now, Google Trends is clarifying ambiguous terms like "rice" and also aggregating the data from search terms' misspellings into the main keyword data. So search data for "Justen Timbrlake" would be correctly lumped together with "Justin Timberlake." In the future, Google hopes to include search data loosely related to a subject -- for instance, "Suit & Tie Artist" would also be lumped with a search for "Justin Timberlake."
What This Update Means for You
Besides giving you more accurate data in general (yay!), this Google Trends update will actually make doing SEO much easier. Because it's not relying on specific strings of words and instead focusing on topics, you're more empowered to do the same in your content.
Now, you're more equipped to actually write about topics people are interested in because you know they're actually searching for those topics -- not an unrelated, ambiguous term. And when you create content about specific topics -- not sketchy keywords -- people are searching for, you'll start attracting more interested and engaged visitors through search.
My colleague and SEO expert Rebecca Churt agrees. "This new update in Google Trends is about predictability, contextual awareness, and user intent in search," she noted. "All in all, it makes search smarter and more informed marketers."
Better insights for marketers means they can actually create better content that'll solve for the needs of their visitors. Talk about a win-win situation!
Do you use Google Trends? Do you like this new update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Originally published Dec 4, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017