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We all wish we could predict the future sometimes. Right now, I particularly wish I could predict just exactly when Adam Levine is going to be at a payphone, because I’ve checked almost every payphone and I still can’t find him. Lies, Adam Levine. Lies. But predicting the future would be especially convenient for search engine optimization purposes. As a business owner, if you could know when, where, and which keywords relating to your products and services would receive the highest search volume, and the most leads, you could much better target your SEO strategy to suit these keyword trends.
Here at Blue Corona, we’ve been running tests with the Google Insights for Search tool for this exact purpose. (Yes. Of course Google has a tool for this. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that Google has a tool to tell you just how many degrees of separation stand between someone and Kevin Bacon. The joke here, of course, is that this tool actually exists.)
What Is Google’s Insights for Search?
According to Google, Google Insights for Search allows you to compare search volume patterns across specific
- Regions (country, sub-region, metro)
- Categories (beauty & fitness, business & industrial, food & drink, home & garden, etc.)
- Time frames (weekly, monthly, yearly, specific date range, etc.)
- Properties (web search, image search, news search, product search)
I’ll briefly discuss what I think are the most useful features, but only if I can pry myself away from Google’s bacon number tool to do so.
Regional and Geographic Insights for Search
For example, let’s say you own a local remodeling and home renovation company and you’re considering expanding your business into a new market. You can use the Google Insights for Search feature to figure out whether one neighboring market is more attractive than another for your current service offerings based on which services get the most search traffic.
As another example, If I search for “alcohol” in the United States, we find the regional interest in alcohol is highest in the Pennsylvania region (Interesting that the place with the highest search volume for alcohol is also the same place that I spent 22 years of my life. Coincidence? I doubt it. If I had to guess, I bet the highest search volume for “Philip Seymour Hoffman” also comes from the Pennsylvania area. I Google him more than a normal person should.).
Top Searches and Rising Searches Insights
The Google Insight for Search tool also displays the top searches related to your term for the time and location you’ve selected. For “alcohol” in the United States from 2004 to present, you can see the top searches below:
Additionally, you can also see “Rising Searches” for your search term, which Google defines as “searches that have experienced significant growth in a given time period, with respect to the preceding time period.”
So if I was creating optimized content for an alcoholic beverage company, I might consider doing a little newsjacking and go after some of these rising keywords with a witty blog post about “alcohol breastfeeding” or “alcohol withdrawal symptoms.” (Alcohol withdrawal symptom number one: excessive Googling of Philip Seymour Hoffman.) Alternatively, I might brainstorm some of the questions that might be related to searches like, “best alcohol”, “good alcohol”, or “alcohol in beer” and write a few blog posts that answer them (the implied questions).
Search Term Interest over Time Insights
The search term interest over time feature evaluates how many searches have been done for a particular term (I used “wine” for this example in the United States from 2004-present), relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.
Here, you can see clear spikes in search volume for “wine” in December. Google then takes this and provides an Insight with its forecast on the graph: that “wine” is most likely going to get another spike in search volume in December 2013. This a great tool for determining the seasonality of your product or service. If you own a window replacement company, you might know the exact point in the spring when the inquiries for new windows start rolling in, but you don’t necessarily know when people started searching – now you do! Of course it’s also beneficial to compare more than one search term to see the interest over time. Comparing “wine” with “vodka” shows that “vodka” receives even more of a spike in search volume in December than “wine” does.
So here, a “vodka” blog post might get you more search traffic than a “wine” blog post. Especially if you combine this with rising searches for “vodka”:
To conclude, F. Scott Fitzgerald once said “To write it, it took three months; to conceive it – three minutes; to collect the data in it – all my life.” Sorry this is kind of a BS conclusion because writing this post has made me want to immediately go drink whipped cream vodka while watching Philip Seymour Hoffman movies!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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