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7 Ways to Use Google Trends for SEO & Content Marketing

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Google Trends is the only keyword research tool that offers insights based on actual Google search data.

These seven tips on how to use Google Trends will show you how to extract real keyword trends that are accurate and will be useful for creating keyword strategies for promoting websites.

Discover new ways to use Google Trends to unlock hidden insights and keyword volume data.

The Value of Google Trends

While Google Trends is accurate, it doesn’t show the amount of traffic in actual numbers.

Paid SEO tools provide numbers for keyword search volume. But those numbers are estimates that are extrapolated from data providers.

So even though paid SEO tools provide estimates of keyword traffic, the data presented by Google Trends is based on actual search query volumes.

That’s not to say that Google Trends is better than paid keyword tools. When used together with paid keyword tools, one can obtain a near accurate idea of true keyword search volume.

There are other functions in Google Trends that can allow accurate segmentation of the keyword data in order to understand what locations to focus promotional efforts, and also to discover new and trending keywords.

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How to Use Google Trends for SEO

1. Get More Accurate Data by Comparing Keywords

Google Trends shows a relative visualization of traffic on a scale of zero to one hundred.

You can’t really know if the trend is reporting hundreds of keyword searches or thousands because the graph is on a relative scale.

This is especially helpful if you know the amount of traffic from another keyword phrase.

How to Obtain More Accurate Traffic Data

If you want to obtain a more accurate estimate of keyword search volume, compare the keyword with a keyword that you already have accurate volume numbers for.

If the keyword volume is especially large, there’s another way to identify a close estimate of keyword volume – by comparing your target keyword with any keyword phrase that you have an idea of traffic volume.

The comparison keyword doesn’t have to be related. It can be completely different. The important thing is to have a general idea of the keyword volume.

In the event that this volume information is unavailable, here is a hack for getting an idea of search volume.

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Go to the Google Trends Daily Trends webpage, which shows trending search queries.

What’s useful about this page is that Google provides keyword volumes in numbers, like 100,000+ searches per day, etc.

Here’s an example:

Google Trends shows that the keyword search trend for [womens dresses] is trending upward. But it doesn’t tell you by how much volume.

Google Trends for Womens Dresses search trends.Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

The Google Daily Trends page for Monday, August 30, 2o21 shows that searches for [elizabeth holmes] are trending at 100,000+ searches.

Screenshot of Google daily search trends.
Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

Now, here is a screenshot of a comparison between the search query [womens dresses] and [elizabeth holmes], which is trending at 100,000+ searches.

Google Trends Keyword Comparison (enhanced for clarity).Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

Although Google Trends won’t show you the exact amounts, as long as you know the amounts for one keyword, the traffic levels of the other keyword will become more understandable.

The above hack isn’t 100% accurate. But it’s enough to give a strong ballpark idea and can be used to validate extrapolated data from a paid keyword research tool.

2. Compare Keywords by Time for Audience Insights

There are two general ways to look at the keyword data: stretched across over longer periods of time and shorter time periods.

Long Period Trends

You can set Google Trends to show you the traffic trends stretching back to 2004. This is valuable for showing you audience trends.

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  • Upward Trending Long-Term Trends: If a trend is going up this means to focus energy on creating content for this trend.
  • Downward Long-Term Trends: If the trend line is moving down, then it may be a signal that audience content consumption is changing.

For example, review this five-year trend for WordPress the search term, WordPress the software, and WordPress the website:

An image of Google Trends tool showing a five year trend.Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

There’s a clear downward trend for WordPress in all its variations. The downward trend extends to phrases such as WordPress themes, WordPress plugin, and WordPress hosting.

It’s super important to understand when a trend is on a downward spiral.

  • The digital camera started the demise of the traditional analog camera.
  • The iPhone started the downward spiral of the digital camera.

Knowing which way the wind is blowing could help a content marketer or publisher understand when it’s time to bail on digital cameras and start flogging products related to mobile phones.

3. Related Topics and Queries

Google Trends has two great features, one called Related Topics and the other Related Queries.

Topics

Topics are search queries that share a concept. In general, topics are language-independent but it’s unclear if that’s the case with Related Topics.

According to Google:

Related Topics

Users searching for your term also searched for these topics.

You Can View by the Following Metrics

Top – The most popular topics. Scoring is on a relative scale where a value of 100 is the most commonly searched topic and a value of 50 is a topic searched half as often as the most popular term, and so on.

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Rising – Related topics with the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period.

Results marked “Breakout” had a tremendous increase, probably because these topics are new and had few (if any) prior searches.”

Related Queries

The description of Related Queries is similar to that of the Related Topics.

Top queries are the most popular in general and Rising Queries are queries that are becoming popular.

Screenshot of Google Trends Related Queries feature.
Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

4. Short Term Trends Can Bring Massive Traffic

Viewing keyword trends in the short view, such as the 90 day or even 30 day view can reveal valuable insights for capitalizing on rapidly changing search trends.

There is a ton of traffic in Google Discover as well as in Google News.

While Google Discover is less sensitive to trending topics than Google News, being on top of current interests is super helpful for grabbing a huge amount of traffic right now through Google Discover and Google News.

For example, two of the top trending keyword trends are How To and Near Me searches.

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When you scale down to the 90-day view, you can see which days of the weeks those searches are popular.

Knowing which days of the week interest spikes for a given topic can also help in planning when to publish certain kinds of topics so the content is right there when the audience is searching for it.

5. Keywords by Category

Google Trends has the capability to narrow down your keywords according to categories in order to give more accurate data.

The Categories tab is important because it refines your keyword research to the correct context.

If your keyword context is automobiles then it makes sense to appropriately refine Google Trends to show just the data for the context of auto.

By narrowing the Google Trends data by category, you will be able to find more accurate information related to the topics you are researching for content.

6. Leverage Keyword Data by Geography

Google Trends keyword information by geographic location can be used for determining what areas are the best to outreach to for site promotion or for tailoring the content to specific regions.

For example, if certain kinds of products are popular in Washington D.C. and Texas, it makes sense to aim promotional activity and localized content to those areas.

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Keyword popularity information by region is valuable for link building, content creation, content promotion, and pay-per-click.

Localizing content can make it more relevant to people interested in that content.

Google ranks pages according to who it’s most relevant for, so incorporating geographic nuance into your content can help it rank for the most people. Especially if those people begin to promote your content in social media, blogs, and podcasts.

7. Uncover Search Intents With Categories

Google Trends gives you the ability to further refine the keyword data by segmenting it by Search Type, which is an incredibly useful way to research the popularity of various kinds of search intents.

Search Types give you insights into searchers when they are intensely focused on a specific kind of intent.

Refining your research allows you to remove the “noise” that might be polluting your keyword research and go straight to the signal – the data that is most meaningful.

Google Trends data can be refined by:

  • Web Search.
  • Image Search.
  • News Search.
  • Google Shopping.
  • YouTube Search.

YouTube search is a fantastic way to identify the “how to” content.

A Google Trends search for how, what, where, when, why, and who shows that search queries beginning with the word “how” are by far the most popular on YouTube.

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Google Trends limits comparisons to five keywords, so the following screenshot omits that word.

Screenshot of Keyword Popularity on YouTube.Screenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

If your keyword phrases involve instructional content that uses words like [how to], refining your research to YouTube may provide useful insights.

For example, I have found that YouTube Search shows more relevant “related topics” and “related queries” data than researching with “web search” selected.

Here’s another example of how using different kinds of search types helps refine Google Trends data.

I did the same how, what, where, when, why, and who searches but this time using the News Search refinement.

Screenshot of Google Trends with News Search refinement selectedScreenshot from Google Trends, August 2021

The search trends in Google News are remarkably different than the search patterns in YouTube. That’s because people want to know “what” and “how” type information in Google News.

The above is the view of search queries for the past 90 days. When the same keywords are searched using the 5-year perspective it becomes clear that the “who” type keywords tend to spike according to current events.

The biggest spike occurred in the days after the 2020 presidential election.

All of the different search type query refinements help to refine the results so that they show more accurate information.

So give those selections a try because the information they give can be more accurate and useful than the more general and potentially noisy “web search” version.

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Takeaway: Google Trends is Useful

Google Trends is a useful tool, and a little creativity yields important search marketing insights.

Spend some time with Google Trends. I’m certain you’ll discover insights that will improve how content is created and promoted online.

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Featured image: alphaspirit.it/Shutterstock

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Which Is Better For You?

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Which Is Better For You?

Content marketers are using video content more than ever.

In 2022, 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.

Aside from the rise of TikTok, especially during the pandemic, more marketers are creating videos, and 46% of marketers said it was because videos had become easier to develop in-house.

As a content marketer, should you jump on the bandwagon?

And what about the more “traditional” YouTube?

Worldwide, YouTube is part of the Top 3 social media networks. TikTok isn’t just yet, though it’s steadily climbing the ranks at No. 5.

Just because TikTok is the newest kid on the block doesn’t mean you have to allocate all your video budgets to it.

Choosing between the two requires careful thought and consideration. You must factor in content type, target audience, engagement rates, and influencer marketing spend.

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So, which of these two viral video platforms makes more sense for your business?

Let’s dive in.

What Is TikTok?

After Chinese tech company ByteDance acquired Musical.ly in 2017, its technology was ported. Thus, TikTok was born.

TikTok (called Douyin locally) is a user-friendly social media platform that allows users to create short-form videos.

With a free video editor in-app, anyone can add filters, stickers, and text-to-speech for a 15-second video.

TikTok has over a billion monthly users, making it the most downloaded app worldwide in 2021.

What Is YouTube?

With over 2.1 billion monthly active users, the video-sharing platform has been around much longer. Launched in 2005, YouTube has been the mainstay for sharing video content.

Three former PayPal employees founded YouTube as a way for people to have fun sharing their home videos. (Remember the first few viral YouTube videos?)

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Compared to TikTok, YouTube videos are a lot longer.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Between TikTok And YouTube

TikTok YouTube
Audience (U.S.) 50% between ages 18 and 24, 17.7% between ages 12 and 17 95% between ages 18 and 29
Average Content Length 15 to 60 seconds 11.7 minutes
Average Time Spent Per Day 45.8 minutes a day 45.6 minutes a day
Traffic (Organic) 318.2 million 646 billion
Traffic (Paid) 643,600 65.1 million
Successful Niches
  • Dance
  • Comedy
  • Smaller/specialized creators
  • Product must-haves
  • Breakdowns of news stories
  • Makeup and fashion hacks with trendy sound clips
  • Storytime (first person POV)
  • Evergreen content
  • Lifehack and DIY videos
  • How-tos
  • Gaming, people, and blogs
  • Music and entertainment
  • Sporting Events
Cost For Business Accounts $o – free account $o – free account

Audience For TikTok vs. YouTube

TikTok Has A Younger U.S. Audience

If you’re marketing to teens, a.k.a., Gen Z (and by extension, Generation Alpha who are becoming teens next year), TikTok is a strong bet.

As of April 2022:

Almost half of TikTok users in the United States were between 18 and 34 years, making up the largest demographic group for the platform.

TikTok users aged between 12 and 17 made up approximately 17.7% of the popular social video app user base in the United States, while 2.5% of TikTok users in the country were 11 years old or younger.”

This means that TikTok is especially popular with Gen Z while more and more adults are steadily becoming app users, too.

Note that younger children ages 12 and above can access TikTok (the app requires a minimum of 12 years of age to get a profile).

Gen Z And Millennials Are More Likely To Trust YouTubers

If you’re trying to reach Millennials (while keeping older Gen Z in mind) and be seen as more authoritative, YouTube could be a safer bet.

According to Pew Research:

“In 2021, 95% of U.S. adults between 18 and 29 years of age said they use YouTube (the age demographic with the highest percentage) while only 49% of U.S. adults who are 65+ years reported using it.”

According to the YouTube Culture And Trends Report 2022, 83% of Gen Z watch soothing content on YouTube to help them relax.

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Lastly, in a survey by Ypulse, YouTubers were the most trusted public figures (31%) among those surveyed, beating TikTokers by 12%.

TikTok vs. YouTube: Content Format And Length

Keep It Short And Sweet On TikTok

TikTok has a maximum length of three minutes. TikTok recommends an optimal 21 to 34 seconds to keep viewers interested, but average videos last 15 – 60 seconds.

While it leaves little room for all-out explainer videos, you can still create quality content on the go and turn it into a non-chronological series.

TikTok favors short-form videos with an aspect ratio of 9:16; it is vertically optimized for mobile devices.

The platform also has TikTok LIVE, a feature for creators to connect in real-time with their audience (think Q&As or concert experiences).

Leave The Longer Videos To YouTube

Verified accounts on YouTube can run up to two hours of video, while unverified accounts can only upload 15 minutes. The average length for videos is 11.7 minutes.

While YouTube videos are popular on mobile devices (49.3% are watching on mobile YouTube), the number is expected to decrease as YouTube continues to be available on desktop and TV devices.

Keep a 16:9 aspect ratio in mind since YouTube apps are becoming more popular with smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other gadgets.

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YouTube launched its livestream feature for creators back in 2011.

The platform is famous for its gaming livestreams, the Superbowl, the Olympics, and more.

Moreover, YouTubers can curate content playlists, allowing viewers to enjoy music streaming and related content for hours with an autoplay option.

Note: The average time per day for both channels is around 45 minutes, with TikTok winning by a hair at 45.8 minutes compared to YouTube’s 45.6 minutes.

Comparing TikTok vs. YouTube Algorithm

There is content that works well on both platforms (consider product reviews and reaction videos).

Nevertheless, here are the types of content for which each channel is better known.

To dig deeper into TikTok’s powerful search algorithm or how YouTube’s search results recently changed, we recommend further reading up on them in the links provided.

TikTok: Niches That Succeed

Screenshot from TikTok, September 2022

Bite-sized content has never been more digestible, with creators using TikTok to spread straightforward content in memes, educational content, lip sync, and dance videos.

These often include specialized content series, like Random Amazon Finds That Just Slap, Things I Just Found Out In My 30s, or professionals connected to a particular hashtag with content usually dedicated to one specialty. (Note: That could be an opportunity for your business’s industry or niche.)

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Small and big brands can work with influencers to create simple, engaging, potentially viral content. See how Clinique’s Black Honey Lipstick sold out because of TikTok videos spreading awareness.

TikTok Creator content tends to be relatable and authentic; you can use the TikTok Insights tool to see what works for each generation in what industry.

Niches That Work On YouTube

Popular content on YouTube includes how-to videos, product reviews, music videos, comedy skits, and much more.

Your brand can benefit from collaborating with YouTubers (the most trusted figures, according to the survey above). For example, NordVPN frequently has sponsorship arrangements with tech gadget reviewers, like Techmoan.

YouTube can be better for products that aren’t as easy to show off in short formats. Additionally, YouTube tutorials tend to have a more serious tone.

TikTok Ad Formats

For TikTok ad formats, you have the following options (see TikTok Ads For Beginners: A Complete Guide & Steps To Success to learn how to use them).

  • TopView: An attention-grabbing, distraction-free, 60-second video format.
  • In-Feed Ads: A native-inspired ad type that will integrate seamlessly into a viewer’s “For You” page.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge: A UGC (user-generated content) using your brand’s hashtag campaign.
  • Branded Effects: Branded stickers, filters, or special effects.

YouTube Ad Formats

For videos that have ad monetization features, these are the following video ad formats available for YouTube business accounts.

Read The Complete Beginner’s Guide To YouTube Video Advertising for a comprehensive guide on how to use them.

  • Skippable video ads: A video ad with an option for viewers to skip after five seconds.
  • Non-skippable video ads: These ads don’t allow viewers to skip this typically 15-20 second video.
  • Bumper ads: Up to six seconds long, these ads need to be watched before a video is viewed.
  • Overlay ads: Only seen on desktop, these ads take up the lower 20% screen of a video.

YouTube videos can be monetized and can earn shared ad revenue.

Setting up business accounts is free on both platforms. Keep in mind that TikTok has a $50 minimum for an ad spend, while YouTube Ads offers $100 in free credits when you spend $50 on video ads.

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Conclusion

Should you favor one over the other?

On the surface, TikTok.com has 318.2 million organic traffic, and YouTube.com has 646 billion.

For paid, TikTok traffic is 643,600, while YouTube reaches 65.1 million.

YouTube and TikTok are here to stay, and while YouTube’s traffic seems bigger, TikTok’s fast rise to the top is one to look out for.

Typically, both are ideal for marketers who invest in video marketing; 87% of marketers say video has helped them increase their traffic, and 82% on dwell time.

The best platform depends on your brand and the type of content you have the resources for, the customer purchase cycle, your social media goals, and your budget.

When used wisely, whichever of the two you choose will help benefit your business in the long run.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock

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