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How to enhance your ecommerce branding strategy with Google Trends

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How to enhance your ecommerce branding strategy with Google Trends

30-second summary:

  • In the wake of the helpful content rollouts, Google Trends can be a strong gateway into search trends
  • How do you spot a trend and differentiate it from a fad to justify resource investment?
  • Hands-on tips to unearth Google Trends and apply them to your ecommerce SEO strategy

A successful digital marketing strategy grows through exploiting online visibility that results in conversion. Organic traffic and SEO generate the most leads in a digital marketing strategy, according to 61 percent of marketers using B2B initiatives.

Statistics for 2022 capture the situation as they show that a search engine is the point of departure for 68 percent of online activity. The internet offers plenty of advice on building a digital marketing strategy. Still, we cut through the chase and focus on how you can harness the power of an SEO strategy and keyword research to grow your business this year and beyond.

The role of Google Trends in enhancing your SEO strategy

If you exploit its capacity, Google Trends can be a game changer for your SEO strategy. Consider the following steps to exploit this tool to develop your digital marketing strategy:

1. Monitor trends

Google Trends is a free tool that scours the internet, collects data on search behavior, and helps you capitalize on popular trends when developing a marketing strategy. It collects information from platforms such as YouTube, Google Images, Google News, Twitter, and Google Shopping on which web users engage.

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The analytics from Google Trends looks at the total search volume over a specific period. In addition, it identifies how often users looked up a search query time on the Google search engine. Though said to be a reliable tool, it gives estimates of the levels given to the value of a keyword, ranging from 0 to 100. It establishes seasonal variations in a keyword.

A value of 100 on user intent means the keyword is a high-interest, while zero does not mean that no one showed interest but that the interest level was shallow. For example, if you search the term “swimwear”, you will notice it has more searches during summer than in winter. If you track such analytics, you can judge the relevance levels of your niche to users and know when to jump on and off a trend.

2. Google Trends unearths new keywords

When you have a website, keywords are the pointers that show search engines what you have on your website. Keyword research shows you what your potential customers might be looking for and the estimated size of the audience with that search intent.

Try the following steps:

  • Identify the main idea with which your potential customers associate the product or service your business offers, such as cashmere scarves. Avoid using adjectives.
  • Narrow down on the product or service specifics by anticipating a unique aspect of your niche that would send users to your website. For example, cashmere scarves from Italy.
  • At this point, you can add a link from a website to your search for better results.
  • Include brand names of your products or well-known names in the industry to improve product association but do not include an unknown brand name in your search.
  • Try different keyword phrases on the topic in different variations, such as “Italian cashmere scarves”, “designer Italian cashmere scarves”, and “affordable Italian cashmere scarves”. Use keywords related to the topic to narrow down the results.
  • Considering there are over six billion worldwide searches daily, you should use tools like SEMrush to identify keywords that rank on a page and include related keywords for comparison to other viable keywords.

Beware, though, some new search terms could be popular but just fads that later disappear, making your content redundant.

Understand the difference between a trend and a fad

Here’s a quick look to help you discern what is a trend and what is not, further giving you stronger clarity on whether to invest time and resources in content creation.

A trend is –

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  • A general development, situational change, or a shift in the way people are behaving
  • Can be traced to a starting point in time
  • Evolve gradually
  • Have a broader influence on culture and consumer behavior

A fad is –

  • A very popular style or activity that can be compared to a “one-hit wonder”
  • Can not be traced into a starting point as fads blow up on scenes out of nowhere
  • Fade away as fast as they show up
  • Does not have a substantial impact on consumer behavior

3. Research your niche

Even as you search for the best keywords to boost your SEO strategy, Google Trends ensures you do not miss any relevant topics in your niche. Your niche should provide value to remain relevant.

The variances between the dips and increases on charts generated by Google trends show the following at a glance:

  • Seasonal changes in prices
  • Seasonal changes in demand
  • The stability of a niche depends on the sustained search volumes over a given period
  • Whether the niche is still a viable business idea

The metrics from that search guide you in making data-driven decisions for your brand and exploit your niche because it will enable you to:

  • Identify target regions
  • Determine the viability of your niche
  • Know the relevant terms to search
  • Make decisions using real-time data
  • Optimize your campaign
  • Know if you have loyal customers who can build a community

4. Track the latest popular searches

When your business dealings center on a dynamic niche, Google Trends helps you stay abreast of changes. People’s needs keep evolving, and to stay ahead, you must get real-time results on their search engine queries and act accordingly.

Invest in that research to adjust your marketing tactics to address the new concerns that arise in the market due to emerging issues.

Businesses that modify their strategy to emerging, real-time needs thrive while the rest that don’t naturally see a drop in returns.

5. Compare keywords

Google Trends searches accumulated data from people’s search history in Google and the search terms used most in those searches. The Google Trends landing page has a search bar tailored for search terms. On this bar, you can type up to five keywords you wish to compare, separating them with a comma.

The search avails much when focused on related topics and shows the less obvious needs of customers. When analytics terms the results on a term as rising, it means it had the most considerable volume in growth. Breakout is a percentage that shows the search query volume exploded to over 5000%.

6. Optimize for video and ecommerce

Videos on YouTube offer another avenue for studying the market scene besides web results. Through videos, Google Trends can unearth the video topics fueling trends. You will also know if it is time for you to create video content for ecommerce and the relevant tags you should include for optimization.

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You can also use the tool to follow up on the success of your video. Consider that 88 percent of people say that watching a video on a brand convinced them to buy their product or service. While 0ver 70 percent would rather watch a short video on a brand than read text about it.

7. Target local audience

It’s no longer a hassle to find geo-specific data and evaluate the popularity of a search item by region. You will reliably establish the region with the highest demand for your product or services.

There are different ways of conducting this search. One is by typing the name of what your business offers into the search space and then scrolling to the map section on the same page to determine locality.

The second way is to use search filters to compare keywords and identify different regions where web users showed interest in your products or services. Effective campaigns should have geographical relevance.

8. Google Trends for analyzing competitors

Google Trends not only guides you on what your potential customers use the internet to seek from your industry. It also gives you insights into what your competitors have been up to, for example, it shows the search queries trending for your competition, now and within the past year.

You can use the tool to narrow down your search into seasons to see any variance in their market presence. For instance, you can see if there were any changes in pricing, such as seasonal offers and supply during different times of the year. Such findings can help you strategize how to promote your brand depending on your competitor’s business tactics.

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9. Plan your yearly calendar

In the end, you must create a search marketing plan with time-specific events. The yearly calendar will guide you in planning and creating schedules for seasonal events according to the needs of your customers. This calendar is a dynamic tool subject to review and adjustment not only to create goals but also to track them to completion.

It takes into account all the above-discussed steps and integrates them into an ecommerce marketing strategy for both web-based establishments and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Make Google Trends work for your campaign

Google Trends is a great tool to provide valuable insights into your digital marketing and content strategy. Use this knowledge to plan for content, measure the most optimal times of the year, and understand your audience.

Contact us for consultations and support for result-driven branding strategies.


Eric Ritter is the Founder & President of Digital Neighbor. He can be found on Twitter @EricRitter.

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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

Understanding the impact of your content at every touchpoint of the customer journey is essential – but that’s easier said than done. From attracting potential leads to nurturing them into loyal customers, there are many touchpoints to look into.

So how do you identify and take advantage of these opportunities for growth?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn a comprehensive approach for measuring the value of your content initiatives, so you can optimize resource allocation for maximum impact.

You’ll learn:

  • Fresh methods for measuring your content’s impact.
  • Fascinating insights using first-touch attribution, and how it differs from the usual last-touch perspective.
  • Ways to persuade decision-makers to invest in more content by showcasing its value convincingly.

With Bill Franklin and Oliver Tani of DAC Group, we unravel the nuances of attribution modeling, emphasizing the significance of layering first-touch and last-touch attribution within your measurement strategy. 

Check out these insights to help you craft compelling content tailored to each stage, using an approach rooted in first-hand experience to ensure your content resonates.

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Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to content measurement, this webinar promises valuable insights and actionable tactics to elevate your SEO game and optimize your content initiatives for success. 

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are the keywords your rivals rank for in Google’s search results. They may rank organically or pay for Google Ads to rank in the paid results.

Knowing your competitors’ keywords is the easiest form of keyword research. If your competitors rank for or target particular keywords, it might be worth it for you to target them, too.

There is no way to see your competitors’ keywords without a tool like Ahrefs, which has a database of keywords and the sites that rank for them. As far as we know, Ahrefs has the biggest database of these keywords.

How to find all the keywords your competitor ranks for

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report

The report is sorted by traffic to show you the keywords sending your competitor the most visits. For example, Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword “mailchimp.”

Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.

Since you’re unlikely to rank for your competitor’s brand, you might want to exclude branded keywords from the report. You can do this by adding a Keyword > Doesn’t contain filter. In this example, we’ll filter out keywords containing “mailchimp” or any potential misspellings:

Filtering out branded keywords in Organic keywords reportFiltering out branded keywords in Organic keywords report

If you’re a new brand competing with one that’s established, you might also want to look for popular low-difficulty keywords. You can do this by setting the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.

Finding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywordsFinding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywords

How to find keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter your competitor’s domain in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis reportCompetitive analysis report

Hit “Show keyword opportunities,” and you’ll see all the keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap reportContent gap report

You can also add a Volume and KD filter to find popular, low-difficulty keywords in this report.

Volume and KD filter in Content gapVolume and KD filter in Content gap

How to find keywords multiple competitors rank for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter the domains of multiple competitors in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis report with multiple competitorsCompetitive analysis report with multiple competitors

You’ll see all the keywords that at least one of these competitors ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap report with multiple competitorsContent gap report with multiple competitors

You can also narrow the list down to keywords that all competitors rank for. Click on the Competitors’ positions filter and choose All 3 competitors:

Selecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank forSelecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank for
  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report
Paid keywords reportPaid keywords report

This report shows you the keywords your competitors are targeting via Google Ads.

Since your competitor is paying for traffic from these keywords, it may indicate that they’re profitable for them—and could be for you, too.

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You know what keywords your competitors are ranking for or bidding on. But what do you do with them? There are basically three options.

1. Create pages to target these keywords

You can only rank for keywords if you have content about them. So, the most straightforward thing you can do for competitors’ keywords you want to rank for is to create pages to target them.

However, before you do this, it’s worth clustering your competitor’s keywords by Parent Topic. This will group keywords that mean the same or similar things so you can target them all with one page.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Export your competitor’s keywords, either from the Organic Keywords or Content Gap report
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
Clustering keywords by Parent TopicClustering keywords by Parent Topic

For example, MailChimp ranks for keywords like “what is digital marketing” and “digital marketing definition.” These and many others get clustered under the Parent Topic of “digital marketing” because people searching for them are all looking for the same thing: a definition of digital marketing. You only need to create one page to potentially rank for all these keywords.

Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"

2. Optimize existing content by filling subtopics

You don’t always need to create new content to rank for competitors’ keywords. Sometimes, you can optimize the content you already have to rank for them.

How do you know which keywords you can do this for? Try this:

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  1. Export your competitor’s keywords
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
  4. Look for Parent Topics you already have content about

For example, if we analyze our competitor, we can see that seven keywords they rank for fall under the Parent Topic of “press release template.”

Our competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" clusterOur competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" cluster

If we search our site, we see that we already have a page about this topic.

Site search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templatesSite search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templates

If we click the caret and check the keywords in the cluster, we see keywords like “press release example” and “press release format.”

Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"

To rank for the keywords in the cluster, we can probably optimize the page we already have by adding sections about the subtopics of “press release examples” and “press release format.”

3. Target these keywords with Google Ads

Paid keywords are the simplest—look through the report and see if there are any relevant keywords you might want to target, too.

For example, Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter.”

Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

If you’re ConvertKit, you may also want to target this keyword since it’s relevant.

If you decide to target the same keyword via Google Ads, you can hover over the magnifying glass to see the ads your competitor is using.

Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

You can also see the landing page your competitor directs ad traffic to under the URL column.

The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”

Learn more

Check out more tutorials on how to do competitor keyword analysis:

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Google Confirms Links Are Not That Important

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Google confirms that links are not that important anymore

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed at a recent search marketing conference that Google needs very few links, adding to the growing body of evidence that publishers need to focus on other factors. Gary tweeted confirmation that he indeed say those words.

Background Of Links For Ranking

Links were discovered in the late 1990’s to be a good signal for search engines to use for validating how authoritative a website is and then Google discovered soon after that anchor text could be used to provide semantic signals about what a webpage was about.

One of the most important research papers was Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment by Jon M. Kleinberg, published around 1998 (link to research paper at the end of the article). The main discovery of this research paper is that there is too many web pages and there was no objective way to filter search results for quality in order to rank web pages for a subjective idea of relevance.

The author of the research paper discovered that links could be used as an objective filter for authoritativeness.

Kleinberg wrote:

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“To provide effective search methods under these conditions, one needs a way to filter, from among a huge collection of relevant pages, a small set of the most “authoritative” or ‘definitive’ ones.”

This is the most influential research paper on links because it kick-started more research on ways to use links beyond as an authority metric but as a subjective metric for relevance.

Objective is something factual. Subjective is something that’s closer to an opinion. The founders of Google discovered how to use the subjective opinions of the Internet as a relevance metric for what to rank in the search results.

What Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered and shared in their research paper (The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – link at end of this article) was that it was possible to harness the power of anchor text to determine the subjective opinion of relevance from actual humans. It was essentially crowdsourcing the opinions of millions of website expressed through the link structure between each webpage.

What Did Gary Illyes Say About Links In 2024?

At a recent search conference in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes made a comment about how Google doesn’t really need that many links and how Google has made links less important.

Patrick Stox tweeted about what he heard at the search conference:

” ‘We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.’ @methode #serpconf2024″

Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted a confirmation of that statement:

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“I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”

Why Links Matter Less

The initial state of anchor text when Google first used links for ranking purposes was absolutely non-spammy, which is why it was so useful. Hyperlinks were primarily used as a way to send traffic from one website to another website.

But by 2004 or 2005 Google was using statistical analysis to detect manipulated links, then around 2004 “powered-by” links in website footers stopped passing anchor text value, and by 2006 links close to the words “advertising” stopped passing link value, links from directories stopped passing ranking value and by 2012 Google deployed a massive link algorithm called Penguin that destroyed the rankings of likely millions of websites, many of which were using guest posting.

The link signal eventually became so bad that Google decided in 2019 to selectively use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the change to nofollow was made because of the link signal.

Google Explicitly Confirms That Links Matter Less

In 2023 Google’s Gary Illyes shared at a PubCon Austin that links were not even in the top 3 of ranking factors. Then in March 2024, coinciding with the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update, Google updated their spam policies documentation to downplay the importance of links for ranking purposes.

Google March 2024 Core Update: 4 Changes To Link Signal

The documentation previously said:

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“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

The update to the documentation that mentioned links was updated to remove the word important.

Links are not just listed as just another factor:

“Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

At the beginning of April Google’s John Mueller advised that there are more useful SEO activities to engage on than links.

Mueller explained:

“There are more important things for websites nowadays, and over-focusing on links will often result in you wasting your time doing things that don’t make your website better overall”

Finally, Gary Illyes explicitly said that Google needs very few links to rank webpages and confirmed it.

Why Google Doesn’t Need Links

The reason why Google doesn’t need many links is likely because of the extent of AI and natural language undertanding that Google uses in their algorithms. Google must be highly confident in its algorithm to be able to explicitly say that they don’t need it.

Way back when Google implemented the nofollow into the algorithm there were many link builders who sold comment spam links who continued to lie that comment spam still worked. As someone who started link building at the very beginning of modern SEO (I was the moderator of the link building forum at the #1 SEO forum of that time), I can say with confidence that links have stopped playing much of a role in rankings beginning several years ago, which is why I stopped about five or six years ago.

Read the research papers

Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment – Jon M. Kleinberg (PDF)

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

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