Google Trends: How To Use & Everything You Need To Know [2020]

Learn what Google Trends is, how it works, how to use it for keyword research, and more and discover trends earlier to help you stay ahead of others.

What Is Google Trends?

Google Trends is an analytics tool provided by Google for free that enables the search and comparison of trends. 

Google Trends Search is a powerful tool that many businesses, marketers, researchers, and many others can utilize to discover the ins and outs of trends that matters to them for every unique situation. 

Discover trends earlier when they swing up or know when to get out of business when the trends turn down. 

In this article, we will delve into what Google Trends is through its many benefits and use cases. And you will learn how to use it when you need that trend data to improve anything you desire. 

Google Trends Search

Google Trends Benefits And Use Cases

  • Market research
  • Product research
  • Keyword research for SEO
  • Trend variations by location
  • Discover seasonality
  • Determine stableness of a search term
  • Improve marketing and online advertising 
  • Find niches for products 
  • Ideas for content marketing and social media marketing
  • Brand competition comparison
  • Brand interests
  • Discover local differences in search patterns 

How Does Google Trends Work?

Google Trends launched back in 2006, which lets you explore web trend data starting from 2004. This wide range of dates available for Google Trends makes it a useful tool to accurately see how trends have developed, especially in the internet age. 

Let’s start with the basics that you need to know about the tool. 

So what do the numbers in Google Trends Mean? 

When you start using it for searching trends, the first thing you’ll notice is that Google Trends uses a score scale of 0 – 100, instead of search volumes. 

To find search volumes for the search terms you desire, you need to use keyword tools to find that out: You can use the Keyword Planner from Google Ads, for example, to verify search volumes of trend search terms.

A score of 1 means the search terms lowest point of relative popularity and 100 would mean the opposite, the highest point of relative popularity. A score of 0 tells you that there isn’t enough data for a search term. 

While search volumes might affect relative popularity, they are not the same thing. 

The benefit of the relative scoring system is that it enables you to search for many different trends, even unrelated ones, for comparison. 

The score is always relative to the other search terms you decide to search.

The scores enable you to compare unusual combinations at will, which makes analyzing for precise questions possible and opens up for creative analysis.

Where Does Google Trends Data Come From?

Google Trends data comes from five different Google sources:

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

Google Trends Data Sources

Later, we’ll go through how to use different data sources like YouTube. 

You can access data from 2004 only by searching with Web Search. The other sources enable you to go back to 2008. 

For accuracy sakes, if its not necessary in your research, using data from 2008 will have the most benefits for comparing trends across platforms. 

And that begs the question, is Google Trends accurate? 

Google trends data is accurate, but you need to understand as it uses data sources from Google. You need to decide whether in your use case that Google’s accuracy is enough. 

For example, if you’re conducting keyword research for SEO, it will be more accurate than using it for predicting future fads. 

A key point to understand the accuracy of Google Trends is that you need to use it correctly, to find the most accurate answers for your queries. 

Not using it correctly will give you the wrong answer that might lead to bad expectations of data accuracy, so keep in mind and make sure that every time you use Google Trends the right way.  

Next, we’ll explain how to use Google Trends. 

How To Use Google Trends? 

We’ll start with the basics and then cover how to use it for specific cases. 

You need to start with a search term or a topic. The search will prompt you to choose a keyword type, choose a keyword type that matches what you’re trying to achieve. 

  • Search Term Keyword Type – 
    • Will include all data from only the search term directly. 
  • Grouped Search Term Keyword Type –  
    • Will consist of data from multiple search terms that Google thinks is relevant to each other. 
    • You can spot a grouped search keyword type when you type your search term, and below you’ll find any other word other than “search term.” 

Google Trends Search Keyword Types

Even if you want to use grouped keyword types for research, remember to check from below the Related Topics and Related Queries. 

If these won’t match the topic or search term you entered, it would be best to redo the search and choose the search term keyword type instead. 

Grouped keywords may have unrelated topics grouped, which could affect the data presented to you. The search term keyword type always shows all the data from a specific word you entered, making it more reliable.

For comparing search terms against each other, add a search term with Compare.  You can choose up to five different search terms for comparison. When comparing, make sure all are the same keyword type for better results. 

Online Store Brand Trend Comparisons

Remember to check the following data filters to your searched query: 

  • Country (Can be worldwide as well!)
  • Time Range
  • Category
  • Data Source

Try a search yourself, and then, we’ll go through analyzing results. 

Analyzing Google Trends Search Data

As you have gotten a grasp of how to search, we’ll dig deeper into what and how you should interpret the data from Google Trends. 

First, what you will see is the Interest Over Time – report:

Each search terms relative popularity compared to each other in a specific time range. 

In the image below, you can, for example, see how the term digital marketing is 90% more popular than say online marketing or social media marketing on average for five years.

Interest Over Time Report Google Trends Digital Marketing

And you can also see how digital marketing has an upward trend compared to its counterparts, especially how internet marketing as a term has lost a lot of potential since late 2017 when compared.  

Secondly, you will see the Compared Breakdown By Sub-region – report : 

The report lets you discover differences in trends between sub-regions. 

This report is essential for understanding the differences in regions, as results can broadly vary from region to region. 

If we look at the same example through the lens of this report: We can see how, at the same time, digital marketing isn’t as popular as social media marketing in New Mexico.  

Compared breakdown by sub-region Google Trends

The sub-region data can be beneficial for online ad targeting in different locations. Like for Facebook Ads, SEM, or LinkedIn. As you want to optimize your ad spent wisely, targeting regions where the term is more popular is beneficial, or to find cost-saving opportunities. 

Thirdly, you will see each search term Breakdown By Region and Related Queries side by side: 

The breakdown by region functions the same as in the compared report, but the difference being now it’ll show each search term’s trends between subregions. 

Search Term Breakdown By Region and Related Queries-min

The Related Queries – Report, show you related queries for the original search term. It lets you filter the related questions by Top Or Rising if there’s enough data. 

  • The Top – Are the most popular related search queries in which the same relative scoring applies. 
  • The Rising – List queries with the most significant increase since the last period. 
    • Filtering through rising queries, you will see a percentage related to the growth of the query. 
    • Sometimes you’ll see a search term marked by ‘Breakout,’ which means queries that had a significant boost to search amounts for being new queries never searched before or had a low search amount previously. 

For more in-depth analysis, you can download Google Trends Data, each section, and breakdown reports individually as CSV.

Downloaded Google Trends Data

You can also embed a live trend tracker on chosen search terms with the embed function and pasting the code in HTML wherever you want. 

Google also has lessons to go with Trends, which you can find from here. 

For Keyword Research and SEO

Google Trends is a great free tool to expand your keyword research for SEO. Especially through the related queries; you can find completely new keywords that you didn’t realize earlier. 

For example, you discover a keyword opportunity that seems great from searching with tools. And you want to compare the trends of each one, only to learn while one keyword would have higher search volume, but it has a declining trend curve vs. the keyword with less search volume today but is trending upwards. 

The tool shouldn’t be the first place you go for keywords, but it can provide you more insights to make decisions later on. Investing early on a rising trend of a keyword is a great way to sustain growth on a website. 

For ecommerce SEO, knowing trending products and categories within your industry earlier than the competition can boost your organic traffic and increase sales. 

You want to know if your keyword show features like: 

  • Seasonality
  • Trending up or down
  • Discover if a keyword is just a fad
A Declining Trend Of EDM

By learning the features of your keywords, it helps the planning of content around it better. Remember, when searching keywords with Google Trends, that you use a time range that would make sense, or you might just fall into a fad by accident. 

As local SEO grows in importance, if you know what keywords work particularly well in your region, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition. 

For example, including these local keywords in your Google My Business profile and website can bring traffic that otherwise you couldn’t reach before.

For YouTube

Much like for keywords for websites and online stores, Google Trends is a great way to spot emerging ideas on YouTube. Approaches to either include in your YouTube SEO strategy or to find the next video idea that has more potential to become viral. 

So you have a YouTube channel, and you’re looking for the next big thing to make a video about: Start by researching search terms already related to your videos and their topics. 

Especially keep an eye out for the related queries that have the Breakout written next to them as these topics are the ones that have come in prevalence in a short time. 

Also, look for seasonality of topics from your genre, as seasonality will drive a lot of traffic when a topic relevant to your videos and help to boost your initial view count higher. 

Another tip would be to see from your YouTube Analytics which regions are the best-performing ones for you, and through the use of Google Trends to confirm how your video ideas match these regions search patterns. 

Remember to search with the grouped keywords as topics tend to work better for YouTube videos rather than strictly one search term. 

For Google Shopping and Google Ads

Knowing when to publish different campaigns around your products for Google Shopping Ads, can save you a lot of headaches and even save money. 

There are two ways of looking at this: 

  • You either use seasonality to your advantage to save costs by advertising when you’re outside the year’s peak.
  • Or you advertise when you’re at the peak of the year for maximizing visibility regardless of the costs. 

How iPhone Cases Trends Peak The Same Every Year

Depending on your goals, you can use the trends data to create a better marketing cycle around products, so you’re always advertising when it’s the most optimized time. 

Comparing ad results with trends data can indicate if a trend has shifted out from your favor and if you need to start to think differently about your ads. 

Learn about Google Ads. 

Trend Predictions

While Google Trends can’t predict the future even if the update cycle for the largest topics can be hourly, you can use trends data of the past, to find commonalities around topics that help you in data-driven decision making. 

So can Google Trends predict stock prices? No, unfortunately, the tool itself does not predict the future or work even in real-time. Nor can it see trends for stock tickers.

But if you need brand interest data for your analysis, the tool is useful for that. 

With Google Analytics and Web Analytics

How to use trend data for web analytics? Like in for your keyword research, you can use trend data to determine where to invest more time in across your website. 

It helps you discover hidden opportunities that you might have lying around your website, whether its more content optimization opportunities or preparing around seasonality. 

For example, trend data could be one of the tell-tale signs that could explain a sudden spike in traffic, and analyzing the data can help you discover more ways to make that happen again. 

You can use past data from Google Analytics and compare it with the findings from Google Trends to have more ideas on what you need to do next. 

For example, optimizing your website’s content to match a target market way of searching, can increase the traffic potential from that target market. 

Google Trends Alternatives

Google Trends stands out alone in the way you can use it to spot what’s trending now and what trended in the past.

But you can use Pinterest Trends to see what’s trending on Pinterest.

Most Google Trends alternatives are keyword tools that, while you can use them to spot trends for keywords (and using them for SEO would be more beneficial anyway), are not built in the same way for analyzing trends. 


In the end, the many use cases and benefits of Google Trends for business owners, marketers, and researchers are plenty, as you have seen from this article. 

The simplicity of the tool makes it a great additional tool to add to your workflow when you need to understand the positions of keywords and topics in the world.

Notably, it is crucial to regularly check the trend of topics that matter to your business, so you can avoid being on a downward trend. 

We hope you learned how to use Google Trends and when to use it creatively in your situation.