Google Insights for Search

Google recently added search volume estimates to their keyword tool. They also recently launched Google Trends, Google Hot Trends, Google Trends for Websites, and the Google Ad Planner. And now Google hits the competitive research market with yet another product - Google Insights for Search

Insights for Search shows the following search data

  • relative keyword search trends for keywords (and A/B comparisons between keywords)
  • top related keywords and hottest rising related keywords
  • category based top keywords and category based hottest rising searches (and overall top 10 rising searches)
  • category based keyword search volume trends, and the relative growth of a keyword compared to its category
  • countries, states, and cities where a keyword query is popular
  • you can also mash up many data points, like celebrity searches in New York in the last 30 days

Keywords are weighted such that their top volume day is anchored at 100, and other days are represented as a relative percentage of that search volume.

Just like their Google Trends tool, by default Google Insights for Search defaults to the broad matched version of a keyword, so a word like credit will show more volume than credit cards, even though credit cards gets more search volume (because terms like credit cards and credit reports count as search volume for the word credit). Credit vs credit cards pictured below:

This type of tool can also be used to see how related some generic concepts are to more specific related concepts, and how much news coverage and marketplace changes move the relative importance of different keywords in a marketplace. Public relations experts will be able to use graphs like the following to say "hey our brand is catching up with the market leader."

Rather than brand lift and PR lift being an abstract concept, we can compare brands in real time and see which markets resonate with our brands and marketing. When marketing is working *really* well you can consider boosting early success in the most receptive markets via offline advertising, social interaction, and live events. If I wanted to hold an offline seminar guess what state is most receptive to my brand? The one I live in. That's pretty cool. :)

And the problem with such tools? It is easy for me to lose days or weeks playing with them. What are your favorite search data tools? What creative ways do you use them?

By 2009 Will PPC = AdWords? As Keywords & Industries Evolve...

I created a new training module talking about how language in new industries changes over time, how you can track change, and how you can take advantage of structural changes. I made the first 1/3 of it freely available, but the action items are for subscribers only.

I am still trying to figure out how to balance creating premium members only content and publish many posts to the blog. Which of the following ideas do you like best?

  • make one out of every few freely available forever
  • make a portion freely available forever
  • make new content freely available in its entirety and then make it exclusive after a week or some other period of time

Google Trends Adds Cool New Statistical Weighting Features

Jun 11th

Google Trends announced a cool new feature for determining the relative search volume between keywords:

Suppose you own an ice cream shop and don't know which flavors to serve, or suppose you're responsible for stocking supermarkets across the country; Trends can help you explore the popularity and seasonality of your products. To conduct your own, more detailed analyses, you can now easily export Trends data to a .csv file.

How can you use this data to build your business?

  • Predict seasonal trends, as mentioned above.
  • Better understand the relative volume of keywords to help guide SEO campaigns - especially useful for looking at longtail keyword modifiers given that this keyword data is broad matched.
  • Find what areas where different keyword versions are most popular.
  • View the brand lift of past marketing campaigns done by competitors (by cross referencing blog citations & Google news mentions with search trend data).
  • Better time marketing campaigns based on the performance of past campaigns.
  • Monitor how popular keywords come into being, and when derivatives become popular. SEO Book is far more popular than seobook (over 3X as popular - but only 50% more popular this year), and was picked up by Google Trends almost exactly 1 year prior to the less popular version.
  • Compare the growth of your brand to competing brands to understand general market growth trends.

It would be nice if Google shared this data for lower volume search terms as well, but they typically only show it for more popular search terms. The one big warning with this trend data is that it is broad matched, as easily seen when comparing credit to credit card & credit cards

7 Day Free Wordtracker Trial

Jun 9th

Our keyword tool is powered by Wordtracker's API, but if you want access to more keyword data they just announced they are offering a free 7 day trial to the full Wordtracker keyword tool.

Using Site Search Keyword Data to Create Related Content

Apr 6th

If you have a site with a large traffic stream you can use your site search data to come up with ideas on what content to create, what products to add to your store, and what keywords to bid on. Acting early on keyword data is important no matter what site you publish.

  • PPC margins In many affiliate markets the large profits happen early when the market is still inefficient, and margins are drastically lowered as more affiliates compete. Automatically adding your internal search keywords to your PPC ad accounts allows you to arbitrage the keywords while they have a fat profit margin.
  • Organic rankings if you rank early and pick up a couple self-reinforcing links it gets much harder for people entering the field later to compete with you.

If you have a strong brand you may be able to use internal search data to automatically create related searches, which creates relevant content on those pages.

Ken Robinson spoke at TED about creativity and mentioned Epiphany, the name of a new book name that he was working on.

That book has yet to come out, but enough people searched for it at Amazon.com that they added the keywords to related searches.

And since they are first to market they are already ranking in Google. When the book comes out they will already control that traffic stream.

This related searches tip can be used in a way that looks spammy or a way that looks legitimate. It is up to the user to decide how far they want to go with it. ;)

Nice Keyword Research Guide

Feb 20th

Brian Clark recently launched a great 5 part series on keyword research.

Search Spikes Lower Search Quality & Value

Feb 1st

Typically each day or each week some roughly average number of people search for a specific keyword phrase or group of phrases. Some seasonal terms may have well known seasonal spikes, but typically when spikes occur because of news the quality and value of the associated search goes down. Sure more people are searching, but the people who are searching because something is in vogue have less implied intent than those who searched out a specific product even when it is not in the news.

With the Federal Reserve announcing 2 large rate cuts in a week, that topic carried over into the mainstream news, which drove a lot of search volume for related queries

At the same time, the 4x spike in search traffic drives home how anomalous last week was, and how much pressure people are demonstrably feeling. And it also reinforces that rising rates in mortgage markets, despite the Fed cuts, aren't doing anything to relieve the mortgage pressure out there.

There are many ways to arbitrage these opportunities. Off the top of my head...

  • if your site sells ads at a high CPM and you have an excuse for inflating traffic stats, sending StumbleUpon traffic to your site can easily pay for itself
  • if ad budgets dry up you can become a more aggressive ad buyer
  • if you are in Google news or other trusted editorial positions you can get a lot of mindshare through covering the topic and being featured due to Google's promotion of universal search

There is also a hidden cost to testing or tweaking your monetization strategy during rapid changes in search volume. Unless you split test you don't know if the results are positive or negative because both lead volume and lead quality have changed drastically.

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