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?

Published: August 6, 2008 by Aaron Wall in google marketing Keywords


August 6, 2008 - 8:58am

My favorite search data tool is Google analytics, but it looks like I'll loosing some days maybe weeks using this new Google Insights for Search.

August 6, 2008 - 9:20am

I guess the really intersting thing is can Google be trusted the provide accurate data... the manipulate and fudge everything else, why not this too?

August 6, 2008 - 10:44am

Noticed that. Kinda nice to hopefully have more accurate data.

August 6, 2008 - 1:39pm

As they say - paralysis by analysis. Is the data accurate (do we trust Google)? If so, how do we profit from this knowledge? If new keywords are trending up, do we then optimise to those keywords....ranking changes based on new links/new content can take weeks to take effect, by then those keywords may be trending down and other newer keywords are gaining popularity. The "freshness" factor has minimal long-term gain (by its very nature) - should we rank well for topical keywords only to have to keep changing our content to keep on top of what's new and topical? It seems that whatever you do to your site, you are behind the trend unless you predict the trend yourself.

August 6, 2008 - 1:41pm

I think this type of tool is nice for mining new phrases and deeper keywords if you publish content on high authority domains that rank for whatever they publish content about.

August 6, 2008 - 1:49pm

Hi Aaron,

I was going to ask this underneath another post, but now that it actually fits in I can't help, but ask it:

Have the search volume estimates for Google's keyword tool proved to be anything close to accurate? Or is this not really more helpful than the green bars they used to show (though people like numbers better)?

I've asked this question on a forum before and was told I should only look at keyword data as relative volumes (nothing I didnt know before..), because such numbers are never anything near accurate...

but shouldn't Google be able to actually show us somewhat accurate numbers? Or are they're estimates WAY off, too?


August 6, 2008 - 4:19pm

I performed some analysis of this here
I'll be posting an update with July's figures this week, but here's a spoiler - they change, but still aren't very accurate!

August 6, 2008 - 10:58pm

Nice review Matt...seems like a good strategy might be to always have a couple one word campaigns that are used to track the accuracy of such tools (and any new tools Google releases).

August 6, 2008 - 1:50pm

On some queries they are a bit off, but generally they are fairly accurate.

August 6, 2008 - 6:00pm


August 6, 2008 - 6:01pm

I found this tool really useful for keyword research and searches. I used to do this kind of research on adcenter labs, Adwords Keyword Tool and also Google Trends.

I´ll be watching closely for deep analysis on this tool to find how reliable can it be.

Thanks for sharing Aaron.

August 6, 2008 - 7:25pm

yes its a nice tool but here is something i would like to share.. i did a keyword analysis on adwords tool where it showed me the avg search volume on KW1 > KW2 but when i searched for the same two keywords on Insights, its just the opposite!!!! I dont know which one to believe. Is this because the data shown in Insights is 'relative' and not absolute?

Also, on digging how the data is being scaled Google says that “When comparing multiple search terms, each subsequent term will be scaled relative to the first one entered”, however, even when I switch the positions of the keywords it still shows me the same values. Don’t you think if the relativity depends upon the keyword first entered, it should change?

any help is much appreciated. my whole exercise of keyword analysis of the past week seems to dissolve in thin air..

August 6, 2008 - 10:47pm

I think their regular keyword tool allows you to look at exact match search volumes. This tool computes broad match volume (so a search for credit cards shows up under the word credit as well).

August 7, 2008 - 10:48am

well i dont think so.. the regular keyword tool has a specific box that allows you to search for whatever way you want i.e. Broad / Exact... but I still am looking for an answer to my q posted above!! :(

August 11, 2008 - 3:13am

There were several keywords I've tried searching in Market Samurai at the beginning of a new project. It seems the software gets stuck forever and ever and never fetches any keywords. Is anyone else having this problem? One of the keywords I've tried is "cooking"

Is it because it's too broad for initial keywords search? Or...does it have to do with time of day (US - evening) when there are more people using the server?


August 11, 2008 - 4:42am

No need to use a proprietary software tool to access this data. You can get it for free here

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