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Getting Started with Google Trends

 
 

Google Trends is a website by Google that tells what people are searching for on Google-owned platforms (Google Search, Google Shopping and YouTube). It allows to get the relative search volume of searches across various regions and languages for a specific period for one to five different terms or topics.

It is particularly powerful in understanding how different topics are evolving in popularity in comparison to each other. As no absolute search volume is shared, this is not a tool to understand how much a certain topic is looked up online on Google platforms.

This guide explains the bare minimum to correctly use Google Trends.
If you are planning to use this tool frequently, we strongly advise to follow these official lessons by Google to avoid common misinterpretation mistakes.

 
 

In Google Trends you can either select topics or specific search terms to compare.

A topic is a group of search queries, including misspellings and acronyms, related to a specific theme. Next, they cover all languages. A search term on the other hand does not contain misspellings, acronyms, related queries or any translation in any other language. As such, it is always advised to select topics over terms if possible.

ExampleTypeExample of matching queriesExplanation
grocery listsearch termgrocery list essentials, list of grocery stores, coronavirus grocery listWith no punctuation, your results will contain both words in any order, along with other words. No misspellings, spelling variations, synonyms, plural or singular versions of your terms will be used.
"grocery list"search termgrocery list essentials, coronavirus grocery listDouble quotation marks around your term give results that include that exact term, possibly with words before and after.
pantry + recipesearch termpantry cabinet, recipe box, chili recipeResults can include the words pantry OR recipe
lunch - boxsearch termlunch ideas, lunch bagResults will include the word lunch, but exclude the word box. This is usefull when searching a term that's part of a phrase that is flooding the web and risks dominating your results.
lunchtopiclunch box, insulated lunch bags, ランチ バッグ Results will include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, close variations fo the term and translations in any language.

 

 
 

When using Google Trends to explore a topic that is relevant to multiple contexts, you can filter your results by search category to get the most relevant data. For example, if you search for "jaguar", you can add a category to indicate if you mean the animal or the car manufacturer.

To use categories, under the search box, click on All categories, then choose a category.

 

You might notice when browsing topics that common multiple meanings have already been split in seperate topics avoiding the need to use categories.

 
 

Google Trends visualizes results with different graphs. Next we will explain in short how to read each graph.

 
 

The Interest over Time graph shows a term's or topic's popularity over time. Numbers on the graph don't represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0 to 100, where each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100.

A line trending downward means that a search term's relative popularity is decreasing - not necessarily that the total number of searches for that terms is decreasing, but that its popularity compard to other searches is shrinking.

 
 

When you search for multiple terms on Trends, you'll see a comparative map showing which term or topic is most searched in each region. The color intensity of each region represents the percentage of searches of the leading search term or topic in that region.

 
 

At the bottom of your results page, the Related queries chart can show you the Top and Rising terms associated wthin any topic or trending story.

Rising terms are terms that had the most significant growth in volume over the selected time period. The percentage is the growth compared to the previous period. If you see "Breakout" instead of a percentage, it means the search term grew by more than 5000%.

Top terms are terms that are most frequently searched over the selected time period. The figure shows the relative search volume on a scale from 0 to 100 where 100 is the most commonly searched query, 50 is a query searched half as often as the most popular query, and so on.

 

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