Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Google search was free of Pandas and Penguins, there was a little tool called “Google Insights for Search.” It coexisted with another called “Google Trends”, and together they provided a full gamut of information for search marketers everywhere. Beautiful times were had tracking search trends, comparing keyword popularity, and developing marketing strategies. However, their time together was tragically cut short in late 2012 when Google merged the two into a single “New Google Trends.”
So, what were “Google Trends” and “Google Insights for Search”?
The original Google Trends was essentially a tool targeted at advertisers and marketers that compared search volumes. It took the terms that you entered and calculated a Search Volume Index, a representative number of the popularity your terms. By calculating the actual search volume of the keyword across a time period over the average worldwide lifetime traffic of your target keyword, the searcher was able to get a sense of how well search terms were doing relative to one another. A secondary feature of Trends was being able to determine the hottest topics and search terms in certain countries at the time.
In 2008, Google took the tool a step further and developed a more advanced version of “Trends” named “Google Insights for Search”. This tool took keyword comparison to a new level, adding a greater depth of data that marketers can access. Now, marketers were able to compare search terms according to locations and time periods, in addition to the original keyword comparisons. It also generated a graphic extension of the data as a heat map, highlighting the differences in keyword activity by region. One other key change between this and Google Trends was the metrics used to quantify activity in the primary chart, with a numeric scale from 0 to 100 representing the values (100 being the highest relative activity point).
Alright, that sounds fantastic. So, why the heck did Google merge them into one?
If you noticed, the Trends and Insights for Search were functionally similar. A lot of the data presented in the former was further elaborated on in the latter. This was a natural development of the tools when you consider that the original intent for Insights was a more advanced and in-depth version of Trends. But now that they both existed simultaneously, the utility of the original Trends was reduced, so the next logical step was the combine the two into one: The New (Comprehensive) Google Trends.
The new Google Trends? Tell me what's changed!
In the simplest terms, Google took bits and pieces from each and brought them together into a more-complete search marketing tool. From “Google Trends”, the Hottest Topics and Search feature was pulled in and from “Insights for Search,” the in-depth data analysis feature was pulled in to form this new animal. Additionally, Conductor’s own Enterprise SEO Platform, Searchlight, also provides this insight and takes it to the next level by presenting it alongside your personalized information.
Now I know this begs the question, will there be any changes in tactics when using I use this new tool? With the New Google Trends, you can still employ the same tactics and strategies as you always have when extracting data for analysis from Insights for Search. Determining the best markets for geographical keyword targeting or examining the seasonality of search terms would basically use the same processes.
However, this tool can even be a big help in content marketing, one of the hottest topics in SEO right now. Google Trends can be used to seed terms and topics that are gaining traction to develop new content around. Another possible strategy with Google Trends is to use it to determine which search term provides the largest opportunity. For example, the difference in searcher interest between the words ‘automobile’ and ‘car’ can alter the phrasing you use in your content. If you discover that ‘car’ has consistently higher searcher interest than ‘automobile’, it may be in your best interest to use that term instead in your pieces.
In the end, although we lost one of our staple tools, search marketers gained a richer, more cohesive tool. So rest in peace Google Insights for Search; you’ve had a great run, but we’ve already moved on to the New Google Trends.