Learn How to Harness the Power of Google Trends

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Definition: Google Trends is a website from Google that allows you to see visualizations of what others have been collectively searching for with Google. Google Trends graphs data, such as how often a term is used over time and where geographically most people are searching for a given term. You can also compare more than one term to view relative popularity.  

Explore Mode

If you don't have a specific search phrase in mind, the best way to understand Google Trends (and kill a little time doing something really interesting) is just by using Google Trends' Explore suggestions. Google gives suggestions, such as the names of presidential candidates and the states in which searches for each candidate is most popular (not to be mistaken with where each candidate is most popular - just the searches). Click on an example for more detailed information, such as related searches and interest over time. Keep drilling down to find breakdowns on related queries over time. This is an endless rabbit hole. 

Google Trending Searches or "Hot Trends"

Google Trends includes a frequently updated tab on current trending searches. This list used to be known as Google Hot Trends. Trending searches are search queries that are rising in popularity rather than just the key phrases that are the most popular in raw volume.  This isn't an absolute measure of popularity, as the most popular searches, according to Google, tend to be pretty steady over time. Trending searches are generally updated within an hour or so. 

You can explore a trending search by hovering over the item with your mouse and then clicking on the Explore In-Depth button. You can also share a link to a trending item through social media or by email. 

This used to be broken down as Hot Topics and Hot Searches. Hot Searches measured current trending searches - or searches that had seen recent upticks in popularity, while Hot Topics was more about general Internet buzz as measured by social media streams like Facebook and Twitter. The Hot Topics breakdown slowly changed into Top Charts. 

Top Charts

Top Charts shows trending queries around musicians, books, animals, cities, cars, and other items. An increase in search volume does not necessarily indicate an increase in favorability. Top cities, for example, often lists cities that have recently seen a weather disaster. People are simply more curious about the city than they were the week before. 

YouTube Trends or "Hot Videos"

You can look at YouTube trending videos (or "Hot Videos") through Google Trends. Note that this is a slightly different list than what you'd find on YouTube's list of trending videos. The refresh rate for YouTube trending videos on Google Trends is also a little slower than it is for Google Trending Searches. 


If you are interested in following a topic more closely, you can subscribe in order to receive alerts by email.  

Google Trends is on the Web at  www.google.com/trends

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