Google Trends: What can it do for your business?

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Rather than just track your own performance, you can chart Google searches for your business alongside searches for your competitors – offering a snapshot of how you're faring in the market.

From seeing what's popular to keeping an eye on your competitors, Google Trends lets you view the world through Google's eyes.

Google handles a phenomenal 3.5 billion searches on average every day, and it's the first place many people turn to when they want to know something, find something or buy something. And thanks to Google Trends, which organises a large amount of this data, you can get insight into search behaviour so you can better focus your online efforts.

Group of people dancing in pairs

What’s hot?

Google Trends makes it easy to see what people are searching for right now on Google and YouTube. “Trending Search” lists are available for each country and they're updated every few hours so you can follow trends during the day. You can also subscribe to alerts regarding certain search terms in specific countries.

Along with insight, Google Trends offers a wealth of historical data. You can dissect the Top Charts from years gone by, broken into key categories. It's also possible to dive into specific topics to chart their popularity over the last 10 years, with links to relevant news items.

From here it's easy to compare search terms and plot their popularity in a graph to see how people's interests have changed over time. A map of the world indicates regional trends – you can even press play to watch interest wax and wane in different countries. For further insight you might drill down on regions and cities to see exactly where interest is coming from.

So for example, an international automotive manufacturer could track searches for "sedan" versus "SUV" over time, with Google Trends revealing that interest in SUVs is growing faster, particularly in Australia. Meanwhile a small Australian business could look at interest in AFL in its region compared to NRL, and use that to make decisions regarding local sponsorships.

If you're contemplating expansion, Google Trends data can be a useful way to assess the demand for new products and services in various locations. Combined with web traffic tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends can also help you choose topics when writing blog content for your website or making your social media presence more topical.

How does your business rank?

Type your business type into Google Trends and you'll immediately see whether interest in your industry is growing. The graph makes it easy to identify seasonal spikes, plus there's a forecast feature that can extrapolate these trends into the future.

The “Related Searches” list offers further insight, indicating what people were actually looking for when they searched for your industry. You can rank related search terms by overall popularity or by growth, then drill down on individual terms to see which keywords and topics are sending people your way. It's a useful way to hone your website's Search Engine Optimisation.

How are your competitors performing?

Rather than just track your own performance, you can use search terms to chart Google searches for your bigger competitors – offering a snapshot of what’s driving traffic to their website.

Once again you can narrow these down to specific time frames and track what people are looking for when they search and how’s it’s changed over time. 

Learn the latest marketing trends from Smarter.

Receive actionable advice and insights straight into your inbox, fortnightly. Sign up here.

Subscribe now

Image shows two people using free Wi-Fi in a café.
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
Be my guest: How guest Wi-Fi services benefit small businesses as well as customers

While ordering a coffee or taking a break while shopping, many customers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi. However, there are many ways small businesses can also benefit by pr...

Example of some of the analysis featured in the Business Benchmark Report.
Success Stories
Success Stories
How does your business compare? Find out with a tailored benchmarking report

Every 2018 Telstra Business Awards entrant receives a custom benchmarking report packed with tailored business analysis relative to other small businesses, plus clear advice on...

Violet Roumeliotis, 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year.
Success Stories
Success Stories
Press for progress: Business Woman of the Year helps families find their feet

Violet Roumeliotis, Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year 2017, shares her experiences as a migrant and woman helping to improve people's lives. As told to Stuart Ridle...

Jen Geale, Mountain Bikes Direct
Success Stories
Success Stories
Being digital-only gives Mountain Bikes Direct the competitive advantage

Since launching online in 2012, Mountain Bikes Direct has supplied customers Australia-wide with specialist mountain bike equipment. Co-founder Jen Geale says e-commerce made i...