Using Google Insights for Search for SEO
Effective keyword research is no doubt the most important aspect to any SEO campaign. If you don’t target the keyword searches which will bring relevant traffic to your site, you will have great difficulty growing your business through organic search traffic.
However, knowing what are the best keywords to target simply isn’t enough. You need to know when to focus on specific terms to ensure your SEO (and all other online marketing) efforts are as effective as possible. Thankfully Google makes these decisions a lot easier by offering a huge volume of actionable data within their Insights for Search tool.
With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. This information can be vital to an online marketer to help make decisions on what keywords to target, when to target them, and how much budget to assign to respective SEO/PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns.
Targeting seasonal search terms
To illustrate the importance of when to focus on specific terms, I’ll look at one of the most extreme seasonal search term examples “Christmas gifts”: You can use Insights for Search to identify when people start to perform Google searches for holiday purchases.
From the graph (above) you can see that four months in advance of Christmas day people are already getting in the festive spirit and planning their gift purchases. In October, there is a noticeable rise which increases throughout November, and then spikes in the week of the 12 – 18 December.
Online retailers can use this information to prepare their stock levels, change the design and messages on their website to offer greater prominence of Christmas gifts/offers at the perfect times; as well as gauge when to assign budget to their PPC campaigns to maximise the benefit from spikes in search traffic.
From a SEO perspective, online marketers can plan and deploy new landing pages specific to seasonal search terms. Link building campaigns which focus on improving the rankings of ‘Christmas’ related product terms can be implemented in advance of seasonal spikes to help websites get a first-mover advantage on their competitors.
Combining Insights for Search & the External Keyword Tool
Within the graphs displayed by Insights for Search, 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. This unfortunately means that the specific number of keyword searches for a given term is not displayed.
However, the ‘Search Terms’ section of the dashboard (above) provides you with an insight into the most common related search terms. Simply take these terms and analyse them using the Google External Keyword Tool and you can identify the traffic volume as an actual number for specific search terms. By combining these two tools you can conduct keyword research with much greater confidence and efficiency.
Leveraging search volume spikes using Google Hot Searches
With Hot Searches, you can see a snapshot of what’s on the public’s collective mind by viewing the fastest-rising searches for different points of time. A list of today’s top 40 fastest-rising search queries in the U.S (which are updated hourly) are displayed within this subsection of Insights for Search. You also have the option to drill-down to find specific information related to each keyword such as peak search time, search related keywords, top web results, news results, and blog results.
Using Hot Trends data you can quickly identify keywords and topics which might be related to your websites niche. Targeting these keywords (and ‘search related keywords’) you can leverage search volume spikes by publishing relevant and topical information on your site.
Summarizing Insights for Search and SEO
On its own, Insights for Search is a very useful tool to help you prepare for spikes in search volumes which are related to your offerings. However, to make the most out of the information it provides it is vital that you use another keyword search volume tool (such as Google’s External Keyword Tool) to ensure you can identify the specific levels of search volume and competition for respective terms. Combining this information will allow you to choose the right keywords to focus on at the best time to do so.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do my Christmas shopping.