August 06, 2008 |
Google has introduced an addition to both Google Trends and AdWords called "Insights for Search" that is intended to help you "see what the world is searching for" (in their own words). Using this tool everyone will be able to better understand what people search for on Google and see details for certain keywords across various geographic regions, verticals and time periods for more insight.
I have played with Insights for Search for about half an hour and I can definitely recommend it to everyone who wants to understand internet users better – be it internet marketers or even bloggers trying to determine what type of content people could find more engaging.
Insights for Search offer quite a number of potential uses. One of the most powerful ones is that you can actually narrow your search by categories (with quite a long list available) to figure out which keywords are more popular in certain categories.
An additional advantage is that you can actually click the ‘Search' button without typing anything into the search field and this will give you immediate access to the most popular rising terms across all categories and regions. What's more, if you narrow this empty search to a certain category, you will receive the list of the most popular search terms of all times for this category. For example, in the "Internet" category people searched mostly for "yahoo", "msn", "myspace", "gmail", "messenger", "google", "mail", "web", "torrent", and "hotmail":
It is even more interesting to look at the heat map showing where the term you are interested in is popular. Below you will see the worldwide map for "web 2.0" that proves that web 2.0 is mostly popular in the South Eastern Asia countries (quite a surprise to me, actually):
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land has a number of great examples on how you can understand what people are most interested in but I think the general idea is clear and everyone can come up with a number of ways to use the service.
Where I see the opportunity for bloggers is that if you are trying to decide if you should write a blog post about Facebook or LinkedIn today, simply do a search for "Facebook, LinkedIn" (where the comma indicates OR and you can compare up to 5 comma separated terms) and see which network is more popular among internet users today. Maybe this will help you make a quick decision depending on what will bring you better search traffic. Of course I am not suggesting that you build your editorial policy based on such data and there's no doubt that you'd be better off writing insightful posts on the topic you care about than about some nonsense people seem to be fascinated this month. But still it won't hurt if you understand the hot trends anyway.
Same is also true for all SEO types: if you make your living creating keyword-rich content (and doing tricks to make it noticeable), it will no doubt be useful to see if you should expect any search traffic for those keywords at all. So I think Insights for Search will soon become quite a popular tool among SEO specialists helping them figure out the potential of this or that keyword better.
Of course, Google search is not the only tool online that people use to demonstrate their interest in this or that particular topic. For example, instead of searching for the topic on Google, people may keep reading blogs on the subject daily via feed reader without doing any single search on it. But I think the general trend is clear anyway: if the information is of interest to people, they will most certainly interact with it everywhere – starting from searching for it and on to watching videos about it or bookmarking some pieces of content about this very topic. So even if does not let you in the minds of your potential users, you will at least get a general idea of what they care about.