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Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in All Matters SEO

Google Tools You May Not Know Exist

Are you like me and always looking for new ways to improve Digital Marketing efforts? What better way than right from the source!? Here are a few of Google’s very own tools that you may not know exist:

My Maps

With My Maps, an extension of Google Maps, users can create customizable maps that show nearby restaurants, attractions and points of interest. Users are able to drop Map Markers, draw walking/driving routes, measure distances and even title and save the map to share with others.

My Maps

Google Trends

We first gave you the lowdown on Google Trends with our February blog post “Google Trends Guide for Marketers” but on June 17th, Google announced “the biggest expansion of Google Trends since 2012.” The first big update is a redesigned home page that displays a ranked list of trending stories. In a recent Google blog post, Google reports gathering the trends from combining YouTube and Google News information. See the redesigned home page below:

Google Trends Updated

The next big update is more in depth, real-time data for the more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month. Users can pull this data when exploring topics by adjusting the time range to as recent as the past hour:

Google Trends part 2

Google Correlate

Google Correlate allows users to find search patterns that correspond with real-world trends by either uploading their own data or searching for a specific term. Google says this tool was designed because “they wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse.” The tool contains web search activity data from January 2003 to present and while correlation does not imply causation, it is interesting to see what topics correlate. It can be entertaining as well, who knew “dc hotels” and “abdominal exercises” had such a strong correlation as search terms!?

Google Correlate

Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

In a recent blog post, we shared information about one of Google’s most recent algorithm updates, “mobilegeddon.” Is your website mobile-friendly? Find out using this helpful Google tool.

Google mobile test tool

YouTube Dashboard

Track what videos are being viewed and by who with YouTube Dashboard. Narrow down by country, city, age group and gender. The dashboard also allows you to compare different demographic results. I see this as being a great tool to pair along with Facebook Insights. What better way to know what type of videos your Facebook followers might be interested in than to use Facebook Insights to gather followers’ demographics and then plug that into YouTube Dashboard!?

youtube dashboard

Do you have a favorite Google tool to use? Share what it is and what you use it for in the comments section below and let’s get this conversation started!

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in All Matters SEO, Stats, Data and Analytics

Google Trends Guide for Marketers

With keyword visibility data declining and market research costly, digital marketers are turning to creative resources (such as Facebook Graph search) to learn more about their audience, competition and content strategy.

Enter Google Trends. Born in 2012 out of Google Insights for Search, Google Trends uses search data to show how often a particular term was searched. Not only is the tool free and easy to use, it is also customizable, allowing you to look at specific date ranges or regions and make comparisons. Google Trends is a powerful resource for marketers to learn more about the trend of a search query and to inspire popular content ideas.

The functionality of Google Trends can be divided into 2 purposes:

  1. Trends: View current or past trending search queries
  2. Explore: Research the popularity of search queries

Trends

Trends provides timely insights into hot topics during a specific time range. Similar to Twitter’s Trending list, Trends showcases popular search queries that are generating a lot of buzz, such as the State of the Union Address, Super Bowl and Blizzard of 2015.

GoogleTrendsJan20

When you first visit the Google Trends website, the home page showcases various interesting lists and charts. This is the “News Feed” of Google Trends, focused on interesting trending search queries.

GoogleTrends

In the upper left-hand corner, several options are listed in the drop down Trends menu:

  • Year in Search 2014: Recap of 2014 search trends
  • Trending Searches: Ranking of current popular search queries for the day
  • Trending on YouTube: Ranking of current popular YouTube video search queries for the day
  • Top Charts: Lists of most popular search queries each month sorted into categories which can be filtered by country, category and month (back to 2004)

So how does a marketer use this information? Consider the Trends lists an ever-replenishing source of content inspiration, making for timely posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Is extreme winter weather trending? Snap an Instagram photo of your pool or beach, inviting shivering followers to travel south to warm up. Is the new iPhone release trending? Send out a Tweet, reminding followers to download the Marriott app on their new phones.

GoogleTrendsTopics

Not all Google Trends topics are social-worthy or appropriate for your profile, so use the trending content carefully and sparingly. Since your social content should be hotel or travel related, Google Trends should only serve as an inspiration and not be over used.

Explore

In Google Trend’s Explore tool, users can research search query trends within a specific time or region. It is important to note that Google Trends does not show hard numbers, so users will only get a sense of relative popularity of that term, such as seasonality or year-over-year growth.

  • Search Terms: Compare the popularity of up to 5 terms over time

GoogleTrendsSearchTerms

  • Locations: Compare popularity of a search query in specific regions

GoogleTrendsLocations

  • Time Ranges: Compare popularity of a search query over a particular time range

GoogleTrendsTimeRanges

For businesses, the Explore tool is handy when you are curious about larger regional or seasonal trends. It can help answer questions like “how did this citywide event impact search interest?” or “is my decrease in natural search visits out of the ordinary or seasonal?” Just think of how much easier it would be to plan content out for the year, already knowing the time span of natural search interest for annual events, food and tourist attractions, and then plan PRs and website content accordingly.

In addition to search query popularity research, the Explore feature makes it easy to keep an eye on competitors. Because Google Trends will not return data for search queries with insufficient searches, specific hotel names will not return Google Trends data (unless you are a larger and more well-known hotel.) However, it is easy to monitor the popularity of large brands or new competition entering the market. For example, in their recent public letter to their shareholders, Netflix cited Google Trends data to show the drastic increase in popularity of search queries for their newest competitor, Popcorn Time, in the Netherlands.

GoogleTrends1

Warning: Because Google Trends is limitless, the site can be a huge time suck! The tool also has a great Help Center in case you get stuck. Have fun practicing with the Trends and Explore tools and share any interesting finds in the comments below.

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