Google offers a variety of ways to get a handle on what is happening in the search world (at least in the Google search world, which is essentially THE search world) for different search terms and/or websites you may be interested in. With the variety of options available, it can be hard to keep track of the best place to go to get the info you need. Here’s the run-down:
1. Google Trends (www.google.com/trends)
Lets you see what the world is searching for by comparing relative traffic of search terms, as well as displaying fast-rising search terms. Enter search terms get comparison of relative search volume of each term over the last 5 years on a normalized scale. Can be filtered by country, sub-region, and time periods as short as last 30 days. Incorporates references to relevant news stories along with scale of news volume.
Sign-in to Google account for some extra data features. Can be exported as CSV.
2. Google Trends for Websites (trends.google.com/websites)
In June, 2008, Google added the capability to see trends in visitors to websites within the Google Trends application. Click the ‘Websites’ option at the top left in Google Trends, enter websites, and you will get a chart comparing estimated daily unique visitors to each site. The site has to have pretty high traffic to show up – it looks like the cut-off is around 2,000+ daily unique visitors (although I’m sure other factors are involved).
Great for comparing relative volumes and visitor trends between you and competitors, or for spotting traffic trends among larger sites that may be relevance to your traffic. Also shows other sites that visitors to the sites being looked at have visited. Unfortunately, no option to download to CSV with this one.
3. Google Insights for Search (www.google.com/insights/search/)
Google Insights for Search, released in August, 2008, provides even more flexibility and functionality for advertisers and marketers wanting to improve their understanding of search behaviour. Everything Google Trends has, plus the option to filter data by region, time period (more options that Google Trends), and category right from the get-go. The ‘Category’ options means that queries can be filtered by industry/search category, so you can zoom in on a specific area of interest and see how your chosen terms are trending relative to category traffic. The options to compare by time ranges or by location are also available.
The data is not absolute search volume, it’s normalized and scaled from 0-100, but still excellent for comparing different search terms.
Plus you get regional heatmap, search volume on terms related to the ones you are enquiring about, and relevant rising terms (all of which you can drill down further into). And you can download as CSV.
Now this is real web marketing intelligence!
[Addendum: A major benefit of Insights for Search is that it provides data for search queries that have much lower volume than are available on Google Trends]