Google Trends for Small Businesses

Google Trends for Small Businesses

Early in my career when I was trying to figure out search engine optimization and paid search, I discovered Google Trends. This is a site where you can see various search trends around the world, and drill in to certain queries for your own region. 

Before I ever had access to paid tools, Google Trends helped me search for relevant keywords to use for blog articles and ideas for hashtags. 

Recently, I’ve challenged myself to go back to those old-school methods. Mostly out of curiosity, but also with a fresh perspective, to see if I’d learn something new. 

After stumbling down a path of various global search trends, I found myself hungry and interested in the spike in search queries for Pho, Ramen and Soba. 

Google Trends search for Pho, Ramen and Soba worldwide from 2004 to present.
Search trends worldwide for Pho, Ramen and Soba from 2004 to Present

After digging in, I realized that Google Trends could be used for local businesses that don’t have the budget for big SEO tools like SEMrush or even Moz.

Tips for Using Google Trends

So using this delicious trend, let’s act like we own a restaurant and see how we can use these insights to help us in our marketing efforts. 

Drill Down by Region

By clicking on the map for any of these searches, you can drill down for more information that is specific to the state, metro or city you’re most interested in.

This is interesting if you have multiple locations or if you want to see what’s trending in a sister city, that could spark new ideas. 

Search trends for Pho, Ramen and Soba in Kansas from 2004 to present
Search trends for Pho, Ramen and Soba in Kansas from 2004 to present

Comparative Interest

I’ve used this before for ways to optimize advertising campaigns. Seeing what the interest for certain key terms by region could help a multi-location business understand what messages to run and where to run them. It can also help determine how to allocate budget.

For example, if you’re advertising a new ramen menu, you might want to put your dollars in Kansas City and Topeka, where the interest is higher than in markets like Joplin and Wichita.

Trend breakdown by metro for Pho, Ramen and Soba
Trend breakdown by metro for Pho, Ramen and Soba

Another thing to consider is that since the search interest is higher in these regions, you could create an engagement optimization strategy where the thought would be to advertise in an already interested market, build engagement and pay fewer dollars to extend your reach.

Related Queries

If you don’t have access to using Google’s Keyword planner or an SEO tool like Moz or SEMrush, you could use this for content ideas or to identify areas of optimization.

Related queries to Pho in Wichita-Hutchinson Metro region
Related queries to Pho in Wichita-Hutchinson Metro region

In this example, we see that “Pho Near Me” is used frequently, which indicates a Google Map search. If you don’t have a profile set up on Google My Business, you might be missing out on people looking for you right now. 

For other business categories, you might try playing with the date range to see if you can identify cyclical trends. Let’s say you own a boutique, start searching some random categories of products you offer to see what you find. Add these keywords to your product description in your site. 

Where are We Dining?

Admittedly, you can go down quite the rabbit hole on Google Trends, so don’t let this suck up your time. If you are really trying to optimize your website or create a more robust content plan, you might be better off paying for a tool that can deliver quickly. And probably a professional that can help give you a content plan that makes sense. 

Now that we’re all sufficiently hungry, what delicious trends are you ready to dig into? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.