Need fast research for your business? Add Google Trends to your research tool kit

Since 2004, Google has released search data measured and compared over time.  Useful to identify trends, compare interests, all while helping you spot the best and most effective keywords for your website and business.  As most marketers understand, quantifying data like number of unique visitors to your website is very important, but to add that dimension of time to these numbers makes this information much more useful and valuable.

Relevant business data will help your bottom line immensely

This is the kind of research not limited to your company’s marketing, you can apply results from your keyword research to help you make other informed decisions.  A few times in the past 3 months as a web developer, I was involved with helping companies make a decision about which PHP framework (Zend, Symfony, Yii, etc) and CMS (WordPress, Drupal or Joomla) would most likely be easiest to find development talent in the future.  Deciding on the best tools with the most future compatibility by researching the Google Trends of these tools can help make sure you invest your web development team’s time and money developing in the right content management system (CMS – currently WordPress) and the right PHP Framework (if applicable — Zend and Symfony were highest ranked, though “Code Ignitor” was strong, but its company, Ellis Lab has been shopping basically for a buyer for Code Ignitor these past 2 years).

Other useful research tools

There are other useful tools out there, such as Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Keywords Research, Alexa, Web Trends, and now Adobe Analytics, among many other sites that aggregate web traffic data, that can help you isolate your website and the affect of web searches on your own web assets.  This will help you predict how many potential visitors to your website will stumble onto a page based on the text they type in to a search.

A current Google Trends example

First, let me preface this quick overview by saying I hope the best for the actor Tracy Morgan, who I just found out on Google Trends was severely injured in a car accident.  Our hope and prayers go to him and his family.  If you haven’t ever used this tool, go over to Google Trends and look around.  If you have Google or a YouTube account, you will see a familiar layout and interface — the clean “Google” layouts.  Here’s a screenshot of today’s Google Trends:


Here you see the movie “The Fault In Our Stars” along with “Orange is the New Black” and some hope for America — there is still some interest in the search term “D Day” along with Miley Cyrus — that’s “D Day” without the “dash” between the “D”s.  In Google Trends, clicking in the search text box will reveal more trending suggestions, of course “Barrack Obama” and “LeBron James” show up.  Digression:  Hard to tell with all the boxy layouts these days if Google inspired Windows Metro interface or the other way around, but I guess boxy is the best for UX if you are accommodating touchscreens.

Of course, this is just one source of data you need to consider in making decisions.  The more important the decision and the higher the potential investment or loss you may incur making a quick, short-sighted “gut instinct” decision, the more research you should compile to make sure you get the clearest picture to help you make those important decisions that you and your company will have to live with well into the future.  It also helps raise concerns — and awareness to alternatives you may never have considered.

Summary about Trends limitations

Trends research also serves as a warning when you are bucking conventional wisdom.  What you discover will hopefully raise more questions to help round out your research and make you pursue more details about topics that will help you make a decision.  Unless you are very experienced and a true expert in the realm of expertise you are researching, when it comes to trying to make the best decisions for your business and the future of your company’s operations, better delay a decision until you have all the facts then forge ahead because a decision needs to be made.  Being bold sometimes means admitting you need more research, which requires more time, but the old adage “an ounce of prevention” doesn’t even apply here.  This is a whole pound of prevention that can save you and your company a lot of time, trouble and costs turning the ship in a different direction or course because you didn’t have all the relevant facts and data the first time.

About Author:

Senior Cloud Software Engineer and 25+ years experienced video production, video editing and 3D animation services for a variety of global clients including local video production here in Jacksonville, Florida.

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