How to Use Google Correlate to Build Content and Skyrocket Your SEO
Google Trends and Insights for Search have always been largely utilised tools for SEO’s and marketers since their introductions. But for a short period of time, there as a very powerful, yet underused and underappreciated tool called Google Correlate.
It is sadly no longer with us (RIP Correlate) but it’s not all bad news – it has been reincarnated within Google’s Trends tool.
In SEO and the internet in general, search data is crucial. It tells you so much about what people are interested in, how they are feeling, what they want and what their pain points are.
All the major search engines and companies like Microsoft provide research tools that help you see and understand this data. Here’s how Google Correlate was used, and still can to gain useful SEO data and insights over your competitors.
What is (was) Google Correlate?
The special Google research tool known as Google Correlate was officially rolled out for use in 2011 and started out as way of determining when real-world outbreaks of flu and cold would occur based on internet searches.
It was then taken and built upon and expanded to help provide similar data on travel statistics, refinancing trends along with car and home sales.
Not only that, but with Google Correlate it was also possible to have access to geographically specific search trends that allowed you to have a better understanding of how different search terms and the related services or products were more popular in one geographical location rather than another.
It was introduced as an additional marketing tool that could be used for SEO and content marketing purposes in conjunction with Trends and Google Insights for Search.
What is Google Trends?
It’s a research tool that has been provided by Google in different forms since 11 May 2006. It analyses top search queries and their popularity within Google Search across a wide variety of geographical regions and languages.
Rather than just being a dry record of numbers, it utilises graphs to show comparisons of the total search volume for a selection of related by different queries over a specified time period.
The numbers featured to show the search interest for terms at the highest point on the chart relative to the time and chosen region.
When a search term is valued at 100, it is considered to be at peak popularity, whereas if a search term is only valued at 50, it’s only half as popular as others.
What was the Difference Between Google Correlate and Google Trends?
If you are a little confused by how similar they seem, let’s try and break it down to the shortest, sweet and most succinct way possible.
Trends: is used to help you identify and see trending keyword patterns in your chosen location. (as shown in the image below).
The line graph works on a scale from 0-100. If your keyword is valued at 100, it is at peak popularity. A search term of only 25 would be only a quarter as popular.
Google Correlate: worked in reverse and took note of any significant patterns to identify related keywords that would be good to target.
This is especially important for good SEO these days with Google’s Rankbrain AI able to better interpret and expect naturally related keywords in the content.
Correlate picked out similar keywords that had identical time-based or geographical region patterns to the specified data series and search queries entered into it. You can see this in action below:
If that wasn’t enough, this powerful SEO application used the Pearson correlation as a way of comparing normalised query statistics to determine exactly which had the highest correlations.
“That’s great but can we have that in English, please?”
The idea was that users would be able to target their customers before their customers were even ready! Users could understand seasonal changes in searches and trends, find out the distinctions that existed for search terms and related keywords based on geographical regions. Powerful.
What does it mean when someone or something is trending on Google?
In terms of the Google Trends tool, it grabs useful data for when people, incidents, products or anything you can think of are involved in a big news story or part of ongoing conversation online.
in short, it means lots of people are currently searching on Google for that particular person or “thing”.
Whether it’s for good or bad reasons, these data insights are great for marketing, because that’s what people are currently interested in which makes for a good way to drive traffic to sites, blogs or social media platforms.
Why Use Google Trends over Traditional Keyword Research Tools?
The SEO data in keyword research tools for new and trending topics isn’t often useful if it exists at all.
Keyword volume is generally calculated using historical and seasonal trends to average out the number of monthly searches for that topic or keyword.
That’s often unhelpful for new and time-sensitive content marketing since this type of keyword research software will often tell you there are zero searches since there isn’t enough historical data.
We know that’s not true when it comes to trending and related topics. There will be plenty of searches, but how do we find this information?
That’s where Google Trends/Correlate kicks in and works its magic to give you this information.
You might not get an exact number of monthly searches for your topic (when is that ever truly accurate, anyway? Hint: it’s not) but you’ll see what people are looking for right now
This is particularly powerful for any business looking to get a jump on its competitors or if you’re simply suffering from “writer’s block” when it comes to creating new content.
Not only does this free tool fix that, it gives you ideas for topics that may be trending now, but topics which may continue to stay evergreen into the future.
How Does That Help SEO? Isn’t SEO Long-Term, Rather than a “Trend”?
Good question. You’d be forgiven for thinking that even the word “Trend” is completely opposed to what SEO should be – a long-term strategy.
Why are we bothering ourselves with trends when we could be pumping out authority, evergreen content which will stand the test of time and bring in new readers or customers?
A fair point. Besides the above point (how trending topics/products can often be here to stay long-term), most SEO’s would agree that one of the most time-consuming and expensive parts of SEO services is link-building.
Still a hugely important ranking factor, quality links are hard to come by.
Outreaching and asking for links to your content has an understandably low success rate and is a huge time sink. So, what’s the solution?
Write or create a thought-provoking piece of content for your industry about the impact of this current “trend”.
If it’s interesting enough and newsworthy, then it will automatically become a linkable asset which people will happily link to as a resource (and not a single outreach email sent begging awkwardly for a link).
A huge win for your digital marketing and SEO efforts!
Are there any trending or correlated topics now that your industry could utilise for its content marketing efforts?
Anything from global pandemics to political marches to celebrity scandals can directly or indirectly impact your industry, even if you wouldn’t have thought it.
A simple way to start is to visit Google Trends and type in your industry + the trend.
For example, if you’re a travel company living through the Coronavirus pandemic, start by searching “Travel Coronavirus” and let the tool show you trends, as well as related topics and queries.
If you’ve been living under a rock or not sure what’s trending, search your industry or topic in on its own and let Google’s tool tell you what’s trending in your field. Powerful!
How do you use the Google Trends tool? Let me know in the comments section below
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