You might think that here at WebEden we bang on too much about search engines. But as the recent Hitwise data shows, if you’re building a website then you need to know about search engines too. Search engines will probably be the biggest single source of traffic to your website. So they are a fundamental part of any website project.
We’ve previously talked about the Google keyword tool, where you can enter a keyword and find all the other words that are similar to that keyword. It will also give you a rough idea of how many searches per month there are for that keyword. This is a really useful tool to use when deciding what keywords you want to use for your Search Engine Optimisation programme.
A few months ago Google released another tool which has been seen as an enhancement of the keyword tool above. Google Insights for Search is designed to help website owners understand even more about which keywords are right for their website.
It calculates total searches for keywords, looks at the data historically, and produces graphs to show how a particular search term has trended over the last few years.
It then allows you to categorise the search trend by industry sector (called ‘verticals’) and geographical region.
Here’s a good illustration of how useful that can be, by looking at the search term ‘apple’. The vast majority of searches using the word ‘apple’ will be related to the computing brand ‘Apple’, as in ‘apple mac’. Lets say you’re a fruit seller, you obviously don’t want your website to appear high up for searches related to ‘apple mac’, but you still want a clear idea of the number of searches that are relevant to apples the fruit. You can use Google insights allows you to filter the results to just those that fall within the Food & Drink category. The result is the search trends, and related search terms, for just those searches about apple the fruit.
Lets say too that you’re hoping to sell apples online, but just to your local area or region. You can filter by geography to get just those apple related searches that are specifically about apples the fruit, in your area.
Seeing search volume trends can be really useful if you sell a seasonal product. If you sell valentines cards, then type ‘valentines cards’ into Google Insights and you can get a historical guide to the peaks and troughs of that search term. As you can see from the screen grab below, searches for valentines cards actually peak on the 11th February, so anyone looking to maximise sales of valentines cards need to make sure they’re maximising their marketing efforts before this time, and holding plenty of stock on this day.
Google Insights is also really useful if you’re thinking about stocking a new product on your website, or choosing to no longer sell another. Before you make any decisions, type the product name into Google Insights and see whether searches for it are going up or down. Anything that is climbing fast is clearly rising in demand, so its probably a good idea to sell it. If the trend is downward, then you might not want to restock that item when your current stock runs down.
The draw back of this product is that Google won’t actually put a figure on the number of searches for each term, but rather expresses the trend line as a percentage of the total number of searches. And bear in mind, search volumes are gong ever upwards, so if the number of searches for a using a particular keyword is remaining static, this is actually represented as a decreasing trend line.
Despite this, Google Insights will still show you a clear and accurate guide to the level of interest in your products, and the related search terms. You get all this data historically, and it’s all free.
Have a go at using the tool, and then leave your feedback below.