Google Insights for Search is a free tool from Google that provides insight into the level of interest for a given search phrase and is often used in conjunction with the Google Keyword Tool.
Google Insights for Search is especially useful when:
- Performing keyword research at the beginning of an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign
- Determining if there are seasonal search fluctuations for a given search phrase
- Determining the popularity of a given search phrase over time (increasing, decreasing or steady)
- Identifying levels of regional interest for a given search phrase
- Analyzing your web analytics data (e.g. ranking reports and visitor action) during an SEO campaign*
Using Google Insights for Search
To get started go to Google Insights for Search.
Enter a key phrase that you want to research. For easy interpretation of results it is a good practice to limit the number of search terms to examine. Then select any filters you might want to use. If you are only interested in a particular region then change the “Worldwide” value to the country of interest (notice that you can also select sub-regions of a country).
Note that you should enclose a search phrase that has multiple words in quotations (e.g. “health insurance”).
Now click on the Search button. The results are categorized as “Interest over Time”, “Regional interest” and “Search terms”.
Interest Over Time
The interest over time is self-explanatory. The forecasted interest gives you an idea of the future trend in interest, and Google also inserts annotations into the graph that represent news items that may have had an affect on the search phrase popularity.
This graph indicates search popularity by region. You can drill-down into further sub-regions by either clicking on one of the country links or by clicking on the “Town/City/Suburb” link to the top-right.
Interest by region is especially important for any company or business that has a regional market. For example, let’s assume your target country is the United States. By drilling down into your data (click on the country, then click on a state, etc.) you can see what states and cities have the highest degree of interest in your search term, which can help you decide where to spend your advertising dollars!
This is a powerful feature, since it displays metrics on alternative popular searches (that are related to your entered search terms). Take the time to evaluate the alternate search terms, and consider whether they are applicable to your business or company. Clicking on an alternate search phrase will rerun the search for that alternate search phrase.
Google Insights for Search is a free, powerful tool that lets you quickly gauge interest in a given search term by time and region. It is especially useful when implemented in conjunction with the Google Keyword Tool!
* Sometimes ranking reports will indicate increases in rankings for key phrases, while web analytics data indicates no resulting increase in web site visitors. This situation can be the result of a decline in search popularity for the given key phrase or as a result of seasonal variations. There is a good article that discusses this at Search Engine Watch entitled 3 Ways to Invigorate Your Analytics, written by Sarah Carling.