How the web's most powerful tool works

You did a Google search to find out what Google Trends is and landed on this page: you’ve come to the right place!

So, what is Google Trends? It is a service that offers an immense database of information drawn from the magnum sea of more than 5 billion daily searches performed on Google; extremely useful for those working in digital marketing and anyone who needs to identify Google searches in real-time, such as journalists and real-time professionals.

By learning how to use this technology correctly, bloggers, managers, and entrepreneurs will be able to benefit enormously in monitoring and understanding the tastes, trends, and interests of their target audience in order to optimize their marketing strategies.

On this page, we will see what Google Trends is for, how best to use it, how to carry out a search, and how to make the most of this powerful tool and its applications to facilitate your work. In this regard, I invite you to enroll in the Digital Marketing Master, thanks to which you will obtain complete preparation in order to know and use all the main channels and tools to succeed online!

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends is a totally free Big G tool capable of identifying the most searched words on the Internet in a given time period and/or in a specific geographical area: analyzing Internet users’ search trends and interests in specific sectors has never been easier.

This Google web analysis tool also has an app version for smartphones, “Go Trends”, which is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Trends are the result of the volume of queries, i.e., database queries, made by users in the search bars of Search, News, Images, Shopping and Google Trends Youtube.

The numerical data, with updated frequencies in the order of minutes for the real-time Google search section, reports approximate values from 0 to 100 instead of the exact number of queries and can be exported in CSV format as well as used to create graphs according to one’s own requirements.

What Google Trends is for

Have you ever wondered where search data goes when users query Google?

Right on Google Trends! A trend analysis service concerning the queries expressed by users through the search engine, made available by Big G completely free of charge.

If you happen to think about which mega-statistics your searches are now aggregating, it means that you have come across this tool for analyzing search interests and trends.

Understanding what Google Trends is used for is indispensable if you are an entrepreneur or if you are not yet an entrepreneur but plan to develop your own business and intend to understand where the market is going by observing the evolution of interests over time. Nevertheless, it is a crucial tool if you are a publisher, to create interesting content in line with current trends.

So back to the question, what is Google Trends for? From a business point of view, we can say that it is an indispensable tool for planning upstream marketing strategies for various activities, evaluating trending topics as well as the most frequently formulated searches by users.

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How to see the most searched words on Google

It is clear that we have an extremely useful and intuitive tool on our hands. To understand what Google Trends is, how it works, and who it can be useful to, let us, therefore, log into Google via our account to optimize navigation and open the Trends homepage.

We can type the keyword directly from the search bar on the homepage or from ‘Explore’ in the menu at the top left.

Enter, for example, the query “iPhone X”. The result is a full-color linear graph showing the evolution of interest over time, i.e., the relative trend in search volume in Italy, over the past 12 months, for all categories and on all search engines.

You have to keep in mind what Google Trends is. This tool does not show the absolute number of searches performed but rather a trend, with the maximum value being set at 100 by convention.

On the x-axis is the selected time period, and on the y-axis is the relative value of the query. The maximum value found in the time period is reported as 100, with the other values being related to it.

google trends search term


Related topics and associated queries

The next two boxes show “Related Topics” and “Associated Queries”. Related Topics in Google Trends are those searched by users and related to the iPhone X search term.

Associated queries refer to the search terms entered by users interested in the search term being monitored. In our case, the associated queries are the price of the iPhone X, accessories (covers), and Apple (also present among the related topics).

In both boxes, related topics and associated queries can be classified as ‘most searched’ or ‘increasing’.

The first value is based on a score expressed from 0 to 100. The second refers to the increase in interest in related topics and associated queries, expressed with a percentage score. The data can be exported, shared, and even integrated into a website via the sharing functions in each infographic.

Comparing search terms

In order to understand whether the query we have chosen is really the most popular with the public, we can compare the keyword with similar or related queries, i.e., searches made by users that, according to Google, are related to the given query.

In the case of iPhone X, we want to compare this keyword with those of its biggest competitors, Samsung Galaxy, and Huawei P.

For each query, we will obtain a graph comparing interest over time, which will give us a broader view of the interest in our keyword.

google trends comparing search terms


The area infographic shows the distribution of interest for each keyword worldwide. We note that the greater or lesser intensity of the color corresponds to a higher or lower search volume (a new feature of the latest redesign).

google trends compared by region


Google Trends how best to use it

What is the importance of Google Trends for journalists, bloggers, and digital marketing managers? It is a treasure trove of valuable information where you can find the key to the needs and requirements of your target audience.

However, it is important to learn how it works in order to be able to take advantage of all its benefits, and if you are a digital marketer, consider consulting it in depth before using Google Ads for your PPC campaigns.

Data Journalism

The instant update on what is happening in the world or in our country is an essential source of research for journalists, press offices, editors, and bloggers.

Via the search trend preview on the homepage, you can get a clear idea of the trending news for the current day. By accessing the relevant section, you can deepen your analysis by searching the daily trends minute by minute.

After all, the focus on editorial data and the world of journalism was at the heart of the May 2018 redesign. Big G relies precisely on Google Trends to support the world of journalism and bloggers in developing quality content based on search data.

The platform offers tutorials, tips, illustrative videos, and all the supporting material to be able to tell stories based on facts and data extrapolated from searches made on Google.

Not only that, Google provides the training and education center, Google News Initiatives, with the aim of teaching how to make the best use of the Mountain View giant’s technology and help journalism grow: knowing what Google Trends is also indispensable in this area.

Within Google News Initiatives operates News Lab, the team that works in synergy with journalists and entrepreneurs to drive innovation in the field of news. The last section of the homepage provides access to News Lab Initiatives, the section dedicated to News Lab’s training initiatives for journalists, as well as data stories for specific topics.

The most successful story on Google Trends is the one about the Trump administration, but there are also stories about Mother’s Day, the MeeToo movement, and more. These stories are curated by newsroom designers around the world and offer, in some cases, truly extraordinary examples of data visualization.

Content Marketing

Using Google Trends is a key starting point for monitoring audience interest and understanding what is the most trending Google topic at the moment in time.

For each topic, you can use the keyword search to analyze the search trend, even going back a long way in time. Furthermore, the option of comparing searches by keyword or topic is very useful for identifying the most trending topic in a given area and developing topics that will really bring traffic to your blog.

When you carry out your search, it is very important that you select the geographical area you are interested in to get as precise information as possible on your target audience. The filter by geographic area is, in fact, also very useful for setting up Local Marketing strategies according to a given geographic area.

If, on the other hand, you have to deal with a specific topic and want to develop it as comprehensively as possible, you can analyze the search trend by filtering by category and region. You will then get results relevant to the topic you are interested in.

Therefore, pay particular attention to the ‘Related Topics’ table. Here you will find thematically related topics of potential interest to your target group that is experiencing a surge of interest.

In the “Associated Queries” box, you can see which queries are being searched for by users who have made a search for your query. In this way, you can expand your topic to include the interests expressed by your target audience in terms of both developed topics and keywords, all to the benefit of your site traffic.

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Internet sites

What has just been said makes us realize that this tool is also crucial in terms of SEO. By means of Google keyword statistics based on Google data, you can immediately understand whether the keyword you have chosen is promising or not for indexing a site

You can, therefore, safely combine the use of Google trends with the “keyword planning tool” of Google Ads when you are considering exploiting certain keywords from an SEO perspective: the visual comparison of keywords is immediate and very efficient in terms of SEO strategy and content management.

Editorial calendar

Google Trends is particularly useful for managing your editorial calendar. If you have to plan the development of content for your blog, analyzing the trend during the year will allow you to identify the right time to publish each topic and intercept your audience’s attention at the right time.

By setting the analysis over the last 5 years, you can check whether this same trend is repeated every year at the same time. You will then be able to optimize your blog’s content, creating content for these topics to be updated for the current year.

Google Trends Analysis

The opinion on the use of Google Trends for research and data analysis purposes is controversial. Some consider it to be convenient, while others believe that the data provided are only indicative trends, that the accuracy of the measurements is not reliable, and therefore considered unsuitable for activities that need a solid scientific basis.

Having said this, it is still a useful tool for finding out about research trends.

Google Trends E-commerce

One of the lesser-known uses of Google Trends is to search for trendy products sold by successful e-commerce sites. Responding to a question on Quora, Harris Sid proposed a 4-step process devised by Rafael Cintron and explained in a blog post.

Here are the 4 steps for Google Trends E-commerce:

  1. Perform a search using a query like this: product
  2. Install the browser extension of the Similarweb tool to check internet traffic. Check the stores that have a traffic volume per month of more than 100-400 thousand.
  3. Check the source of traffic and where it comes from; if from social media, check the Facebook and Instagram pages (in the Info&Ads section, you can see which advertising campaigns they are running and get an idea). Also, check which products they have added via the Commerce Inspector tool.
  4. Enter the names of products on AliExpress or other online shops to see if they generate many orders.

Google Trends alternatives

Below are some good alternatives to Google Trends:

  • Clicky: this analysis tool is considered one of the best alternatives to the product created by Big G due to the speed with which data is accessed and the user-friendliness of its interface. Further distinguishing it from its competitors is the live information functionality made available to website owners.
  • AWStats: is a free web analytics tool that uses data from streaming media servers, e-mail, and FTP to generate statistics rendered in the form of tables and bar graphs in HTML pages.
  • StatCounter: is a traffic analysis tool that provides access to a number of basic services and offers detailed reports in real-time. The tool offers a perfectly configurable counter; the page display limit is 250,000.
  • Structure of the Google Trends platform

Knowing what Google Trends is and how to use it implies keeping up with even its most important updates. The last major restyling of the platform in May 2018 brought great benefits in terms of navigation.

The new structure makes it very easy to explore the data, even for those using the tool for the first time and out of pure curiosity. There are, in fact, two navigation options for accessing the searches: from the homepage and from the Menu in the top left-hand corner.

The visual and immediate layout of the homepage simplifies the search as much as possible, making Google Trends intuitive even for occasional or first-time users.

usa current search


Scrolling down the home page, you can see:

  • the search bar, where we enter the keyword for which we want to analyze the trend;
  • some examples of research, with a short series of the most popular ones worldwide;
  • the preview of search trends, which invites the user to visit the relevant section;
  • the presentation box of the section “A year of research”, with the list of research rankings by year;
  • the section introducing Google News Initiatives.

The Google Trends menu

The menu at the top left, on the other hand, is designed for more experienced users who use Google Trends with precise trend analysis objectives. The menu is made up of a list of items that direct the user to the most important sections: Explore, Trends in Searches, A Year of Searches, and Subscriptions. Let us see them in detail.

google trends menu


The Explore section (Google Trends Explore)

Clicking on ‘Explore’ takes you to the data search section. The search bar common to the homepage is accompanied by the examples section in which, in order to get the hang of this tool, you are suggested some topics to search for.

Immediately below the examples section, we find the bar with the search options subdivided by:

  • geographical area,
  • time interval,
  • category,
  • type of service to search on. (Google Images, Google News, Google Shopping, and YouTube).

At the bottom of the page, we find two boxes: one relating to the “Topics” with the highest search trends for the geographical area of interest, which by default is set to “worldwide”. The other box, on the other hand, concerns the ‘Search Queries’ with the list of the most searched queries on the chosen topic and always in relation to the geographical area.

google trends explore section


Trends in research

From the Google Trends menu, we access the section with the main trends for queries and related news via the “Search Trends” link. Daily trends show the increasing searches on the current day with hourly updated data. Real-time Google search trends, with minute-by-minute resolution, on the other hand, show the searches increasing in the immediate future.

Trends are based on the Knowledge Graph function, which identifies trends by integrating trending searches on Google News and the search engine.

trending now feature


One year of research

The link to “A year of searches” leads directly to the section where Google Trends publishes video data with trending topics in searches and the annual ranking of the most frequent searches in individual countries and worldwide.

In particular, for each year, there is a list of trending topics globally or by individual country. Below you will find the video that emotionally recounts the year of research based on the trends recorded (the rankings are available from the year 2001 onwards).


The menu then offers a link to subscribe to weekly or monthly notifications on search trends for the topics chosen by the user.

Finally, you will find a link to the Google help area with a mini-guide on how to use Trends and the send feedback function to report any problems or suggestions for changes. This function is among the most important of Trends and was decisive for the May 2018 redesign based precisely on the feedback received from users.

Google Trends and Spirit of the Times

From a sociological and philosophical point of view, Google Trends represents much more than a mere analysis tool aimed at business objectives. In a historical period in which the digital revolution is profoundly changing our habits and lifestyles, Google Trends allows us to interrogate the Spirit of Time, that is, the cultural tendency of a given historical period, philosophically known as the Zeitgeist, a representation dear to German philosophy between the 19th and 20th centuries.

Through the mass of data received from search queries, Google is able to identify the habits, interests, inclinations, and fashions of an increasingly digitized and online global society in a transversal manner, beyond a business-side exploitable user segmentation, by identifying the general and cultural needs of the interconnected population in a given time period.

In this respect, Google Trends publishes worldwide search data, as well as divided by countries, on the basis of topics such as current affairs, politics, leisure, sports, and celebrities, identifying the keywords that have made their mark on the web over a given period. It is, therefore, not difficult to imagine how the search key ‘Coronavirus’ represents the most searched keyword worldwide in the year 2020, followed by the keyword “U.S. elections”.

In this mini-guide, we have answered the question of what Google Trends is, examined the potential of the powerful analysis tool, and identified how it could be applied in different areas. If you want to delve deeper into certain aspects of content selection and learn how to read and make the most of data analysis, I recommend these two courses:

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If you still have any doubts about how to integrate Google Trends with your digital strategy,