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Google Trends Tutorial for Beginners

Google Trends doesn’t quite replace other keyword research tools such as Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Moz and SEMRush but it works as a great compliment to them. If Google keeps improving Trends, it very well could be the top keyword research tool in coming years.

In the video above and text below I explain all of the key features of Google Trends and demonstrate useful ways to use the tool.

Google Trends: Explore

The Explore section of Google Trends allows users to discover and search for trending terms. If there is one feature that you use in Google Trends, it should be this one.

In this section, you can search for particular topics and see how they’ve been trending in regards to search interest.

After performing a search, you will see related topics and trends related to your initial query that can be clicked and explored as well.

You can also view demographic data regarding searches here in the Explore section. You can see which countries a particular query is trending most heavily in and, if desired, you can click on a country to see the most trending topics for that particular country.

Google has expanded users’ ability to drill-down and dig for deeper information in Google Trends and the tool is becoming an SEO staple.

When you look at charts in Google Trends, it’s important to note that the numbers do not represent individual queries like in other keyword research tools. Instead, they represent “Interest Over Time” – a new metric that Google has created for use in Google Trends and the number that, essentially, drives the entire tool.

Interest Over Time

Interest Over Time in Google Trends represents how popular a particular term is relative to how popular it has been in the past. Here is how Google explains it:

Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.


In other words, the higher the value, the more popular that term currently is compared to before. As you use Google Trends you get a feeling for what a high Interest Over Time value is. Generally, anything over 50 means that the term is trending upward. Anything below 50 means that it is trending downward.

Although this metric is very valuable, Google’s reliance on it for a large portion of the viewable data in Google Trends is what is holding the tool back from being the top keyword research tool available. Other tools available show how many actual queries (or at least an estimate) a particular term has had in a given time frame.

When looking for the most searched terms, Interest Over Time may not be the best metric because it doesn’t represent the actual number of queries each term is receiving.

When searching for the most buzzworthy topics that are creating a stir online, Interest Over Time is exactly the metric that you want to be paying attention to.

Trending Searches

One place where you can see the number of search queries a term has had is in the Trending Searches section. This section shows the current most popular searches in Google and can be a content gold mine for the right person.

You can click on terms in the list to view related queries and related news articles that explain why a particular search term is so popular.

You can look at the most popular searches from the last 24 hours, the current day and you can filter the results by country to drill down a little deeper.

This is a great place for journalists and news organizations to find topics worth publishing about.

Year in Search

The Google Trends Year in Search section is is great feature to peruse casually but can also add value in the right situation. For a given year, a search breakdown is shown displaying the most popular searches overall and then within a number of different categories.

It’s fun to look back and see what was popular in a given year. Those publishing historical pieces may find this section especially interesting as it can help to bring back the mood and vibe of a particular year.


Subscriptions in Google Trends allow users to subscribe to email updates for a particular search term. You can also sign up for general search trend updates and specify how often you would like to receive updates.

It’s a good idea to subscribe to terms related to your organization to stay up-to-date when breaking news occurs that will affect your industry.

If you want to jump on a story as soon as it breaks, using the Subscriptions feature of Google Trends is a great place to start.

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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