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Google Insights

In August 2008 Google launched its tool called Google Insights for Search. It’s like Google Trends on steroids. There are many new features designed with advertisers and marketing professionals in mind to help them (and anyone else who is interested, such as the average website owner) understand search behavior.

Google Trends displays how frequently a search term is queried in relation to the total search volume throughout all regions of the world in different languages. Google Trends produces a graph where the horizontal axis shows a simple timeline (which goes back to 2004), and the vertical axis is how often a term gets searched for devided by the total number of searches worldwide. It also produces popularity broken down by location and language.

Google Insights is a more sophisticated tool to help people gauge interest in relevant search terms. For example, Google Insights can help you figure out which messages go over best. Suppose you make high-end espresso machines. You can use Google Insights to determine whether your advertising should highlight money savings over coffee shop coffee, taste test results, or performance and features. Google Insights can also be used to determine seasonal variations in search behavior and to help advertisers and marketing professionals create more effective brand associations.

As just a quick example, typing the search terms “espresso,” “home espresso machine,” and “gourmet coffee” in the category “Food & Drink” for 2009 yields the data you can see in the first screen shot. when you look at the graph of “Growth Relative to the Food & Drink Category” you can see that it takes a big jump in December that is most likely due to Christmas shopping. Looking at the terms by region, you can see that Greece, Netherlands, and Germany are the regions that searched most on “espresso.” The only blip at all for the term “gourmet coffee” comes from the United States, and it’s very small.

But you can also learn that the top three searches of related terms are “coffee espresso,” “espresso machine,” and “cafe espresso.” The top three rising searches are “espresso on line” (popular in Italy), “espresso apparaten” (tops in Netherlands), and “cowgirl espresso” (the most popular in the U.S.). With this information I could zero in on Greece, Italy, and Netherlands and try to get to the heart of the popularity of the search terms there.

Researching With Google Insights For Search

You are not limited to Google web searches. You can also analyze results from Google News, Product Search, and Image Search. You can break the data down even further from there. For example, you could look at hot Google News searches over the past week, month, or quarter. Queries can be broken down by region into individual metropolitan areas. This is a tool that news journalists find helpful in gauging interest levels in different subjects among their readership base.

One researcher gauged the interest of the U.S. college basketball tournament known as “March Madness” for a period of one week during March 2009. The results showed that interest was highest in the states of Kentudky, Iowa, and Kansas. In 2010, journalists could gauge popularity of search terms related to the World Cup in South Africa in various regions around the world. In a nutshell, what Google Insights does is help anyone who is interested (webmaster, ad agency, small business owner, academic researcher, or otherwise interested party) measure interest in search terms relative to their particular area of research.

Suppose, for example, you have a seasonal business, perhaps a surf shop in Torquay, Australia. While you know that your peak business will occur in January through March, maybe you want to know when people start querying about surfing holidays in Australia. If you plug “surfing Australia” and “surfing holidays Australia,” you’ll discover that with the exception of 2004, there are peaks of interest at the beginning and end of each year as one might expect. This can be seen in the second screen shot.

But scroll down further and you can see that the rising searches include “rip curl australia,” “asp surfing australia,” and “surfing in australia.” Further probing shows that Victoria is the state with the most searches, and Melbourne is the city with the most searches on “rip curl australia.” So as the theoretical owner of a Torquay surf shop, I may decide to pitch my advertising especially aggressively in Melbourne.

You can use Google Insights to flesh out keyword ideas and perhaps tweak any Adwords Campaigns you’re running. You can download the results to a spreadsheet for convenience. To download data to spreadsheets you will have to sign into your Google account. Google Insights is available in 39 languages, and will soon add a forecasting feature that will be available for some queries. An Animated map function will allow Google Insights users to see how interest changes with time and location.

Google Insights is a flexible enough tool that users can think of countless ways to use it. Beyond just expanding your keyword lists or looking at economic trends, you can use it for things like satisfying your curiosity about why some other site ranks higher in the search engines than yours. Even historians of the post-2004 era will find a wealth of information about how search queries evolve over time and across world regions.

Small business owners, ad agencies, and marketing specialists can use Google Insights to compare brands in real time over real markets. If there is a clear indication that a particular ad campaign is working well in a particular region or city, they can more accurately target offline advertising and even promotional events. Research using Google Keyword Tool has shown that search volume estimates are reasonably accurate, particularly in terms of relative value. That means that you can have a healthy amount of trust in the results you get from using Google Insights.

caffeine roll out planned for 2010

caffeine roll out planned for 2010

The Google Caffeine sandbox has been switched off today, replaced by this message.

We appreciate all the feedback from people who searched on our Caffeine sandbox.

Based on the success we’ve seen, we believe Caffeine is ready for a larger audience. Soon we will activate Caffeine more widely, beginning with one data center. This sandbox is no longer necessary and has been retired, but we appreciate the testing and positive input that webmasters and publishers have given.
Thank you – Google

So it looks like Google is finally rolling out the Caffeine updates into its live search, with the holiday season approaching Google has put webmasters and SEO’s mind at ease by deciding not to roll out the changes until January 2010, as confirmed by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team on his blog today.

Some key comments from his post regarding Google Caffeine;

1. I know that webmasters can get anxious around this time of year, so I wanted to reassure site owners that the full Caffeine roll out will happen after the holidays. Caffeine will go live at one data center so that we can continue to collect data and improve the technology, but I don’t expect Caffeine to go live at additional data centers until after the holidays are over.

It was bound to happen, both Google and Bing have been targeting social media and real-time search since the launch of Google caffeine back in August 2009, roughly the same time that Google started to index tweets from

On October 21st during the Web 2.0 Summit, Yusuf Mehdi of Bing officially confirmed partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to integrate public tweets and Facebook updates into its search results.

A few hours later Marrisa Mayer of Google also announced  a partnership with Twitter in her presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit.

Wow, what a day! Two massive partnerships announced in 1 day and only a few hours apart. However, those of you that have been following the two search engines will understand that both Google and Bing have been working on real-time search facilities for quite sometime now and have been trading blow by blow with each other.

Lets take a quick look at the scores


top search queries - Google webmaster tools

top search queries - Google webmaster tools

Checking the Google webmaster tools today we noticed the keyword sorting feature appearing in the ‘ Top Search Queries’ dashboard.

The three drop down menus will allow webmaster tool users to segment the top search queries by;