Google Trends and Analytics

Kelly “Rags” Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel.

When it comes to search engine visibility, we are often looking toward one of the staples of SEO (search engine optimization): keywords. Keywords clearly play a major role in search engines matching up your website with the search terms that users are entering into their inquiries.

Our basic instinct is to make an educated guess as to which keywords are effective and what keywords properly define our products and services. But can we find out what keywords people are actually using in their search queries? The answer is yes, and Google has the tools to discover them.

Trendsetters

Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) is an online tool integrated with Google’s search features that reveals how often a particular search term is entered, relative to the total search volume across various regions of the world. It can be used very effectively for market research and keyword management.

The way this tool works is very simple. Let’s say that you enter the term “Embroidered Apparel” into the Google Trends search field. The tool will then return a graph displaying the interest in that term over time, with 100 representing peak search volume. In this case, the graph spans from 2005 to the present, with a revealing decline in that particular search term. The left side of the screen features a list of related search terms, where the phrase you just entered is visible. Google Trends allows you to search four additional terms for comparison, and each term is color coded for easy tracking on the graph.

Looking to the bottom right-hand side of the graph, Google Trends can offer users insight regarding keywords. Although the words “Embroidered Apparel” were entered, Google discovers that users have been entering other terms and phrases such as “Embroidered Shirts,” “Embroidered Logos,” or even “Cheap Embroidered Shirts.” We usually avoid adding the word “cheap” to our work, so we left that out of our keyword strategies.

Narrowing these results and viewing the search volume by language, country, city or region, reveals how and where the term has evolved over specific increments of time. It also forecasts how those terms will trend, helping administrators make more educated decisions in choosing keywords for a company’s website.

The meat and potatoes of this exercise is learning how Google Trends makes it easy for apparel decorators to stay current with the marketing language that the public at large are using when looking for products and services.

Analyze this

Now we can move on to another useful area of Google, Analytics (www.google.com/analytics), which offers much more than just keyword data and statistics. Website analytics reveal critical data about how existing and potential customers interact with your company website. When evaluated properly, the analytics insights offer endless opportunities for customer engagement and retention.

Google Analytics gives you a look into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site and how you can keep them coming back. If your website features e-commerce capabilities for online purchases, Google Analytics will measure sales and conversions. While the basic statistics are revealing (visitors, referrals, time spent on page, etc.), digging a little deeper can lead to the discovery of exactly what keywords have been successful in getting people to your website.

To get started, you will first need to go to your Google Analytics account and click on “traffic sources > sources > search > organic,” in the left hand navigation menu. You will then see a list of organic keywords that people have searched for, and, as a result, discovered your website.

These keywords will be ranked in ascending to descending order in terms of how many visits they each generated. It will also display other information like how many other pages were viewed from each visit, the length of time spent on your website, the percentage of new visitors and the bounce rate. All of this information can be very helpful for determining which keywords are popular and which aren’t.

For more in-depth keyword analysis, click on “traffic sources > search engine optimization” in the left-hand navigation menu. From there, users can further analyze the search terms used, as well as the landing pages those users arrived on.

Just Google it

By utilizing the benefits of both Google Trends and Google Analytics, business owners can easily compare search data and learn what keywords have been successful in drawing website visitors, as well as important keywords that may have been missed. Consider implementing these user-friendly Internet tools to refine your company’s keyword strategies for up-to-date and effective search results, turning online visitors into repeat customers.