How to get free keyword research data from Google Trends

An important part of keyword research is using data to evaluate which phrases you should focus on. Google Trends is a good way to do this for free.

Why should you get keyword data from Google Trends?

The number of possible phrases someone could enter into Google to find your business is infinite. You want to find the phrases that people actually and typically search for. That’s why you need to collect data for each potential phrase before you attempt to optimize your content for it.

What’s great about the Google Trends data?

  • The data shows you how many people are interested in any given phrase. The resulting number allows you to compare phrases with each other, to determine if one is a better opportunity than the other.
  • It’s directly from Google and reflects how people are searching.
  • It’s free. There are third party tools that will charge you for similar data. You can also get data from the Google Ads Keyword Planner- but you need to have an active PPC campaign first. This option doesn’t cost you anything.

What should you expect from the Google Trends keyword data?

Google Trends will tell you how many people are interested in a given phrase. Once you have this data, you’ll know the phrases for which you should optimize a page.

In some ways, this is limited. If you have access to a Google Ads account, you’d get better data from the Keyword Planner. If you don’t have this access, you’ll still find this process helpful.

Get Keyword Research Data from Google Trends

Before you start to gather data, you need to start the basic keyword research process by creating a clarified brainstorm list of keywords. After that, you should use Google Trends to find out which phrase people actually use when searching for companies like yours.

  1. Enter a phrase into the tool. If you’re following the overall process, you’ve created a big list of brainstormed keywords. I’d start with the broadest phrase you came up with. You might have to sort your brainstorm list by broadest to most specific (to make your life easier).
  2. Notice other data this tool gives you. The “Topics” and “Related Keywords” might help you find “search terms” to try out. Alternatively, they might make good blog posts later. Keep track of these!
  3. Repeat for each phrase. Try another phrase in the tool. One of the points of gathering data is to compare phrases to see which ones people are more likely to search for (and become a customer). Since you can only compare up to 5 phrases at a time, this can be tedious (and now you know why the paid tools are so popular).
    1. I recommend keeping the top 4 phrases with the largest “interest” in the tool at a time. If you discover a phrase with more “interest” then remove the phrase with the least interest and record it’s interest value. You might keep these interest numbers alongside your brainstormed list of keywords.
    2. A note about geographical settings. Does your company focus on a particular geography? You could be nationwide. You might be limited to a city. You might tweak your settings using the “Interest by subregion” map. If you have a very specific geographical focus.
      1. Try out phrases that don’t include geographical terms but set your geography to your local area. Terms you enter with geographical modifiers might not have enough data to show up.
      2. If you’ve selected a specific area (in the map) but see no “interest” numbers don’t be frustrated. It might be that people are searching for your company’s services in your area, but the search volume is too small to show up in this tool. Try to broaden your geography (using the map) and use those “interest” numbers instead. We’ll assume: if people search for your service nationally, they will likely use the same phrase locally.
      3. As you’re playing with your geographical settings, make note of this in your data. If you don’t you might end up comparing national data on some phrases, but local data on other.
    3. As you compare the “interest” numbers, please bear in mind that some phrases have a lot of interest but are too broad to make good targets. Some phrases might have so much interest it will be very difficult to show up for them. Other phrases might be so broad that they might not become a customer.

Now you know which phrases you should focus upon for a particular topic. You’re not guessing. You’re using the data to tell you what phrases people are more likely to search for.

Have a question about this process? Ask it here:

Get started doing SEO today

SEO seems hard- you have to keep up with all the changes and weed through contradictory advice. This is frustrating and overwhelming. Curious Ants will teach you SEO while bringing your website more traffic and customers- because you’ll learn SEO while doing it.