- What is SEO?
- What is Google Trends?
- How to use Google Trends
- 1. Keyword research
- 2. Finding related keywords
- 3. Discover related topics
- 4. Start big & whittle down
- 5. Context, Context, Context
- 6. Get more advanced with specific search options
- 7. Target by location
- 8. Trend predictions and cycles
- 9. Use long-tail key phrases to inspire content
- 10. Identify blind spots & don’t misread the trends
- To read the other articles in this series:
Ok, we’re going right in the deep-end here. But I need you to stay with me! This post looks at how to use Google Trends and SEO to write the best social content for your homestead brand and business. I’ve covered a lot of important content in this series on how to best utilise social media for homesteaders, how to develop a homestead brand and how to promote a homestead business using social media.
We’ve already looked at 10 ways to promote your homestead on social media, how to use Instagram to gain followers and engagement, and how to use social media for your homestead business. All of these articles took us into the crux of the best and most effective ways to use social media for our homestead brand and business development.
But now we need to understand some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, the stuff we don’t think matters but is really important.
What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimization is incredibly important for any social media you want to promote. SEO means the clever use of hashtags to stand out and get your content as many views and as much representation across the board. Google Trends is a free (and invaluable tool) that provides data and graphs on the popularity of specific search terms used on Google and Youtube. This post is going to take us into the world of both of these tools, and teach you how to use them to promote your content, develop organic growth and better connections.
Recently, I started using Instagram Reels more to try and increase my organic following on Instagram. I’ve been posting a lot of mini videos of different sections of the homestead until I started following a few homesteaders who were really levelling up their Instagram game by adding more personality and funny questions to their videos. So I started doing the same.
In the last two weeks, the video that got the most views was one I did on garlic, which I’ve linked below. In the space of 30 mins from posting, I had 8000+ views. In 4 hours, it was around 18,000+ views and by morning, I’d hit 22,000+ views. I couldn’t believe that a simple video of me talking about planting a gigantic clove of garlic, and weighing it, would get so much interest.
I still don’t know what it is about that particular video that got so much interest but I suspect it was a few things, such as the length of the video and the use of hashtags.
Because of the power of Google Trends and SEO, as content creators we can make more of our content stand out by targeting hashtags and trend types to our niche so that we can also encourage connection from those outside of our niche. This is what will help us ultimately grow – our audience doesn’t need to be made up just of the people who share the same niche or values, but those who aspire to be in our position as well, and those who may come to us for learning, education, knowledge acquisition or to buy products and services from our homestead in the future.
What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a free tool that provides data and graphs on the popularity of specific search terms used on Google and YouTube.
You can use Google Trends to:
- Find out what’s recently trending.
- Identify trending topics or subtopics within an industry or overarching theme.
- Discover geographic search trends local to your area
Google Trends is an incredible asset to your social media kit. This post provides 12 incredibly useful tips on how you can use Google Trends for better SEO and more organic social media connection.
How to use Google Trends
1. Keyword research
Google Trends can be used to conduct free keyword research on your niche by entering a specific search term in the search box.
By default, this runs a search of Google’s most popular keywords at the point in time – but you can also change it to scour YouTube search data instead.
Google Trends will return a graph of the search term’s popularity over the timeframe you select. Looking at the past two or three years of data, versus only the past year, can help you distinguish between fads and true trends.
The keyword research feature helps to identify keywords that are growing in popularity and to avoid keywords that are becoming less popular over time. As information ‘trends’, you’ll note that some content may have a greater trend than others.
This is why it is important to use the keyword search feature regularly if your intention is to grow your blog or social media following – as you will be able to stay on top of the information people are looking to consume.
2. Finding related keywords
What makes Google Trends unique is its ability to recommend related keywords that are currently growing in popularity.
This feature is powerful in that it allows you to identify better, more relevant keywords based on your core search term, that is linked to your core search term and that may identify a new or emerging area of interest.
When you type a search term into the homepage, the site returns a list of keywords it considers as closely related to your search. Google Trends shows you these keywords in order of popularity, and will even provide you with the exact % search volume increase for each one.
Sometimes, it will replace the % search volume with the word “Breakout.” This means the keyword has increased by over 5,000% and is a word you need to be mindful of.
In my experience, these trends are some of the most important ones to hop on, because they haven’t become competitive yet – meaning you can land the #1 slot on Google’s search page before the keyword becomes mainstream.
The only downside to building your strategy around “Breakout” keywords is they can sometimes turn out to be fads, not real trends. This is where understanding the history of your keyword and doing regular reviews of it will determine what peaks and troughs occur in its use and inquiry.
Unlike evergreen content, the content you build around these trending search terms may eventually go stale.
Let’s look at the word homesteading. According to the graph on Google Trends, Homesteading as a keyword search has the most interest in the USA, followed by Canada, then Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The top 5 homesteading related queries are:
If you were developing content, you would remiss to not consider some of these as topics of interest. And this means across all social media, blogs and websites.
For example, you could take some photos or videos of your family homesteading, and use the term #homesteadingfamily in a hashtag. You could write a blog post on ‘what is homesteading’ or do a funny skit short form video on Instagram Reels or TikTok asking this question. You could write another blog post or do a listicle post on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok on your top 5 homesteading books or books you use often relating to DIY builds, homesteading, gardening, cooking etc.
Whatever your selection, all of the above would also be used as hashtags so you can garner the interest of people who are searching all those terms.
3. Discover related topics
In addition to using Google Trends to discover related search terms, you can also use it to uncover related topics for future content. In the table to the left of Related Queries, there’s another table called Related Topics.
Instead of showing you specific search terms, this table provides you with insight into broader topics that people are searching for. Expanding on the homesteading keyword search term, we see related topics being Kitco Metals – gold company, desert, Newfoundland and Labrador.
To me, this says a few things: People are searching for suitable locations where you can homestead and also are a bit wary of the current economic pressures and are looking for safe investment classes.
If you know homesteaders and preppers, this is totally normal.
There is several ways to use Google Trends most effectively – but as a content creator, these are some of the most important ones you should be aware of.
Now it’s time to get into specific tips for using Google Trends to improve your SEO strategy.
4. Start big & whittle down
A great way to start big? Enter a big-time keyword for your topic and press Enter. From there, Google Trends allows you to drill down in the following ways:
- Using Worldwide helps you target a specific market geographically. For example, you’ll see the word “umbrella” peak at different times across different hemispheres. If you want your brand to go international or you want to connect internationally, then it is beneficial to understand what foreign readers and consumer markets are interested in. As an Australian homesteader, I have a lot of people interested from North America in how we differ in our homesteading approaches and what we do in Australia.
- Time selection ranges from “2004 – present,” all the way down to the “past 4 hours.” (Pro tip: Use multiple time selections to get an idea of the long-term trends vs. the short-term trends.)
- Filtering by category is essential. At least if you’re running a search on “Celtic Thunder” and don’t want to read about Irish weather patterns.
- Web Search Type (including web, image, news, Google Shopping, and YouTube) is another category option which you can use to hop on to short media cycles or quick turnaround items.
With an estimated 6.3 billion searches per day and approximately 2.3 trillion global searches per year, the key takeaway here is to start big, and then filter to get the most relevant information to you.
5. Context, Context, Context
Google Trends works in a relative manner. When you enter a keyword for searching, it won’t compare it to other trending keywords but rather the previous heights of the keywords you entered.
Take the phrase “Caribbean cruise” – pre-COVID-19, this was a very popular search term. It probably comes as no surprise since then, that the popularity of Caribbean cruises has tanked. If we changed the date of the search to look at pre Covid years and a much broader average use of the term over a greater block of time, we can see the use of the word is much more stable, and the covid-19 timeframe is a mere blip in the data.
The takeaway: never ignore context. Just because Caribbean cruise isn’t popular now, or I should say, as popular as it was prior to Covid, it doesn’t mean that the use of the keyword is your downfall. I would look at ways use of the word can be re-energised. Use the current covid travel climate to your advantage, and with more places opening up and travel kicking off again, it might be a good way for you to develop content for people getting ready to consider traveling on cruises again.
Other ways of adding context include:
- Using the + Compare tool to add new keywords.
- Filter by country or category.
- Web searches.
6. Get more advanced with specific search options
Using “related queries” and other specific search options can help you find new keyword ideas. For example, if you’ve followed any homesteaders you’ll most likely find content on their brand for cooking, baking, canning, preserving food, food security, bushcraft, DIY building, chickens and animal husbandry, beekeeping, herbalism, natural medicine, homestead businesses, electric fencing, pasture management, shooting, hunting, gardening, off-grid and more.
Homesteading is but one search term – but the interests are much greater and broader.
Here’s how you can use related queries in Google Trends to find some of these new keyword ideas.
You’ll notice five options – many of which even frequent Google Trend users don’t always use:
- Web search (Default)
- Image Search
- News Search
- Google Shopping
- YouTube Search.
Each individual click will provide results based on different segments of your potential markets. In the same way different social media systems have different algorithms, the same applies to keywords being used in Google Trends.
You’ll also notice even more options here for sorting popular topics and queries (Note: this is set to certain defaults in this case Rising. Click Rising and you’ll also have the option to view the top overall keywords and the relevancy of its growth. Usually, Rising is a better option if you want to identify the hot trends.)
These suggestions are highly useful for SEO because they can help inspire new content that embraces new trends. Digging deeper into these queries will only be advantageous for you – there’s a good chance that you can hop on a new trend before it becomes a “breakout” and secure a top position for your latest post in search engines.
7. Target by location
Whilst most people think of using the keywords only, you should consider the location/region as part of your search function. You will achieve different results for different needs.
For example, my online soap business is based in Australia, so when I do keyword searches for blog posts and other social media content, I focus on things trending only in Australia. Targeting a worldwide market is pointless as I limit my purchasing audience to Australia.
For the Life on Milo’s Farm brand, I do worldwide as my location because I want to achieve more growth through readership, shared knowledge and lessons, and connection with other like-minded homesteaders around the world.
Location filtering allows you to hone in on the geographic areas with the highest demand for your products or services.
Using our “homesteading” example from earlier, you’ll find that Wyoming, Vermont, Montana, Idaho and Oregon are the states where most interest on homesteading is coming from at the moment if you select United States as the country.
8. Trend predictions and cycles
It’s the easiest thing in the world to log on to Google Trends and identify those trends that already leave a trail of breadcrumbs.
But there is a problem….
Every other marketer and content creator is using the same data. If you want additional insights, try using the available data to predict trends.
In order to get the best out of Google Trends and use the latest trends in a way nobody else does, you should be looking keenly at what is happening seasonally at all times. With the help of Google Trends, you can find relevant topics that are trending right now and create content about them before no-one else does.
Not long ago, the practice of “newsjacking” was a sure way to capitalise on current hot stories. Google Trends can indeed show you exactly which news trends of the day are the hottest. I would consider these short term media cycles, and these can be as good as they are bad. If it works for you, you could propel yourself as a content creator, but if done bad, then you could just be another blip in a huge sea of creators.
It all depends on how you use the knowledge and data to promote your content.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Identify trends with filtering by specific categories or countries. Today’s top health story might not make major headlines in Google Trends, but it can help you identify topics to watch.
- Compare two key phrases in a single trend. For example, “homesteading” + “United States” + “okie homesteading expo” is coming up as a Breakout search string. The Okie Homesteading Expo was on 19 March 2022, but it was the first one, which could indicate an increase in trend interest due to other regions wanting to emulate a similar type of expo, or potential internal migration to that area identifying local things to do in the area. A simple google search shows lots of youtube videos about the expo showing lots of Youtube Homesteaders attended.
Understanding trends in cycles is important too. Like our example earlier on cruises, it’s likely that things that stopped trending in 2020 and 2021 may now be redeeming as breakout trends, as restrictions ease and travel opens up again. Don’t dismiss a term because you limit your research to a couple of years only, because just like those mum jeans, your content – old and new – will also be more or less popular depending on what else is happening.
9. Use long-tail key phrases to inspire content
Long-tail keywords are phrases or words that are more specific – generally longer too – than more commonly used keywords. These type of search terms get less search traffic (due to their specificity) but will have a higher conversion value due to this same reason.
I’ll give you an example: most blogs or social media profiles have a niche or main topic – this is called the head term or main keyword. For example, mine is homesteading. If you had a food blog, your mainwords would be things like restaurant, eating, recipes.
The main topic of your homestead brand is what you want people to find you for. In my case, it would include homesteading but in the huge pool of other homesteaders, I want to stand out. So as an Australian homesteader, I should use a phrase such as Australian homesteader, aussie homesteading, homesteading in Queensland, homesteading in Australia.
These phrases are now all primary examples of long-tail keywords I could use on my blog and social media content.
But we can go further than that. Optimising our content can get deeper than just those terms. Let’s use food as our example:
- food blog – restaurant, eating, recipes
- Italian food, Italian recipes
- Homemade Italian ravioli, homemade Italian gnocchi, canning excess tomato for Italian pasta sauce
10. Identify blind spots & don’t misread the trends
Don’t ever trust a single snapshot. Always get a broader view of a timeline to see what else is happening. Just like the example of Okie Homesteading Expo – there’s a reason why this is important now, despite the event being in March 2022.
Is an increased trend in one key phrase still dwarfed by more important ones? Always look for context. Geographical and region-specific trends are subject to quick change which can benefit you as a content creator.
Knowing what you now do, you can use Google Trends to plan your content calendar.
- Google Trends data is more important and valuable than ever.
- There are unique insights to be learned for those willing to go beyond a basic search and understanding their core keyword in the grander scheme of trends
- The key is sticking with your queries until you find the insights – even if they aren’t always obvious.
To read the other articles in this series:
- 10 ways to promote your homestead on the internet
- Why blogging for homesteaders is still relevant
- Promoting your homestead on Instagram – 5 useful tips to gain followers and engagement
- How to use social media for your homestead business