How insightful is the Google Insights data?


This week Google launched their new ‘insight’ tool – and amazingly insightful it is too. I am absolutely hooked. Okay, I am a bit of a stato at heart so these sorts of tools really interest me.

You will see in the following screenshot that I’ve run some SEO agency-related search phrases. Within seconds you can get some insight:

  • the search phrase PPC is on the up
  • search engine marketing has been on a downward trend since 2004
  • the Christmas period is not popular for search engine optimisation

You can play with the following filters:

  • worldwide or country specific – so you can change your request to tell you the volume of SEO agencies in the United Kingdom versus running the query SEO agency UK.
  • date range – you can run queries all the way from the beginning of 2004 to-date, and any date range in between.
  • category – you can compare the general growth trend for a category (i.e. internet) versus a selection of search phrases.

Things Insight tells you:

  • search volume by keyword, by market
  • geographical distribution on a graphical heatmap
  • top searches related to your initial search queries
  • rising searches – fast growing, searches related to your initial queries
  • the seasonality of search trends
  • whether a keyword’s search volume is increasing or decreasing (annual growth trends)

Other search things you can play with:

  • you can use broad-match and phrase-match searches – e.g. Search engine marketing versus “search engine marketing” (see the above screen shot)
  • you can toggle the news headline feature off and on – great if you suspect a news headline triggered a surge in search queries
  • you can type in brand names – gives you a good idea of search market share. I have a quick sample of some UK high street banks (see below)

How insightful is the Google Insight data?

I have also been playing with some paid search numbers to see how well the Google Insight data maps onto the PPC phrases we are bidding for.

The keywords I have worked on so far are commercially sensitive. But, I can tell you, that with a little bit of effort in Excel you can check the accuracy of Google Insight versus the ‘real’ search volumes for a keyword.

Result, Google Insight is giving you genuine, non-skewed search volumes. (Google has used a factoring model to modify the Y-axis of their charts.)

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