Hack Week Part 2 - Using Google Trends for International Search Marketing

Linda Bustos

January 16th, 2008

Google Trends is just one of the nifty tools the Big G hath bestowed upon the Internet marketing community. Basically to type in keywords to compare their search volumes against each other over time. There's also a "what's hot" element, each day there's a list of "Today's Hot Trends." Some of them are really hard to believe that they are remotely search-worthy, but clicking on a keyword will show

But I digress...Back to the Hack!

If you run separate online stores for different countries, you need to understand that sometimes a couch is a chesterfield, sneakers are trainers, french fries are chips, and candy bars are chocolate bars. Google Trends lets you enter a number of variations of keywords that essentially describe the same product and figure out which countries use which term more often.

Example 1:

"flash drive" vs. "USB drive" vs. "memory stick"

Now personally, I've always called these gizmos "flash drives." But the trends reveal I'm the minority. If I were running a .com, .ca and .co.uk version of my store, I would make sure I used "USB drive" for the US and Canada, and "memory stick" for the UK.

Hey, where's Germany? I thought. No problem, you can select any country from the dropdown menu to zero in on only that trend data (unless there is not enough search data for that country). I learned that Germans call them "memory sticks." I also learned that Austrians love David Hasselhoff -- far more than the Germans.

Here's proof:

Example 2:

"slow cooker" vs. "crock pot" vs. "crockpot"

Americans love their branded term, but they're more likely to use the 2-word version. The rest of us are more likely to call it a slow cooker.

So this information can be applied to your on-site optimization, to your pay-per-click campaigns and your email marketing headlines, should you be using geographic segmentation (which you should!).

Of course you can also compare products against products to see which are more popular, which may impact what you feature on your home page or email marketing, or even what items you decide to add to your store's offering.

Have you played around with Google Trends? What do you think?

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Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.