Google trends started ten years ago in 2004, and has done nothing but grow since its inception.  With billions of search queries made every year, Google has an incredible wealth of data on their hands.  Trends is their way of allowing you, the regular user and blogger, to access that data.  Using it successfully allows you to capitalize on trending topics to create blog posts your users are interested in seeing, the moment they want to see them.

To really capitalize on trends, you need a fast content creation process.  You can’t write blog posts based on current trends now, only to have them published two months from now.  The trending topics will have changed and your news is old news by then.  No, to make use of trends, you need a fast turnaround from research to writing to publication.

Expand Keyword Research

By using your usual tools for keyword research, you can come up with topics related to your niche with a high traffic flow.  Take that list of keywords and run them through Google trends.  You’ll be able to see graphs of the interest in those keywords over time, but that’s not really why you’re here.

The real goal of running your keywords through trends is to see the related and rising keyword lists below the graph.  The related list will be Google’s suggestions of related keywords, though any other Google source for related keywords should display a similar list.  The rising list, however, is more useful.  It will list any related keywords that are on the rise over the most recent few days, or whichever time period you have selected.

Another check you can run in trends is the list of keywords you’re already targeting.  Check your oldest keywords and see if their trends are pointing down.  If so, you might consider editing old content to update it for new versions of those keywords, rather than letting them drag down your content

Content Idea Creation

The greatest power behind Google Trends is the up to the minute ongoing collection of trending information.  Choose a category in trends, then a subcategory, and click to explore that category.  The categories, if you can’t find them, are on the left sidebar under Top Charts.

You’ll be taken to the same page as you would if you typed in a word, but the difference is you’re getting queries that already have at least a minimal amount of search traffic.  Scroll down, under the chart, to the related keyword queries at the bottom.  Click to the rising and see what’s there.  Any query will show the percentage it has risen over the last few days.  What you’re really interested in is any keyword that’s listed as “breakout.”  A breakout keyword is a keyword that has risen over 5000% and has thus “broken” the rankings.

You can use these rising keywords to look for trending topics to cover with your blog posts.  Search in categories that relate to your niche, or in categories you’re interested in and may be able to tie back into your business.  This essentially streamlines the process of newsjacking.

Competitor Awareness

One little trick you can pull off with trends is a bit of competitor awareness.  You can plug in your competitor’s brand name and see how they’re trending in the short or longer term.  If they’re on the rise, you can perform deeper research to figure out why, and how you can take advantage of their strategies for yourself.

For a direct side-by-side comparison, you can use the “add term” button to add your own brand name or keywords, which will display as a second line on the same chart.  Where do you stand compared to the other businesses in your niche?

Historical Data

Instead of viewing trends over the last few days or weeks, stretch the timeline out to a full year or more.  With data stretching all the way back to 2004, Google has plenty of information you can use to plan your content in the future.  You’ll notice, for most general keywords, a relatively fixed trend that changes from month to month is a mostly defined pattern.  You can use this data to predict when a topic will be trending, and thus prepare to post about that topic just as it is reaching its peak.

This only works with the most general or long-lived keywords.  Running searches for the Apple Watch, for example, won’t get you a lot of historical data; after all, the device was only just announced.  By contrast, you can run a search for Halloween decorations and see the very defined peaks every October.  That’s logical, of course, but some time-sensitive trends may surprise you.

Embedded Data

Okay, so this one isn’t really an idea to generate more content for your site; rather, it helps you supplement the content you’re already creating.  Any time you’re coming up with a keyword trend you want to mention, consider whether your readers would benefit from seeing that trend graph in action.  Sure, they could go out and see it themselves, but wouldn’t it be handy to embed it?  Thankfully, Google Trends allows you to do just that.  Beneath any particular part of the trends information is a </> symbol.  That symbol, when you click it, pops up embed code to add that particular information to your site.  It’s quick, easy and updated whenever the user loads the page.

Pulling it All Together

With trends, you have a powerful idea creation engine and a keyword research tool rolled into one.  All you need to do is identify keywords that are at once rising and maintaining a significant search volume.  These can be keywords related to your niche, keywords related to current events, business decisions or anything else.  So long as you’re identifying keywords, you can put them to use.

The second step, once you have those keywords, is to morph them into a topic.  You can take those keywords to title generators for brainstorming ideas, or you can run them through Google News to see what others are already saying.  This has the added benefit of giving you sites you can link to for further information, and which may link back to you in return.  From there, all you need to do is the hard part; the writing of the post itself.