The start of every year gives business owners the opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t over the past 12 months. Many large businesses have dedicated research and analysis teams to figure out where to put their money in the coming year. However, most small businesses can’t afford these types of resources. Thankfully Web giants like Google and Yahoo! compile yearly zeitgeists of the top searches in a number of different areas that a business can use to depict trends, fads, and geographical and/or regional data.
We can all learn a lot from what people are searching for online, but the trick is to know how to apply it to your business. Here are a few simple ways that you can apply popular search terms to your business in 2010.
First let’s look at how information is grouped. For instance, Google’s 2009 zeitgeist shows a number of top search categories broken down by city, news items, and sports and entertainment figures. Zero in on the areas that most closely identify with your business and begin looking through some of the more popular searches people were conducting in 2009. From there create a list of the most relevant areas you’d like to study and rank them yourself in accordance to the targets you’d like to set for your business in 2010 — whether it be for advertising, marketing, etc.
You can use this information in a number of ways. Take Google’s “That’s Entertaining” search zeitgeist for instance. Within the 5 most searched terms it lists the 10 most popular names and products. In 2009, country music star Taylor Swift was the most searched term regarding concert tickets. Even if something like this has nothing to do with your business, it could still be applied. Here’s how.
- It’s all in a name: Take a popular name or product of the moment and brainstorm ways it could apply to your business. After you come up with some relevant ideas, create advertising or marketing strategies and position your products or services around areas where the popular product or name most commonly shows up.
For example, you might ask yourself, “Who does Taylor Swift represent?” Most likely she would represent an audience of teens and young adults. This means that they’re more likely to be dependent on their parents for everyday living. Use this data to advertise or market your products or services toward the adults who will be purchasing the tickets, buying the paraphernalia, and looking for these types of things on the Web. You can position your business in these specific areas regardless of who or what is on top.
- Build content for search engine optimization: Using regional data, you can look up the most searched terms in your city or surrounding area. If a local term is getting a lot of coverage, you may want to come up with some content on your Web site that reflects popular local searches.
For instance, the second most locally searched term in Charlotte, North Carolina, was “Charlotte restaurant week.” Again, brainstorm ways that you can incorporate certain “popular” search terms into your site and create content with these names in them to get better search rankings. If you’re using Google AdWords, you might want to incorporate popular search names within your target audience to gain better results in a particular field.
- Consumer trends: In Yahoo!’s breakdown of 2009, two great areas for a business owner to look at are “Your Money in ’09” and “Top Products.” Using these two areas, a business owner can play stockbroker and position their product or service around where the consumer is putting their money. One way to capitalize on this area is to begin by looking for trends in the data. Next apply it to your product or service and come up with ideas that include things like: branding, marketing strategies, sales-team input, and future markets.
Search zeitgeists can provide a valuable window into the minds of the average consumer. Taking the data, brainstorming, and applying it to your business is just one more way to view trends, habits, and future markets that will help grow your company in the New Year.