Think you’re up on the latest trends? Check out Google Zeitgeist to find out. Google recently released its annual report of fastest-rising search terms for the year, which covers everything from politics to gifts, and it also has a host of other tools to help you better understand what’s hot and what’s not.
The Year-End Zeitgeist report takes you back through the top events, happenings, and issues of the year. Not surprisingly, election terms top many lists; Facebook, iPhone, and YouTube made the all-around U.S. top 10; and there was a huge spike for searches on “layaway” after the financial crisis hit. There was also a spike in searches for hybrid cars and solar panels when gas prices started reaching their peak, though they’ve subsided now that prices have dropped.
So what does this mean for your business? If you’re a retailer, you’ll be interested in the Holiday Shopping product search report, which will give you insight into the gifts people searched for leading up to the holidays, such as Nintendo Wii, Guitar Hero World Tour, North Face jackets, and chocolate fountains. If you sell any of the items on the list, you’ll want to make sure people are finding your site in their searches. If you’re not showing up in the top results, consider hiring a search engine optimization specialist to help your site improve its standing, which can translate to more sales.
These popular search terms are also useful when thinking up blog topics and creating keywords for your site. In the year-end report, you can check out the fastest-rising searches for categories such as DIY (do it yourself); topping the list is DIY weddings, home, and Halloween. If you provide a product or service that can help in any of these areas, make sure people can find you with those terms, and be ready to have valuable advice to offer.
If your business has more of an entertainment bent, you can check out the hottest TV shows, reality shows, movie trailers, and sports teams. And while these offer a nice nostalgic look back on the year that was, Google also offers a list of the current top 100 searches that is updated multiple times a day to help you keep your finger on every pulse. You can subscribe to the list via RSS or add it as a gadget to your iGoogle page.
For terms not in the top 100, you can use Google Trends and Insights for Search to take a look at how terms related to your business have fared over time. You can also compare multiple terms, get a geographical breakdown of where people are searching for those terms most, and get insight into what may have caused a spike with related news articles. In addition, Google provides a list of related search terms to give you even more keyword ideas.
These tools are great for market research and they can help guide your content to keep your site relevant to what people want. And don’t forget to browse through some of the archives to check out what used to be hot and how things have changed; you can see all the way back to 2001.