Google Trends: The Local Angle

Part Google Zeitgeist, part Yahoo! Buzz Index and part Alexa, Google Trends is a new tool for monitoring search volume of particular queries or comparing the volume of searches among several queries. Another interesting feature of Google Trends is that one can see by region where the volume of searches for particular terms is taking place. Google VP of Product Jonathan Rosenberg today characterized as a "personalized Google Zeitgeist." The data are from Google's own search logs.

Here are Danny Sullivan and Barry Schwartz's write-ups of Google Trends. Here's one from Search Engine Journal. And here's more press coverage than you'd ever want to read about the product.

I thought it would be interesting to demonstrate Google Trends in the context of a few local comparisons. This is not a reflection of absolute traffic to these sites. Rather it's a reflection of how many people use Google to search on these particular terms — direct navigation to these sites via these phrases.

superpages switchboard

yahoo yellow pages infospace aol yellow pages yelp service magic

google maps mapquest windows live local yahoo maps

google local yahoo local windows live local

This is an interesting tool to compare the volume of queries, but again it's not an accurate tool to compare traffic — because it's query dependent. For example, note the different results above using the URLs for Google Local, Yahoo Local and Windows Live Local vs. the product names themselves.

The tool also doesn't capture "the tail," where there isn't sufficient query volume to meet a traffic threshold that Google has set. Thus "probate lawyer" doesn't show up. But "auto repair" does.


2 Responses to “Google Trends: The Local Angle”

  1. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    It is interesting to see a discrepancy between the info provided by this tool vs the Google AdWords Traffic Estimator.

    Eg Compare attorney vs lawyer. Google Trends says attorney is a much more popular search term. GTE says it’s pretty much a wash.

    Perhaps they measure different things, but my assumption is they both measure the relative popularity of multuiple search terms.

  2. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    It’s also interesting to note that Elmhurst is the “sex” capital of the United States.

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