Google Trends, SEO and Predictions

January 23, 2017

Welcome back Rankers! I thought I’d take a look at Google Trends this week because there are a few elections happening and, as we know from the U.S. Presidential elections from the past twelve years, a good predictor of that is Google Trends. So I thought it would be a good exercise to show you how to do some keyword research, but also some of the added benefits that Google Trends now has, especially down to the hour, the last four hours, or the day, of what is trending and what’s not.

So let’s take a look.

The French Connection

The big election coming up (unless you know of others – please let me know) is the French one. This one caught my eye, the French Presidential election. Apparently one of the newspapers over there has given up on polls, as they just don’t work. So I thought let’s go and see who the Presidential candidates are. Incidentally, they’re actually saying that for the Presidential election in France it will come down to two players. François Fillon and the far-right Marine Le Pen.

So if we go and have a look at what Google Trends says, then yes, Marine Le Pen definitely. If it were held yesterday, she would definitely win the French election. The guy in red is coming up as you can see, but the other guy who they were tipping, sorry but he’s out. He’s gone. Unless that graph changes on the day of the election.

But what we know from the U.S. Presidential elections is that the guy who trends most, I’m saying guy as it’s only ever been guys in the U.S., the guy who trended most on the day was always the winner. So you have to check this on the day if you are going to place a bet or something like that. (If you do, you do so at your own risk!)

Down Under Trends

So there was also a story about the Australian political system, and what was trending there. There was a story that the Greens were now less popular than the One Nation party, which I guess is our Marine Le Pen, except a little dumber.

You can see here, unfortunately in the last seven days, and I say unfortunately because…well I’ll let you look them up yourselves. Looking at the graph they are heads and shoulders above. If we go the last thirty days…the leader has said some extreme things recently, so you think okay, that’s why they’re in the press. The leader was invited to Trump’s inauguration, so that’s why we have these peaks.

But based on what we know from the last twelve years of data, that would indicate they’d go pretty well if an election was held today. Interestingly the government, which is the Liberal party, is not going well at all when you look at it from the party level.

So I thought let’s go look at the leadership levels of the parties. And we can see that this here is the leader of One Nation. She is way above everyone. Then comes the Prime Minister. You’d think that would be tainted by people just doing searches in Australia about the Prime Minister and not necessarily party-based. Maybe they’re just looking for ministerial announcements or whatever. But that is significant when you look at the number two party, or what is supposed to be the number two party, the ALP party with Bill Shorten, that’s languishing way down.

As far as the story goes that One Nation is now more popular than the Greens, yes, that is actually true. Big time.

Can We Predict Outside Politics?

So then I thought I’d go check it against something else. People in the office were saying that if it works, they could place some bets with Sportsbet or something. But it only seems to work with popular votes. So then we thought why not check a reality TV show. You can do this yourselves at home and have a play with it.

So what I thought we’d do is take a look at a competition in Australia called The Voice. These are the results from last year. Here is the thirty-day lead-up to the final vote for The Voice last year. You can see here that this person, Tash Lockhart, had four times the amount of searches of the winner, which was the blue guy, Alfie Arcuri who you can see much lower down. Then you question what’s wrong with that and bang goes the theory. It’s busted. Well the results are rigged because Trends is saying something different. Trends is saying that Tash Lockhart is nearly three times as popular as the winner, so something is dodgy there.

Then Courtney in the office said, “Why don’t we just Google her name?” Maybe there was something happening on the day or something like that. So we did the search and as you can see we got an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. If you use Google search suggestions you find out why it spiked, and it was due to a major wardrobe malfunction on the day.

Google trends and the hive mind
Google trends and the hive mind

So excluding those sorts of outliers, Google Trends is good at telling you what the popular Zeitgeist is of the moment. We’ll have a look at the “leaders” here. If we check the past seven days we see she’s still in front and no one knows who this guy is in green. He’s dropped off the face of the earth. I actually had to ask someone in the office who the leader of the Greens was! It doesn’t mean much as I try not to follow politics if I can help it.

So this is the last twenty-four hours. The trend is continuing. It has been pretty much stable over the past thirty days, the past seven days, and the last day. What’s going on today? What are people searching for today? This is what we did with the U.S. Presidential election. We looked at the day. Right now it’s still trending for the leader of One Nation. What’s happened in the last hour? We might not have enough data, but we’ll take a look anyway. She’s still there.

Pauline Hanson Trending
Pauline Hanson Trending

A Useful Tool

You can use Trends for a number of things. What I’d really like to see is an API where we could query the data and then dynamically generate ads based on location. So if you were doing some sort of event, you could go in and see what’s trending in the area around that event and what ads you want to take out right now for those people searching for stuff in that area.

So this granularity of data that Google Trends has now is just sensational. Obviously we can’t get real volumes, we can only get relative volumes. So ‘100’ is 100% of searches and everything else is relative to that point. It’s a really interesting tool to use and it does a lot of things that Google AdWords Planner won’t do such as looking between past and present tense, splitting up plurals and singulars and those sorts of things. So it’s really helpful.

If you’ve got any elections or popular voting stuff, TV shows, reality shows, whatever it is, let us know in the comments section or on YouTube or on the blog, Facebook, SmartCompany, or wherever you’re watching this. Let us know and we’ll have a look. Hopefully we can make some money gambling. Do so at your own risk.

See you next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

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