Marketing is often about getting involved in the next big thing, and search engine optimization is no different. Trending topics, or topics likely to see increased search activity in the very near future, can be then perfect way to optimize for searchers looking for applicable, topical information, and timely information. Addressing trending topics in your SEO efforts can net you exponential organic growth. Google’s new index prioritized timely articles in two ways. First, the Google News module places recent news stories at the top of the index. At the bottom of the first page results, Google places trending social media topics, like Twitter and Facebook posts. In this article, we will discuss the types of trends that are commonly used and tools that you can use to discern new trending topics.
Short-Term Trending Topics
Google’s new index prioritizes non-index results, like news stories and trending social media stories. Writing relevant, timely articles about trending Twitter hashtags or news stories can be the source of wide organic traffic.
Articles should be keyword optimized for common search results. For example, an article about the 2012 Republican Primary should be optimized for a long-tail keyword that a news searcher might use. A good example might be “last night’s debate performance results.”
The easiest way to address recent, topical information in your niche is to set up a Google Alert for keywords you are interested in targeting. This will deliver relevant news to your inbox in a daily digest, allowing you to write daily summary articles about news stories and press releases.
See if these news alerts received in your digest are important enough to influence Twitter’s trending hashtags topics. It isn’t vital, but if a news story receives enough social media discussion, it will also receive an additional spot on Google’s first page index under the social media feed.
Long-Term Trending Topics
Addressing long-term trending topics early can put you ahead of your competition in search engine optimization results. Since part of Google’s algorithm prioritizes pages based on their creation date, you can optimize for keywords first by being one of the leaders in your field and keeping an eye on trending topics.
Google maintains a list on long-term search trends at google.com/trends. Here, you can find both emerging topics as well as examine the number of searches on certain keywords in a longitudinal timeline.
For more in-depth analysis of trends, Google Insight allows you to break down searches by date, location, and by comparison. For example, you can analyze and compare the search activity for two terms, like “Toyota” and “Honda” in the U.S. automotive industry in the last three months to see which keyword is more useful for your demographic targeting efforts. Watching the peaks and valleys of these search results can influence whether you should focus your SEO efforts on Toyota or Honda models, maximizing the value of your marketing budget.
Focusing on Downward-Trending Topics
When considering long-term trends, remember that keywords can go down in search traffic as well as up. Google Insights can help you learn what terms you should be targeting as well as help you decide what terms are no longer producing the organic traffic necessary to focus your SEO efforts on.
The tools above can also help you discover if your keywords are becoming unpopular search. For example, compare the Google Insights keywords “iPad” and “iPod”. In early 2011, there were more searchers looking for iPads than iPods, so marketing efforts for an Apple Rumors blog targeted toward the iPod Touch would receive less traffic than iPad-targeted news.