Google Trends FAQ

Interest over time in Google Trends just means searches over time. Google calls it "interest over time" rather than "searches over time" because the graph data is normalized from 0 to 100, so it shows relative interest over time.

Breakout in Google Trends means infinite growth. For example, if a keyword's search volume goes from 0 in May to 10,000 monthly searches in June, the search term technically experienced an infinite growth in volume, so Google Trends simply says "breakout".

Google Trends is considered to be very accurate and reliable - in fact, it's often cited by leading publications like the New York Times, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. Google also puts several measures in place to ensure the accuracy of the data, like ignoring repeat searches from a single user over a short period of time.

Yes, Google Trends is a free tool provided by Google. There's also an improved version of Google Trends, called Google Trends Supercharged, which is also free, and enhances the tool with powerful features like absolute search volume, alerts for trending topics, related keywords, and more.

Filtering Google Trends data by age, and other demographic data like gender, is not currently possible. However, the data can be filtered by geography.

The dotted line in Google Trends represents incomplete data. It's essentially Google’s forecast of how the search term will perform in the near future. For example, if you're looking at a graph with weekly data points, but it's only half way through the week, the last datapoint may be shown as incomplete.

Google Trends data is adjusted by normalizing the actual search volume numbers to a 0-100 index. This means that a keyword's maximum popularity will be shown as 100 in Google Trends.

The numbers in Google Trends represent the relative popularity of a search term. The numbers are not actual search volumes but are instead normalized to a scale from 0 to 100.

Filtering Google Trends data by gender is not possible. However, the data can be filtered by geography.

Yes, you can filter Google Trends by demographic under the “Interest by region” section. This map allows you to see the popularity of a topic worldwide or in any specific country, even letting you drill down the results by region, subregion, metro area, or city. However, note that these are not absolute rankings - regions are ranked relative to their population's search activity, almost like a searches per capita metric. This means, for example, that New Zealand could rank highest for "chocolate" even though it's population is 1/55th that of the US, where absolute search volume for "chocolate" is higher.

While Google Trends does not, by default, provide actual numbers related to search volume, you can install the Google Trends Supercharged (Chrome extension) which overlays absolute search volume numbers onto Google Trends.

Google Trends works by looking at a random sample of all Google search data to determine how many searches were done over a certain time range. The tool then analyzes the sample of all searches related to the query within the parameters (time and geography) set by the user.

While Google Trends does not support exact match, it does support phrase match, which you can do by wrapping the search term in quotes. "Keto diet", for example, will show search activity for any search containing "keto diet", including searches with other words to the left and/or right, like "what is keto diet" or "keto diet recipes".

Searching with a search term on Google Trends means you will see all search activity that uses that keyword. However, if you select "Topic" or one of the other options in the dropdown, Google Trends will limit the search activity to that definition. "Apple" is a useful example here because searches for the company and for the fruit look very different from one another. Searching "apple" and selecting "Search term" would mean that the company, the fruit, and all other uses of the word apple would be combined in the graph.

Searches for Apple the company and Apple the fruit

The Google Trends search volume index shows relative search volume over time. The index is from 0 to 100 so a value of 100 represents that keyword's peak lifetime search volume. While this makes it hard to compare two keywords (because both will be on a scale of 0-100 regardless of their absolute search volumes), there luckily are tools like Google Trends Supercharged that will overlay absolute volume numbers onto the graph.

Times in Google Trends are displayed based on your local time zone, according to your computer's IP address. So, for example, if you are in Japan – which is 12 hours ahead of New York – it will show you that searches for "sunrise" peak at your 6pm, which is really 6am in New York.

Google Trends supports boolean searches using quotes, "+", and "-".

  • Quotes: Phrase match
  • +: Sum the search activity of 2 or more terms
  • -: Subtract the search activity of a term (ex: elon -musk)

By default, you can export only some of the charts in Google Trends as a CSV by clicking the download button on the top right of each chart. However, the Google Trends extension lets you download even more data as a CSV including actual search volume numbers, people-also-search data, long-tail keywords, word cloud data, and more.

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