Google Trends, by default, doesn’t show absolute search volume. To get search volume data overlayed in Google Trends, install the Google Trends Supercharged Chrome extension.
Below we cover why Google Trends doesn't show absolute volume by default, how you can still get it, and other common questions about Google Trends search volume.
How to see the number of searches in Google Trends
To see the actual search volume for any keyword in Google Trends, you’ll need to install the Google Trends Supercharged Chrome extension.
The extension adds a y-axis with absolute search volume numbers, rather than just normalized 0-100 values. It also shows the percent change over the past year so you can better understand a topic's growth or decline over time.
What does the 0-100 search volume index mean in Google Trends?
Instead of showing absolute search volume, Google Trends shows relative search volume, which is normalized. It basically compresses a keyword’s maximum search count down to 100.
So, for example, "bitcoin" had 34 million searches in December of 2017, but Google Trends simply shows this as "100" on the y-axis. When interest in bitcoin declined shortly after, searches fell to 5.7 million searches in May of 2018. Google shows this as "12", meaning it fell to 12% of the all-time high.
To see absolute search volumes in Google Trends, install the Google Trends Supercharged Chrome extension
What does “search interest” mean in Google Trends?
Google refers to their trend lines as "search interest" over time rather than "search volume" over time because they don't show the actual absolute volume.
Instead, Google Trends shows the normalized search volume which takes the actual search volume and simply fits it into a 0-100 window. This means a keyword's peak search count would be shown as "100" and a point in time where its interest was half that of the peak would be shown as "50".
What does "breakout" mean in Google Trends?
Breakout in Google Trends essentially means infinite growth. For example, if a keyword's search volume goes from 0 in January to 5,000 monthly searches in February, the normal calculation to determine how much it grew involves dividing by zero, which doesn't work in math, so Google Trends simply says "breakout".