Google Trends for Websites

If you’re a site owner, webmaster, SEO, or otherwise have an interest in website metrics, I think you’re going to like Google Trends for Websites. It’s almost as addictive to me as Google Maps is for, you know, normal people. :) You’re probably familiar with regular Google Trends, which lets you see trends in how people search for difference phrases such as full moon or skiing vs. swimming. Here’s the graph of how often people search for “full moon,” for example:

Trends for full moon

Those spikes correspond nicely to when full moons actually happen. Now you can do similar fun things with sites. Here’s a simple example with my site, mattcutts.com:

Trends for Websites for mattcutts.com

As you can see, Trends will try to estimate the number of visitors to my site over time. (The product is free, but you have to sign in if you want to get estimated numbers — otherwise you see the graph but not the number estimates.) There’s other good info too, though. See the graph below, for example:

Trends for Websites for mattcutts.com

This is saying that people who visited mattcutts.com also visited searchmarketingexpo.com and sphinn.com. You can “surf” related sites just by clicking around. You can also see what else people searched for. And you can even enter in two sites, separated by commas, to compare the estimated number of visitors between the sites:

Trends for Websites for mattcutts.com

It’s a lot of fun, especially if website metrics is your cup of tea. You can read the official blog post or Barry Schwartz did a write-up as well. The comments are pointing out that some sites might not have much/any data. I think that that’s mainly because there’s a minimum threshold of traffic before Trends is willing to show statistics for a site — bear in mind that this is a launch on Google Labs. But you can still do some fun analysis with Trends for Websites, even though it’s in Google Labs. And it is free, so give it a try.

53 Responses to Google Trends for Websites (Leave a comment)

  1. Awesome feature, thanks for sharing this Matt :)

  2. You bet, Manuel. I try to highlight neat stuff when I see it, even if I had nothing to do with it personally. :)

  3. Perma

    Fantastic, absolutely! Great feature!! Wow!

  4. Craig Graue

    Is there any information on how the data is collected, Matt? Some site data I’ve tried just seems extremely inconsistent with other traffic-estimator tools out there that I’ve used. Still a great idea for Google to offer up this information, though. Very handy, even just from an estimation standpoint.

  5. I’m not sure I understand the sign in part.

  6. Thanks Matt. The clients are going to love this!

  7. Greg

    Matt,

    Where is this data coming from, and how is it compared to Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, etc? I’m guessing Google is using data collected from the Google Toolbar for this?

    Your insights would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

  8. Sorry to change the subject (and not follow that webmasters url but I doubt there’s any answer to this over there) but did Google do a pagerank update or something along those lines this past week? My inbound traffic from Google plummeted Tuesday and Wednesday and my site just lost like 2/3rd’s of its overall traffic (yet I’m still very well indexed.)

    I’ve maintained a stable level for almost a full year and if this was a PR update, it literally just killed my site.

  9. you need to sign in to see all data, thats Not so hart to understand ;)

    Thx Matt, this is a really cool addon for trends.. Makes SEO analysis much faster..

  10. So, there is data for yahoo.com and msn.com, but not for google.de, google.com, youtube.com … don´t be evil ……….

  11. Matt,

    The “Also Searched for” data is incredibly up-to-date. Looks like it’s based on the week’s data.

    Morris

  12. Hi Matt,
    this is the first time I write on your blog so can’t help saying that it’s great. And it seems the above post numbers prove it.

    I checked the official webmaster blog post related to yours and found that two people asked the same question I was gonna ask you and nobody has answered it yet. So I’ll ask here too.

    Even if you don’t work on that: do you have any clue of why no Google owned sites are listed on google website trend? First query I searched: “google.com, yahoo.com” :-)

    BTW:I’m gonna use this new feature daily for work and fun. Thanks Googlers!

    For example I’ve just found out how little the SEO related sites are surfed from my country (Italy)
    http://tinyurl.com/56w3ty

  13. Never thought to use it to track websites. I also check it out just to see the fluctuation of a niche, but this looks pretty effective too. Closely inline with what Alexa does, but with a different angle.

  14. Matt,

    Are you Guys aware that Google Trends for Websites currently ignores robots.txt, in spite of what the help page says?

    Lukas

  15. netmeg, if you sign in, the Y-axis of the traffic graph will have estimated numbers; otherwise it won’t. I’m not positive why they want people to sign in to get numbers — maybe to prevent abuse or scraping?

    Craig Graue and Greg, there’s some info about that in the FAQ. They say:

    Trends for Websites combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research. The data is aggregated over millions of users, powered by computer algorithms, and doesn’t contain personally identifiable information. Additionally, Google Trends for Websites only shows results for sites that receive a significant amount of traffic, and enforces minimum thresholds for inclusion in the tool.

    Greg, you might also want to read why I personally am skeptical of data from the toolbar, especially as any kind of signal. As far as how this compares to other services like Compete/Quantcast/Alexa/Comscore/Hitwise/Nielsen/whatever, I think most people will try several services and eventually choose the service that they like the best. My personal opinion again, but I think it’s good to have different companies all tackling metrics, because you get a better feel for the possible range of answers.

    Glad if it proves helpful, Tom Lynch. :)

    Paul William Tenny, I don’t think that there’s been a PageRank update in the last couple months. Is it the site linked to from your comment?

    Jojo, I asked about that myself. Personally, I’d love to get as much data as possible, even data about various Google properties. My guess is that they were worried that people would take the traffic estimates as some sort of forward-looking guidance and possibly misinterpret it. Bear in mind that it is a Google Labs launch, so consider it an early-stage feature. I passed that feedback on though.

    Morris Rosenthal, I don’t know how often they update the data. For my site it seemed to be things from the last month or so.

    dan horton seo, I thought you might like this. Now you’ve got something you could blog about on a slow day. :)

    Lukas Stuber, is there an example site that blocks Google but where we’re showing data? If so, let me know and I’ll pass the example on.

  16. Paul William Tenny, I don’t think that there’s been a PageRank update in the last couple months. Is it the site linked to from your comment?

    It is, and if it’s not a PR update or something along those lines, then I’m fairly stumped here. A friend of my site told me she saw sudden drop off in traffic for her site as well and there’s nothing we share in common — I run Moveable Type on shared hosting, she’s on Blogspot. I’ve never seen a near 70% loss in traffic in a 48-hour period like this and the overwhelming source for it is/used to be Google.

    I saw nothing in the webmaster tools that would indicate that I’ve been dropped from the index or penalized for any reason and a drop like this has never happened before so it’s not just streaky traffic. But if it’s not a PR update either, then I’m sorry for distracting you from the topic of Trends (which I find very nifty, btw.) I just don’t see how it could be anything else.

  17. Waiting for Graywolf to get in here and explode!

  18. EGOL

    Domainers: Interesting to see the results of wikipedia.org vs. wikipedia.com – makes a good case for registering .com domains rather than .org.

    Marketers: If you compare llbean.com with landsend.com you can see how Bean has more effective pull during the Christmas rush.

    Psychologists: irs.gov shows two peaks in the early year. One in January as early bird file and the other in late April as panicked procrastinators scramble.

    Financial Aid Officers: fafsa.gov – the feds still don’t understand how important this one is to develop – or at least get a landing page or a redirect in place… the .com is…

    I can think of some others for politicians

  19. LGR

    Why is there no data for Google websites? Searches for google.com, youtube.com, blogger.com etc all return: “Your websites – youtube.com – do not have data to display.”

    There is data for Yahoo and Yahoo owned sites, and MSN and MSN owned sites.

  20. Should Google show other websites data without permission?

    Also why does google.com doesn’t show up???

  21. Matt,

    My example where robots.txt is disregarded shouldn’t really be public (hence the robots.txt), so posting it here…

    Any other ways to give you the URL?

    Lukas

  22. Paul William Tenny, I’ll ask someone about it.

    Ken Savage, maybe he’s too busy playing with it and enjoying it?

    Anuj, lots of companies have similar things, e.g. Compete, Hitwise, Quantcast, Comscore, Alexa, Nielsen.

    EGOL, good insights on those sites.

    Lukas, I dropped you an email to get the site.

  23. Hey matt !! I suppose this is confidential data !! If companies like: Compete, Hitwise, Quantcast, Comscore, Alexa, Nielsen. … etc as u had mentioned in your above comment gives data .. they also gives data for there company .. .. i.e … You can see alexa info for alexa.com .. But we cant see Google.com data on Google trends ..
    Is there something to block a site from Google Trends ? As I have some b2b clients with me and they will never like to share there data this way !!

  24. Ankit, I don’t think any of those services (Compete, Quantcast, etc.) provide an opt-out for websites right now, so to make the product useful (even on Labs), I don’t think that there’s an explicit opt-out right now. If a site is not in Google or gets below a certain threshold of traffic then it won’t be shown though.

  25. I know … but there should be something to block a site from showing at Google trends ..

  26. “My guess is that they were worried that people would take the traffic estimates as some sort of forward-looking guidance and possibly misinterpret it.”
    So, they should misinterpret the traffic estimates from yahoo.com or msn.com, but not from google.com or google.de? That is not an logical explanation. ;-)

    Btw, Google is spidering Google Trends for websites. Someone forgot to update the robots.txt.

  27. Jojo, here’s a comment that I wrote on a different blog about showing info for Google properties:

    I’ll pass on the feedback about providing metrics for Google sites. My personal guess is that given the brouhaha about Google metrics earlier this year (e.g. http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/21/why-comscores-google-paid-click-estimates-are-not-predictive-of-googles-revenues/ ), maybe the team wanted to start cautiously so that estimates on a Labs product wouldn’t be taken as hard truth or as some sort of forward-looking guidance. Again, that’s just my personal guess, but I’ll pass the feedback on.

    I’d like to see traffic for e.g. youtube.com, so I’ve passed this request to the team. Bear in my that it is a Labs launch, and the team will probably look for suggestions on how to improve over time.

  28. Great one more thing for me to check every ten minutes . But, I know I’m going to enjoy and will find this tool useful.

    Rosh

  29. Matt,

    I based the fast update comment on the results for Amazon, which showed one of the most popular search phrases for Amazon was “Tim Russert”. Sort of dates it to last week.

    Morris

  30. Paul William Tenny,

    For that site that lost most of its Google refered traffic,… Try changing some anchor texts of the menu and/or add some new links in the left column or any other place that will show these links in all pages. Then wait for most pages to get indexed and see what happens.

    (in case she recently added a whole bunch of new links to the site, advice her to take them out and wait for it to get reindexed as well and see what happens.)

    The problem you´re describing seems to be related to aging factors.

  31. Hmm, for some reason my site has an ODD looking graph. I’m not sure if it’s a bug or something, but it looks really bizzare:

    _____________________________________________________^

    and the numbers are off by an Alexa amount. One of our sister sites has a proper graph, but the numbers are also off by a significant amount.

    Anyone else seeing weird results?

    Chip-

  32. Dave (Original)

    Hmm, the head of Google’s web spam team links to a site on his personal Blog that is *taking money for selling links for PageRank*, I point the fact out and Matt deletes MY post *leaving the link there* ???????

    You did exactly the same when I pointed out the fact the Google sponsors conferences where black hat tricks are taught.

    Come on Matt, pretending the Google left hand is not fighting the Google right hand doesn’t make it so.

  33. This is a great feature, still, like Alexa it doesn’t work for subdomains nor directories, too bad :(

  34. Ros

    It “only shows results for sites that receive a significant amount of traffic”.

    What kind of threshold would this be? Does it roughly equate to the top 100, 000, or something? Unfortunately it’s telling me I’m too small-time to have a graph, dammit.

  35. Matt,

    Please correct me if i am wrong, but doesn’t Google Trends measure search volume only? Why would anyone use Google Trends this way other than to see how many times a URL has been typed in as a search query? The reason I bring this up is because it appears that since you have posted this there have been allot of web masters confusing “search volume” and “web traffic”.

  36. Yea; I might have had some privacy concerns for some of my clients, but so far I can’t get anything to actually show any traffic except for my fireworks site, and that’s only for a short time every June/July.

    I guess that takes care of the privacy issue.

  37. Matt,

    Nice feature, but it needs work. It’s wrong for all sites I checked (always like 75% less visitors than the site has according to analytics) or it doesn’t have data which is in most cases because a site seems to need at least 5000 visitors per day before it shows any data.

    Most brick & morter sites don’t have that many visitors. At least not in Brazil.

  38. I was skeptical, especially about the also visited feature which sound very big brother. But since there seems to be a high threshold of visits before a site is listed it does not invade privacy.

    One thing that I cannot figure out is in the Also searched for column there are multiple bars for each search term. Is it comparing all the web sites for the most common search term from all user of all the web sites?

  39. A nice feature for sure, but as mentioned above it’s significantly understating visitors vs analytics. I guess the trends team can’t use analytics data 1 because of privacy and 2 because then the data sources wouldn’t be consistent across the sites (as some won’t have analytics on them). Handy toy though.

  40. I have to say, for those sites that do show data, it is GREAT. This makes it very easy to show the results of our SEO. Finally something that doesn’t require people to login to analytics or other statistics software for which you have to first give an explanation of all the stuff that they´re showing.

    Please Matt, tell the team to make it work for small sites too.

  41. Matt – the robots.txt bug seems to be fixed. Thanks for your help.

  42. Sebastian

    Please don’t make it work for small sites!. If I wanted to make my traffic stats public to the world I’d publish them on my own site thank you very much. This needs an opt-out provision (without opting out of being indexed) quite badly. As someone put it in another thread on this subject “Do No Evil”? ha!

  43. Thanks Matt, I’ve been trying it and it’s usefull for me

  44. gary fung

    how is this better than compete, quantcast or alexa? google’s turned into microsoft..following the pack with inferior products. didn’t take long either..

  45. Google trends has helped my site so much, great little tool

  46. SW

    Google trends looks like a nice tool, but unfortunately, when I type in my sites and my competitors’ sites, the graph has no labels on the Y axis, so I can’t really see the number of daily unique visitors. :(

  47. ChristinaToo

    Matt – catching up on your posts via RSS and wanted to mention something I haven’t seen you post about… if you have, forgive me.

    Heard a story on NPR’s Marketplace (evening edition) on June 24 re: Google will soon kick off Ad Planner, helping its advertisers by providing a marketing assessment/audience measurement and making unbiased recommendations as to where to best spend their ad dollars. Commentary came from reporter Media Week’s Mike Shields; can you give us Google’s comment?
    Here’s a link to the story that ran:
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/06/24/online_ads/

    Thanks, Matt.
    ChristinaToo – http://ariztravel.com

  48. Brian

    Someone commented on this before, any possibility that future developments might integrate subdomains/directories….lower requirements for search volume?

  49. Ela

    Mat great feature, thanks for sharing this ;)

  50. …a bit late… But thx for sharing! Where does the data come from? From Google Analytics or do you take Analytics only when you are also published in Google AdPlanner?

  51. meenakshi

    I have used Google trends more than google keyword/adword tool. I have been successful in SEO with Google insights and some other tools also.Geographic, year wise trends shows good reuslts with god traffic.One can select some 2 words phrases and few one word keyword to get permanent good traffic for your website.

  52. It’s such a pity that Google Trends for Websites has vanished when Google Trends and Google Insights merged. I do hope that Google has plans to share this unique data in some other ways.

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