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Google search terms: How digital search trends can change in an instant

By Natalie Austin


Read Time: 3 Minutes

Remember the last time you looked for something on a search engine? From the words you used, the reason you searched it and why you had an interest in it — it wasn’t by chance. Digital search trends ebb and flow with time according to interests and consumer needs. Utilising the change in data helps us analyse and understand them, but also, as marketers, to remain relevant in changing times. Explore this guide on the world of Google search terms and learn how to optimise your digital strategy.

Why are Google search terms important?

In the online world, information is everything. Using tools, we access and study web user behaviour patterns to find gaps where businesses can benefit. 

To brush up on knowledge about the importance of keywords and searches, refer to our guide on how Google keyword planner works. This tool allows us to research and detect the best keywords to use for SEO (search engine optimisation), as well as reveal the patterns of online users and consumers. Staying abreast of trending Google search terms is crucial as they can change so quickly. Why and how they change, however, is dependent on a few factors, such as current events and general interest. 

A case study in fashion

Earlier in January 2021, the United States celebrated the inauguration of their 46th president. It was a different sort of inauguration — as viewers observed by watching televised and online streams due to lockdown restrictions. Soon after the coverage, the search for ‘yellow coat’ increased by 1,328%. The reason? Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old US national youth poet laureate who performed at the event, wore a stunning Prada yellow coat and won over viewers’ hearts (and search interests).

We uncovered this insight with help from search engine Lyst. Lyst takes search data and translates it into ‘what’s hot’ in fashion. From a single occurrence, a search term like ‘yellow coat’ can rise to the top of the ranks and out-perform others. But keep your eyes open as these Google search terms are always changing. On that same day, ‘purple coats’ increased by 809% in six hours, as worn by Vice President Kamala Harris, ‘mittens’ went up by 311% due to Bernie Sanders’ appearance, and ‘red headbands’ jumped to 560% – an accessory to Gorman’s yellow coat look. These searches directed visits to fashion house pages like Prada, Ralph Lauren and Loeffler Randall. With this information, data analysts suggest these keywords need a place in product descriptions and ads to assist searches and fulfil the sudden demand for stock.

How does this affect you?

Trends analysis is great for all fashionistas, but how does this affect you as the marketer? Keywords and trending Google search terms go way beyond just fashion events. They change with consumer needs.

With this last year of lockdowns, many consumers stayed at home and sourced their groceries online. For the sake of convenience, they needed their goods delivered. As an example, the phrase ‘stores near me’ in South Africa experienced a 200% peak growth. Similar increases occurred for ‘black owned business’ and ‘ethical brands’ searches. This came as a direct reaction from consumers looking not only for convenience, but ways to show support for local businesses hit by the impacts of lockdown.

Staying relevant in the world of e-commerce

Gathering information from search engine analytics is both a crucial tactic and tool to give your business the boost it needs. Similar keyword searches and trends stand out from this past year due to changes in the consumer market with international lockdowns. Recent reports shed light on what will make online businesses successful with regards to awareness and sales, which include:

1. Giving the customer clear information about products, stock availability and offers throughout their purchasing journey. Popular keyword searches: ‘virtual’ and ‘how-to’.

2. Being an authentic brand that gives consumers a reason to shop with you, whether by focusing on sustainability, supporting local efforts or taking stances on various issues. Popular keyword searches: ‘stores near me’ and ‘ethical brands’.

3. Providing potential customers with a reason and incentivising them to make their purchase (ie. a value offer). Popular keyword searches: ‘retailer’ and ‘discount’.

4. Allowing your business to be as convenient as possible, by offering delivery and collection options. Popular keyword searches: ‘delivery’, ‘curbside’ and ‘pick up’.

5. Adapting to long-term changes with a sound digital strategy, while also paying attention and staying flexible to respond to unpredictable short-term changes amongst consumers. Popular keyword searches included ‘loungewear’, which increased as opposed to the decrease in searches for ‘formal wear’. We can thank working from home for that one!

Make trends your friend

We hope you better understand the importance of trending Google search terms and keywords. Remember, by allowing data to inform your digital strategy, you are providing your consumers with what they want and positioning your business for success. For more information on best practices in SEO, social media marketing and more, contact us for a guided tour through the digital jungle.