You may have already used Google Trends to assess whether dropshipping presents a good business opportunity for you. If that is the case, you've taken the first positive step to success!
Thorough research before launching any business is vital and Google Trends is a tool that can help you use real data to help you make business decisions and take your dropshipping store to great heights.
The truth is that most people don't do the research. They dive straight into a niche or product category without doing their homework, and the results are often poor.
Trust me; you will have a clear competitive advantage if you put in the work!
This article will cover key tips on harnessing the power of Google Trends to help you with your store's niche and product selection decisions, SEO ranking, and marketing techniques.
What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a website by Google that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. Using graphs, you can compare the search interest for different queries over time.
An x-y axis graph will be produced with the x-axis representing ‘interest over time' and the y-axis representing ‘search interest'.
Search interest numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart (100) – this is not search volume.
By way of demonstration, take a look at this example:
Worldwide, over 5 years (x-axis), “Paleo Diet” displays a down-trending search intent (y-axis).
Google Trends has a ‘compare' functionality where you can compare two or more different search queries. This makes it easy to compare different queries directly.
In the example below, I've compared the various ‘diet' niches over a ‘5-year' time span to assess popularity using a ‘worldwide' filter:
Most importantly for dropshippers, Google Trends will help you assess products on the rise or decline, and you can monitor the position of your competitors too!
It also allows you to evaluate seasonal trends clearly. Of course, there's no missing the impact of New Year Resolutions in January in the ‘diet' graph above!
You'll want to go to Google Trends to test and experiment with these tips for using Google Trends for your dropshipping store.
How to use Google Trends
To assess a trend or the demand for a certain product or niche, I suggest keeping your parameters broad to start with.
Set your filter to ‘worldwide' and your date range to the ‘past 5 years' or ‘2004 – present' (the next step could be to experiment with different time frames to find more current data using the ‘past 12 months').
Let's take a look at the graph produced by the keyword ‘Dropshipping' by way of demonstration:
You'll be looking for a graph that shows stable upward growth, perhaps with seasonal spikes.
A sudden spike upwards alerts us to a sign that there is increased demand for a certain niche or product, and we want to hop on that trend! It looks like some of us are on the right path with dropshipping!
So Google Trends is vital to dropshippers, not only to assess niche and product demand but also to understand geographical and demographic insights to tailor your offering and research your competition.
How can Google Trends help you in your dropshipping store?
If Google Trends is used to analyze what people are searching for and dropshippers are looking to sell what people are looking for, it is a match made in heaven!
No matter how good you think the product might be, it will not sell without an audience ready to make a purchase.
Let's dive into the tips on how to use Google Trends for your dropshipping store:
1. To find a store niche
Google Trends is a great tool to give us information about the popularity of a particular niche and whether the demand in that niche is rising or not.
We know we should focus on a niche that we have a passion for, but we need to narrow this down to something that we can be sure is consistently trending upwards.
The graph result will also show you if a market is trending or evergreen. As dropshippers, while trending niches can work, we ideally look for niches that show consistent interest over time.
If we put a lot of work into SEO, we don't want to focus on fleeting demand.
We want to watch for seasonal spikes and take advantage of these, but we'll need alternative products in the ‘drought' months.
Let's use the keyword ‘snowboarding' as an example. The sport is obviously seasonal, and interestingly, you'll see a massive spike that correlates around the time of the Olympics.
So while you can certainly capitalize on the trend, you'll want to have other seasonal products that you can promote during the off-season:
Start by doing a general search in Google Trends with an umbrella keyword or brand name in the industry you want to research. You'll want to start quite broad, and for this reason, I would use the filter ‘All Categories'.
Here, I have taken ‘Home Fitness Products' as a topic to explore.
After analyzing the keyword, I used the comparison filter to compare the performance of several keywords.
The massive spike as the pandemic hit is clear for the keyword ‘home gym', and the keyword has flattened out with only a slight upward trend.
I would have preferred to have seen a stronger upward trend when adding home fitness products to my dropshipping store, but ‘Home Gym' seems to be the best keyword to use.
To find alternative keywords, after doing a keyword search, if you scroll down, you will also see fields with ‘Related Topics' and ‘Related Keywords'.
Here, you will get topic ideas for your content and additional search phrases to research:
Now you can download the full list of related topic suggestions. This is a great way to get initial product and topic ideas related to that niche.
Pay attention to the keywords that have had significant growth in search volume over the last couple of years.
Often, you can already find brand names in this list. So keep those aside to check the search interest for your competitors.
2. Fine tune keyword research and find new keywords
Keyword search volume refers to the number of times a term was searched within a set time frame. This is vital to dropshippers, as search volume ultimately drives new traffic to any site.
Google Trends allows you to enter any keyword phrase and see graphics of how interest in that topic has increased or declined over the course of any time frame.
It’s important to understand that Google Trends presents relative keyword popularity.
This means that the line graph you see for any term that you have entered represents a ratio of the number of times that word or phrase was searched in relation to the total number of searches of anything conducted in a given place at a given time.
I'd recommend placing your results into a dedicated spreadsheet to save and export items trending on Google for ongoing use. Then, use the download button to export the keywords into a .csv file.
Your site needs to incorporate keyword research ahead of posting content if you hope to perform competitively, and your product description needs to be optimized for a particular keyword.
This article, SEO for Dropshipping Stores: 7 Ways To Increase Your Traffic, will give you a good start.
Google Trends will help you analyze whether people are actually searching for that keyword and to choose the best keywords to target.
But, of course, many other keyword research tools will help you drill down further. (More about this later!)
To change things up, let’s take the case of ‘office chairs'.
Using Google Trends, the search volume for ‘office chair' is trending upward, suggesting this could be a great product to sell:
The next step is to find the keywords that go with this query. You want to optimize the use of related keywords by looking at ‘Related queries' and ‘Related topics'.
My research led me to believe ‘grey' office chair, ‘ergonomic' office chair and ‘velvet' office chair keywords were worth investigating!
3. Finding the best products to sell
Google Trends is incredibly valuable for pulling data to help online business owners spot growing trends and the seasonal trends of certain products.
To investigate search volumes for a particular product, make sure you extend your range from the default ‘Past 12 months' to ‘2004-present' or ‘Past 5 years'.
This filter will help you clearly see whether the search volume is increasing or declining. Moreover, this will reveal whether there are any seasonal changes in the trending product’s demand.
Let's analyze the keyword ‘Hoodie'. First, we see a decent upward trend over time and very strong seasonal peaks:
Using ‘Related Topics' and ‘Related Queries' when you are using the Google Trends tool, you will find other product categories that your target audience may also want to buy.
Let's look at what the tool came up with relating to ‘Hoodie':
We can see that many people who search for “hoodie” seem particularly interested in ‘Nike', ‘Black' and “Zip” hoodies. So you can see how this is a perfect way to look for long-tail keywords.
Using the Related Topics feature on Google Trends, you can find great suggestions to expand your product offering. For example, ‘Fortnite' hoodies were mentioned under ‘Related Topics' and could be worth further investigation!
Next, let's look at an example of a stable product using Google Trends: ‘pet bed'.
We can clearly see in this graph that there is decent search volume with some peaks and dips. However, for the most part, the search volume for this product is pretty stable.
For example, at the time of writing, ‘Calming Pet Bed' is trending. I noticed this keyword when searching for ‘Pet Bed' under ‘Related Queries'.
The graph gave me the following information:
The seasonal peak in December may indicate that customers gear up for winter for their pets or may even suggest that they buy gifts for their pets at Christmas time!
4. Promotion differentiation for different regions
Assessing the regional trends for your niche or product will give you insight into the kind of products in high demand in various regions.
As a result, you may decide to target a certain country when marketing, keeping a close eye on seasonal influences and providing your customers with items that they have indicated they actually want at just the right time.
You'll be able to find new markets for your products and will be able to tailor the shipping offering specifically to that market.
Instead of targeting a major country like the United States, let's go back to our ‘hoodie' example and see what the different states within the US think about hoodies.
As you can see above, the highest search volume is from New York.
So what does this mean for us?
The ‘interest by subregion' graph helps us understand the specific areas that are driving interest in a topic or search term.
I would target my advertising to the states where I am most likely to land sales and hopefully conserve my ad budget in the process.
5. Spotting trending topics
You’ll find a section for trending searches on the Home Page of Google Trends. Trending searches are the hottest topics of the moment.
You can browse daily trending searches, real-time search trends, and search by country.
Use this information as a source of inspiration for generating keywords to use and topics to write about and catch the wave!
While most trending searches are concerned with celebrity news, you will find some trending stories that tie into certain niches.
Google Trends can provide a source of inspiration for generating keywords to use and topics to write about. Search daily search trends and real-time search trends, even diving into the archives of previous years:
You can not only use this for things like product research but also for your Social Media marketing efforts! (For example, by tweeting about trending topics in your niche).
6. Insight for writing and refreshing content
Because Google Trends allows users to study the search trend of any place, person, thing, activity, or anything else using a quick search, it is a brilliant resource to access popularity trends for your content.
As dropshippers, we use content marketing to increase brand awareness and to get more traffic to our store. So creating blog content for your website can certainly help grow your business.
And a reminder, you'll be able to assess the demand for a product or topic on a per-region basis which will help you know how to target your advertising and tailor your online content.
So, apart from including a trending product in your catalog, you should plan content that relates to the product. If you do it before your competitors, you'll rank higher and grab more sales!
While you are researching, Google Trends will help you identify the times of the year when the topic is more popular, so you can prepare your content well in advance and promote it during peak interest.
With Google Trends as your helper, you certainly don’t have to be an SEO expert to produce on-page SEO. Using the keyword insights from Google Trends coupled with other keyword tools, you can ensure your keywords are relevant and likely to rank without guesswork.
Using the ‘calming pet bed' example, if you own an online store that targets pet lovers, you could have written a newsworthy article describing the benefits of the calming pet bed on your blog.
Here's an example from an online store called Puplifestyle that wrote an article:
Smart dropshippers will publish this content when the chart shows the trend peaking seasonally i.e. December.
Cross reference Google Trends with other tools
Google Trends is incredibly good at showing you big picture trends and relative data.
If you really want to get specific and see detailed search data, you’ll have to combine it with other keyword research tools. This is when it’s most effective.
A keyword research tool gives you insight into how often certain words are searched and how those searches have changed over time. This can help you narrow your keyword list to:
- Get the most accurate keyword difficulty scores.
- Analyze search volume at global and local levels.
- Look at the number of SERP (Google Search Engine Results Pages) results to size up the competition.
There are a large number of popular tools on the market. What better way to research them than to start with a Google Trends comparison:
If you're interested in finding the right keyword research tool for you, check out this article from Backlinko.
Let's stand out from our competitors by using Google Trends to validate important decisions in our dropshipping business based on actual data.
There are certainly not many market survey tools like this that show the bigger picture that are free for us to use!
I hope you have learned more about using Google Trends and that you have further insights into your chosen niche or more information to decide whether your product has legs.
If you're interested in doing even more research, check out our guide on how to do product research on Pinterest!
And if you're interested in learning more about starting an online store without holding any inventory, check out our complete dropshipping beginner's guide here.
Enjoy the research and good luck!