Are you dissatisfied with the information available from Alexa as far as
viewing web traffic for blogs? I certainly know I am very dissatisfied with
Alexa. Well, there is a new sheriff in town and Alexa should be scared. The new
800 pound gorilla is none other than Google, which has just released their new
Google Trends for Websites.
Why should you care? It's backed by Google and it's free. Now you can compare
your web site or blog with your favorite competitor. How does your make money
blog compare to John Chow, John Cow or Problogger? Who has the most traffic?
Google has an answer. I want to thank
WebProNews and Doug Caverly for introducing me to this new tool
Google Labs Product Still in Discovery Mode
The Google Trends for Websites is still in discovery mode. It is part of Google
Labs and as such will probably change over time. But, it has some cool features
including, a graph with your traffic or if you type in multiple domain names
you can graph you and your competitor's traffic side by side. Along with the
graph you will find a list of regions where your visitors come from, websites
your visitors also visited and some other search terms.
The data that is displayed comes 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."
They show data for the last year, which may be good or bad depending on the
kind of year you are having. It is only available in English currently, but
they claim other languages will be available long term. You can type in up to
five websites at one time separating them with a comma.
The graph that is displayed shows traffic trends for all websites on your list
that Google has traffic from. Then below that information is a drop down list
box of the websites on your list. By choosing one of the sites in the list you
can create comparisions based on data of the chosen site.
What region are your visitors coming from? Are you getting traffic from the
United States, India, Australia, California, New York, Illinois or Florida? How
does the traffic compare with the other websites in your list? Do you excel in
other states from your competitors? Is there a reason that is happening? Should
you have a better or bigger presence in New York or California?
By clicking on a specific region link you can dig deeper into the region and
get trends for just that region. This allows your research to go deeper and
your analysis be more comprehensive.
The "Also visited" list shows websites that your visitors also visited. Do your
visitors track the same visitation pattern that your competitors visit? Do you
know why there is a difference? Does it matter? I suspect part of the
visitation pattern has to do with advertisers to your blog or articles you
write with links to other articles. If you blog about gardening are your
visitors also visiting other gardening sites? Remember to not compare your
site's visitors to blogs in different niches. It may not mean much. But, as you
peruse the list evaluate where there is sameness and try to interpret the
There is also a list for "Also searched for" meaning that visitors to your site
also searched on other sites for specific information. This might translate
into a competitive advantage if you want to extract and evaluate the data
provided. Remember you can get similar information from Google Adwords and many
different non-Google keyword tracking sites.
Feel Free to Play with the Google Trends for Websites Tool
As you play around with the tool you might find yourself clicking on one of the
subregions presented and you will see that the "Also visited" and "Also
searched for" sections changes. The people in India that visit your blog are
visiting different sites and searching on different keywords than people from
Don't be too concerned if the information about your blog or web site is not
graphed. I don't know what the threshold levels are, but in the time frame I
checked for my web site, I had over 100,000 page views a month with over 40,000
visitors per month. During that time frame my search engine traffic represented
80% or more of my traffic. My site didn't graph.
Something I did see that I found interesting is if you compare sites in your
particular niche using the graph you can find seasonal trends. As you are
planning your ad budget or new product releases, this information becomes
important for financing and marketing. If you look at the graph for these
garden sites you see the trends for summer (high) and winter (low). These are
obviously no brainers for landscaping, gardening and seeds, but how about your
niche? Are you about to roll out a brand new web site or product during a down
time for your niche? This tool could save you a ton of money if used properly.
Google Trends for Websites is a Fascinating Tool
Google trends for websites and blogs is a fascinating tool and opens up many
avenues of playing and musing while you should be working or writing. But, I
think there are nuggets of value that can be harvested and used to your
advantage. Remember that the information is compiled information from multiple
sources and may not accurately reflect all information available from the
website. Then again, Alexa doesn't come close either so, you haven't lost
anything by making decisions from the information available from Google Trends