Pros & Cons For Using Google Trends To Estimate Site Traffic

Business owners and hobby site owners alike want to know what kind of traffic they are getting. Since traffic is what drives the Internet, it’s important to understand how much traffic is coming to your web site for a variety of reasons. Entrepreneurs especially need to analyze traffic patterns on their web sites so that they understand when people are visiting their sites, and how many people visit on a day-to-day basis.

Indeed, understanding web site traffic patterns is vital to your business enterprise. When you try a new advertising campaign, or add new content to your blog, or start a new social marketing strategy, you want to see how well it’s doing. Online web analytics can help you see how much traffic you have coming in daily, and also let you see uniques, and get an idea of where the traffic is coming from.

There are many tools available to help you analyze your traffic. As you might expect, Google provides some of these tools. One of the tools you can use is Google Trends. As part of Google Trends, you can compare traffic for different web sites. However, as Chow points out, Google Trends might not be the best option for measuring your traffic.

Advantages to Google Trends

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to Google Trends is that it’s free. You can look at web sites, and see what kind of traffic they are getting. You can find daily unique visitors, and track them over time. Using Google Trends provides you with a visual look at your visits. You can match up your daily visitors with important steps you have taken on certain days to boost traffic. It can help you figure out what is working; when you notice an increase in traffic, you know that you are doing something right. And a free tool to help you analyze those patterns can be helpful — especially for a startup.

Not only can you find information about your web site, but you can also see what regions are visiting your web site. You can also see what other sites visitors have been visiting, for comparison purposes. Another advantage is that you can look at your competitors’ sites. Find out how much traffic they receive compared with what you receive. You might then be able to pick up some ideas for how to improve.

Disadvantages to Google Trends

One of the biggest issues with Google Trends is that there is a minimum traffic requirement to be featured on the web site. If your site doesn’t have a high enough rate of traffic, Google Trends for web sites is fairly useless.

If you do have high enough traffic, though, Google Trends can help you estimate the visits to your web site. However, the information may not be as accurate as you would like. The Google web site includes this information about Google Trends: “The data Trends produces may contain inaccuracies for a number of reasons, including data-sampling issues and a variety of approximations that are used to compute results.”

This means that you might not get an accurate idea of how much traffic you are really receiving. The Trends data from Google is different from the Google Analytics data. Google Analytics is usually more accurate. It uses different data than Trends, and you might find that it provides a better picture of what is really happening on your site. Analytics is usually more detailed than Trends data as well. If you want more detailed information, Trends may not help.

The Verdict

Google Trends can be used to get an estimate of what traffic you are getting. While it may not be completely accurate, it can provide you with an idea of when you have traffic spikes, and give you a basic idea of whether your traffic is rising or falling. However, you should realize that Trends data might not be very accurate, and it might not be as specific as you would like. Don’t rely on Trends too much.

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that specializes inspection pre-shipment services in china and, who also consults for a company that offers to do list applications.