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Earthquakes & Search Intent

Decent earthquake in Melbourne last week, which led me to taking the opportunity to investigate searches using Google Trends. You can discover the relative volume between phrases and even related queries. Google understands related phrases which show the importance of understanding search intent with your potential customers.

  • Earthquakes are scary!
  • Use Google Trends to track phrase volumes.
  • Google understands related queries.
  • The importance of search intent.


Wow. Earthquake. Yeah, that was big. The biggest earthquake I’ve ever had. Welcome back Rankers and shakers. Oh my goodness. Yeah. Big day yesterday for Melbournians. We don’t have those here. New Zealand’s just across the ditch and so, yeah, whatever, bro. But in Australia we’re not used to them. It’s about the fourth in my lifetime. I didn’t probably experience my first until I was at least in my twenties. So, the rest have happened basically in the last 10 years.

Google Trends volumes

I want to talk to you a little bit about Google Trends today, because this is a great opportunity, because there are so many things happening in the world where we’re seeing all these trends and spikes and things. And they’re long trends and long changes. And these are things that have happened through the lockdown, but also look, earthquake. And it’s a great opportunity to get an idea of perspective of, or an idea of relative volume between phrases.

So, what I’ve got up there, obviously, I’ve got earthquake. That search was done yesterday over the last four hours. So, you can see it was probably… What’s that last time snapshot there? It was 1:07 PM. So, what I was trying to do is get the longest tale within the four hours. So, I can see and compare other really, really popular phrases that are used essentially for navigation in Australia. We try to work out, we don’t type in .au, anymore or .com. We just go Facebook, Google it, right? And the most Googled word in Australia for a long time was actually Google, because people didn’t know they were already on Google. So they would Google, Google in the browser. But having said that, we’ve reached peak Googling Google in 2014, from my memory. But people still use Google and the browser toolbar as navigation. They don’t put in the whole address.

So weather, we look for weather. News, we look for news and these are news, Facebook, weather, Google are usually the top searches for Australia over a given period, any given period, really, unless there’s something else happening. So when you see this, it tells you that this is pretty much certainly all of Victoria initially Googling it, saying, “What the hell? Is anyone talking about this?” And then you can see it peter off. And you can see that news spike happen at the same time, but it’s dwarfed in comparison. So, it’s people looking for news, probably the earthquake news.

So, what we can learn from this and you can drill down to these things and find out a lot more with the related queries and those sorts of things. So, for instance, if we go earthquake and we can see the penetration if you like, of a message in the market geographically and how fast it gets out there. So, if you are doing advertising above the line, if you’re doing radio, if you are doing TV, if you’re doing billboards, even really, it’s best to annotate it in your Google Analytics. And then also have a look and see if you’re having any impact in search for your brand.

So there’s earth cake, earth cake? Earthquake over the last 12 months and that is weird. So, yesterday’s searches apparently paled into significance for an earthquake earlier this year? March, 2021, I don’t know what that was. Must have been another one around the world. Yes, there it is here. Oh, there you go. Japan. There’s been heaps.

Anyway, heaps of earthquakes all the time. Google’s not picking up yesterday’s spike on today’s 12 month graph, but it might tomorrow, right? So, if we go down to the last seven days, we’ll get a different perspective again. And to show you what I was talking about with Google… Okay. So, that gives you a perspective. Usually this is the high, this is the 100 percent measuring stick and look, all of a sudden, that period yesterday, we went above that.

So, in fact, you can see, here mainly in Victoria and this is the distribution share of those searches relative to each other, right? So, this is how I was able to predict liberal nationals coming to power in 2019, how I was able to predict either presidents. I’ve got a blog post on presidents of the US that I’ve predicted successfully. But, and then you can see here all the related phrases.

Search Intent

So, there was rubble in Chapel Street. So Google’s saying here is related queries. Anybody who’s looking for Chapel Street is probably looking for information about the earthquake yesterday. Google knows that. Google knows that yesterday, people looking for Chapel Street, weren’t looking to go shopping. They were looking for information about the earthquake. That’s why it’s put this, Chapel Street, in related queries. And if we put this in comparison, we can drill down and more information about this phrase. So we’ll relate it to the same comparison and see if it has, you’re not going to see the spike because this one’s so huge. But we should be able to drill down into the related queries and see what it was about. And there it is. Chapel Street earthquake, earthquake, Melbourne earthquake, none of these phrases, Melbourne earthquake and earthquake do not have Chapel Street in them. Right? But Google knows that they’re related.

Google knows that people are looking for that are probably looking for this other thing. So all this work that we do with SEO and keywords and everything else, unless you’re doing things to focus on the intent of that right searcher, because there’s searchers here that are searching for earthquake, but they want to see the Chapel Street rubble. There’s people searching for the Chapel Street rubble who want information about earthquake. None of them are looking for shopping.

So the intent of the search is the most important thing and understanding it. That’s why I did the show a few months back about that old school content marketing for SEO is a waste of money because if you are doing content marketing for SEO to get ranked high for keywords in Google, that’s the wrong reason to content marketing. What ends up happening is you end up getting traffic that doesn’t match the search intent or isn’t at your blog or your content to actually purchase something, which is what you want. And you’ve brought the wrong people into the shop by doing that.

So, search intent is more important than anything and Google knows what that is. Google knows whether if someone searches for carpet, whether they’re looking for a carpet cleaner or new carpet. They don’t actually quite know that. They’re a little bit confused. And there’s a few more confusing things happening, which I hope to bring you next week, because what’s happening with Google at the moment, in its effort to keep us safe and to keep misinformation away from its search results, some extraordinary things happening with the results when you compare them to DuckDuckGo. So, I hope to bring more about that next week.

Hopefully that’s helpful. Please like, share, subscribe, have a play with Google Trends. It goes down to the last hour, which is how you are able to predict elections if you can work out the right comparative phrases to use, to understand what people are thinking on the day, when they’re in the polling booth. See you next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

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