Launched on May 25th, Google’s new Correlate feature provides a revolutionary way to view results. With Google Correlate, you can view several different types of correlations in order to find searches that are associated with “real-world data.” Google’s description of this new utility is that it “finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.” If this takes off, this could be a very vital component of search. To access this interesting new (and free!) tool, visit the Google Labs, sign into your account, and begin making valuable connections.
The options available for correlation are organized into two main categories: “time series” and “US states.” Comparing time series involves searching how terms similar to the ones you search parallel in terms of variance in popularity over time. You can also use the time series tool to simply search terms that have a similar pattern of activity to yours. Comparing US states, however, is more specific and localized. It can help you determine which states your search term is popular in and how this parallels other similar search terms. You can also see which search terms share similar patterns to yours state-by state.
To view correlations over time, you can search a term in order to find out the connections between the term you typed in and other expressions. A line graph will come up that represents this information. For example, you can search “weather tracking” in time series. First, a list of similar terms will come up, like “national weather center” and “hurricane tracking,” etc.
If you scroll down or click on a term that comes up as correlated to your search term, a line graph will show, for example, the correlation between “weather tracking” and “national weather center” between the years of 2004 and 2011.
To enter your own data, click on “Enter your own data” and input it that way.
The US States feature is useful if you want to see what people are searching for in a specific state. For example, if you search “South Florida,” you will learn the terms searched for most as correlated to your search term:
Obviously, in this case, the actual correlated words are more important here than the maps. But what happens if you type in a word like, “hunting?”
In this case, you can see exactly in which states “hunting” and its correlated words are being sought out.
What it means for SEO
Google’s newest tool can contribute to SEO efforts because it allows for targeted keyword research. Companies can now find out which keywords are the most popular during certain times of the year and in certain cities and states. Even if the search term you input in Google Correlate isn’t popular, the system does provide you with the hottest related terms. This phenomenon could have a huge impact on how businesses optimize their Google Places page because it sharpens the science of targeted keyword research. For more on optimizing your Google Places page, please visit our earlier video blog.