Google Trends vs Other Like Services

I wrote a post named “Use Google Trends to Leverage Your Affiliate Marketing Efforts“. One of the readers commented that

so many blogs saying things about google trends, and no one posted something about comparing google trends with alexa and others

Well I agree. Most of the bloggers (not everyone) talked about Google Trends without explaining the difference between Google Trends Service and the other services like Alexa and Compete.

Allow me to try to explain the major added values that Google Trends suppose to bring with their new service.
All of those services, including Google Trends, tend to deliver the same kind of information: Numbers that describe the website traffic. Even though not everyone will agree on that, but the big difference between Google Trends and the others companies is their data source.

While companies like Alexa relies on their toolbar and its extensions in order to collect data from the web users, Google Trends relied on their search servers and their Analytics free services (Probably for webmaster who accepted to share their information anonymously).

Since Google is dominate in the search market you can understand the power of the data that they are holding in their system. If they share it with us we, affiliate marketers, can only be happy with it. Be sure that there are some who don’t happy about it at all, for example adverting agencies.

Alexa improved their algorithm few months ago mainly because it relatively easy to divert Alexa results. Its actually can be done with any service that relies on sampling. You need to locate the source of the data and do the right actions. It can be tricky but it can be done.

I heard about a company that asked her employees to install Alexa toolbar and to visit the company website at least once a day from their home. Using this method they improve their ranking on Alexa. Is it worth something? Depends who you are asking. In my opinion it’s worthless.

BTW, Google is about to release another new tool named Ad Planner.
Google Trends combined with Ad Planner definitely would change the way companies advertise their business on the internet.

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Comment by G.Suvorov
2008-06-25 15:13:17

Ofcourse, google is collecting data not only from google toolbar, serps and analytics.. I think Adsense is used too.
We already wrote some parameters to use it in SeoQuake (FireFox seo plugin), so you can see all Gtrends data just in SERP or visiting site. (looks like alexa toolbar). You can get it here

Comment by Max
2008-06-26 03:40:49

Its great to have another source of data to consider, and Adplanner is a GREAT tool for deeper analysis.

I just wanted to clarify your point about comparing Gtrends data to other services. We’ve been watching these things closely as they develop and to be honest, both the underlying data sources, and the way Google is arriving at their final numbers is the most blackbox approach in the 3rd party analytics space. The triangulation approach (internal search data, google analytics, 3rd party, and (potentially) toolbar data) they are taking can – and very well may – lead to really robust data.

But without knowing how they are doing it, how often they update their monthly reported data, and where the data is coming from, its really difficult to trust either of these new tools. At least with Alexa I know that everything skews towards webmasters/techies, and with Quantcast I can look at “Quantified” numbers and have a pretty good idea of what actual traffic is.

For the record, we use a combination of 3rd party, clickstream based data (ISP, ASP, Toolbar, Plugin, panel data).

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