Google Trends for Websites? Not Cool, Google.
Quite a bit of commotion today in response to Google’s decision to do something with all your site data they’ve been sitting on. Starting today, savvy site owners can use Google Trends for Websites to do some competitive research and discover unique site metrics like estimated traffic, also searched for, also visited, and traffic for different regions/countries. And it looks like there’s no way to opt out. Wow, way to go, Google!
In order to power its new spy tool, Google is combining Google Analytics data, search volumes and other third-party market research. The traffic information will be neatly plotted out for you in a line graph, with the rest of the information listed underneath. Site owners will have the opportunity to get secret data on five domains at a time.
It does come with some caveats though. For example, beware that the information may or may not be totally accurate. Since Google Trends is in Google Labs they claim to have no way to improve the quality of the data. They also add that since the data is estimated and aggregated over a variety of sources, it may lose some of its validity. Then by all means, still put it out there.
You’re also dealing with a pretty limited data pool as the information typically only goes as far back as mid 2007. This is Google “Trends”, right? How well can you spot long term trends with only a year’s worth of data? And if you’re a small business, don’t even bother putting in your domain. You probably don’t receive enough traffic for Google to care about you or your competitors. Sorry. Have a cookie instead.
Barry Schwartz calls the tool “a great way” to find additional keywords, link partners and resource, but I’m not so sure. Personally, it makes me a bit uncomfortable that Google has no problem handing out site owner’s information like this. What if you don’t want your keywords and traffic information published for everyone to see? Sure, there are plenty of other ways to get this information, but let those other independent companies do it. Google’s just shelling it out there for no reason and without getting consent first. Lame. I’m no Google conspiracy theorist, but it makes it hard to continually hand over information to Google when you know “features” like this are running around in the back of their heads. Who knows what’s coming next.
Again, it’s not that the information Google’s handing out is super secret, but what in the world made them think site owners would want them to use their information in this way? It’s also interesting that you can’t get information about Google itself, but you can get information about Microsoft and Yahoo. Now, now, Google, play fair.
I don’t know. Take the new feature as you will, I guess. Just try and use it for good.