Whether you’re a pro-blogger, developer, or marketer, keeping an ear to the ground is always important. Of course, there are many ways to do this, and looking at web stats is one of them. Alexa, Comscore, Hitwise, Google Trends – there’s a lot of choices out there, but the last one, due to the sheer volume of data Google has, is something that has great potential. Lately, Google has made some announcements regarding new features of Trends, and though it’s far from perfect, I’m glad to note the active development in this tool.
Earlier this week, they announced that as long as you’re logged in with your Google account, you’ll be able to see a normalized graph of search query trends with numbers, and you can also export the data to .CSV (handy if you like to do more in-depth statistical analysis). More recently, they’ve added a new layer that allows you to see not only the popularity of search queries, but this time of websites themselves. From the Google Trends help page:
When you enter the address of a website into the search box, Trends for Websites shows you a graph reflecting the number of daily unique visitors (the number of people who visit a website) to that website. You can see these numbers on the graph after you’ve signed into your Google Account. Under the graph, you’ll also see a list of regions where visitors originated from, other websites that they have also visited, and terms they have also searched for.
As cool as it might seem, Google Trends for websites looks like it has a long way to go. For instance:
- Only top level domains are included. Subdomain data not available.
- Accuracy needs improvement, as Google candidly admits.
- Only useful for websites with relatively high-volume traffic (at least a few thousands per day).
- People can’t request inclusion for their site, or ask for their site’s removal if it’s already there.
- Curiously, it doesn’t show results for some Google-related sites (so far I’ve tried YouTube, Orkut, and even Google itself).
If these things can be addressed, particularly the accuracy issue, then Google Trends can become the web stats authority – Goliath keeps getting bigger. Alexa, et al should definitely rethink their strategies. For more information, read more about Google Trends for Websites.