Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) is a great tool for analyzing search trends and search query volume. You can track recent trends, and also look at historical data to examine seasonality over the past few years. In addition, you can drill down into specific countries or local areas to get more insights.

 

When there is a big event in the news (like Hurricane Sandy), it’s going to generate a lot of search volume, but you need to think about the products/services that will see a corresponding boost because of that event.  These volume swings can be significant for PPC analysis as well as other marketing and outreach efforts. For example, Hurricane Sandy drove a significant increase around ’emergency kit’ searches.

 

Here is one chart for the entire US:

US Search Volume

 

 

Here is another chart that shows the spike was more dramatic for New York:

New York Search Volume

 

Even though there was an obvious increase for New York and other affected states, Hurricane Sandy also drove increased awareness around emergency kits in states as far away as California:

California Search Volume

 

There are a number of events that may impact one area of the country or the world, but have reverberations elsewhere. Whether you are running efforts for disaster supply companies, relief organizations, or other groups, Google Trends is a useful tool to examine and analyze spikes and swings in search query volume.