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How you can use Google Trends to identify best headline keywords

01 Jun, 2020 PR and the internet, PR measurement

To boost your impact and reach, you can use many tools to optimize your headlines and create better search engine visibility.

Such tools include advanced search engine marketing tools like Moz Keyword Explorer and the Google Keyword Planner, but these are probably more sophisticated than you need.

Other free tools include:

In addition, OptinMonster helpfully lists 26 Tools That’ll Help You Create Better Headlines.

Google Trends

You can use the easy-to-use and free Google Trends, which will help you compare keywords and phrases for which people have searched. This enables you to instantly calculate the level of interest over time in specific countries or worldwide. (If the time span is too short, or if you limit the search to one country, you may find there is insufficient data to form results.)

Here’s how to use Google Trends

  1. When you have drafted your article, check that it includes industry-specific keywords and phrases you frequently use. Ask your marketing team if they have target keywords you should include. In addition, since some general words and phrases are used much more in searches than product or industry-specific words, you should investigate these popular general terms and use some of them consistently in your headlines, although you shouldn’t go overboard about this. See my discussion about the graphs below.
  2. When you have collected your main keywords and phrases, visit
  3. It is logical to use in your headline the keyword or phrase that has been most searched for during the period you have entered. You can enter your first keyword in the search bar and think of any alternative words or phrases you could use or that have been suggested by your marketing team (even common misspellings of those terms, which you can mention in your text). Depending on your target audience you can adjust the country location and time period accordingly. This tool will show you the most popular variations on the search terms you enter.
  4. Compare up to five keywords or phrases in a single search. These are obligingly shown for you in graphical form by Google trends.
  5. Once you find the word or phrase that receives the most attraction, write your headline and include that text.


“How to”

I wanted to find out the most useful keywords to start a general headline. So I keyed into Google Trends the words “master,” “get,” “gain,” learn,” and “how to.” As you can see from the graph below, people searched the most for “how to” worldwide in the past 12 months (by a long way), followed by “get.” Therefore, I will be using “how to” and “get” more in future headlines. (I also checked “discover,” but it hardly rated.


“Press release”

In the same way, I went to Google Trends to find out which terms have been most searched worldwide in the past 12 months, out of “press release,” “news release,” and “media release.” That old term “press release” is still the most searched, despite releases being distributed to many more outlets than newspapers in the past couple of decades. So the takeaway is to say “press release.”



“How to” again!

Another example is the explanatory headline. Do people search more for “How to,” “How you can,” or “Find out?” The clear favorite shown in the Google graph is “How to.” That’s what I will be using more in future.


With a little thought, you should now be able to use Google Trends to help sharpen your SEO focus.

Image at top of page: BigTunaOnline/

About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from

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