Google Trends and Google Correlate As A Reasearch Tool For NGO.

Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends/) allows you to compare the popularity of search terms, so for example the chart below informs me that the search term “VPA” has been continuously been a more popular search term than “FLEGT), especially spiking in popularity in 2007.
Finding hot trends of keywords

Google Trends also has a specific section called Google Flu Trends – and although not relevant to my topic of FLEGT-VPA is still a very interesting example about the utility of KeyWord software in general.
Google Flu Trends
Google worked with the American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and found that there is a correlation between the number of people searching for flu related searches online and the number of people worldwide with recorded flu symptoms. With seasonal flu epidemics causing 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide, early prediction of flu epidemics could help prevention and help change global public health and save many lives worldwide.

Using a certain formula and a history of past trends, Google Flu Trends predicts the Flu Trends for more than 25 countries worldwide and the specific cities within them. You can even view Google Flu Trends on Google Earth – helping to create a real awareness of the potential for a flu outbreak, so the necessary precautions can be taken. Google can now literally save lives!

Google Correlate, (http://www.google.com/trends/correlate) is another part of Google Trends, enables you to see search terms that are correlated with another search term in a specific region. For example, if you search “losing weight”, you might not be surprised by the correlation with “burn fat”, but surprised with “houses to rent” correlation – helping you to build up a real idea of your target audience’s wide-range of interests. You can also measure the correlation across a time period, or across different states, so you can see the areas where a particular search term is the most popular. For example, I searched the results for “gỗ” in Vietnam, the Vietnamese for Timber, and can see that there is a correlation between gỗ and the following terms.
Finding the correlate trends

Once you have researched enough to create a website, Google AdWords is a simple way to gain publicity. It enables you to create sponsored ads, so that when a Google user searches for a particular phrase, your result appears at the top. You only pay when somebody visits your webpage, which translates as only having to pay when the publicity of your website, and thus organisation increases.

You can also select your budget – however large or small, making the tool a very flexible tool, which can be used to increase the publicity of your webpage. So, if for example I wanted to make a website publicising information about FLEGT-VPA, I could ensure that my webpage came up and got publicity, while only paying for every person that it informed about the FLEGT-VPA process.

Optimizing your communication campaign

These online tools are an excellent way to research a topic and gain a basic grasp of the topic and anything related that you may need to research further. The global network of the internet is continuing to make research easier!


By Florence -Minh Vu

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