Written by Terry Van Horne, Telsec
- The world of SEO is constantly changing and using the right keywords can greatly help you market your workspace
- Google Trends is a useful tool that can help workspace operators figure out how people and companies in their markets are looking for and finding office space
- It is undeniable that there is higher interest in the term coworking than in the term office space
A couple of months ago I wrote about what is happening to the rankings of the keyword office space. In SEO 101: Understanding Google Office Space SERPs, I discussed the effect of the Google’s Possum update on flexible workspace operators. As you will remember from that post, the “Possum update filtered similar businesses that were in close proximity to each other.” This affected the way close competitors appeared and were seen in SERPs.
I also wrote an article titled Has Google Conquered Ambiguous Query Spaces?, where I discuss how disambiguation of query spaces had further affected the office space SERP and how disambiguation may have affected the local results.
The problem is that after the Local update and disambiguation of the office space SERP, there still continues to be classified sites and office space aggregators in the results. This pushed many of the direct providers of office space lower in favor of older websites with strong link profiles.
Finding Trending Keywords in Flexible Workspace Industry Publications
One of the biggest challenges to SEO in this industry is the low number of search queries that is often found with business services. Search queries are an SEO’s inventory. So much like a niche retailer, SEOs need to find new audiences to expand their inventory in the same way a retailer would solve the same problem.
I always read as much as I can about any industry I am working in. One of my favorite ways to do that is to subscribe to newsletters and other mediums that discuss the topic. These publications can be an excellent source for identifying new keywords and audiences.
Finding Trending Keywords Using Google Trends
There was a point in my research on the office space keyword where I thought I had pretty much gotten to the bottom of the changes in the office space SERP, when I discovered on Google Trends that the office space web search keyword has been decreasing for years! At the time, I attributed this to a lower number of leads, thinking that that it really shouldn’t affect rankings, only affecting the number of searches, so I didn’t look deeper into it at that time.
In 10 Years From Now, Will The Term Coworking Exist? Ceci Amador makes the point that interest in coworking has been trending higher for years whereas interest in serviced and private offices has waned, likely due to the change in attitude towards the traditional office as a workspace. However, the post did illustrate to me that looking at the trend data for office space would be beneficial.
One thing I realized almost immediately upon entering Google Trends is that it not only does it provide data on whether interest in a search term is ascending or descending, but it also provides data on user “interest” in a keyword by category, region, search, vertical and medium (either interest in the topic or web search).
In a discussion with Bill Slawski about implementing Google Trends data into an SEO campaign he pointed out that what is referred to as “topics” in Google Trends are concepts and entities. Concepts and entities are both important in optimizing content and developing content strategy in an ERA of Google Search where Hummingbird and RankBrain have changed the SEO game from strings (words) to things (person, places and things).
Google Trends gives you a variety of ways to analyse keywords by measuring interest in a topic, which is gold if you are in a news business, looking for new product ideas, exploring possible markets and more.
Each filter or option breaks the data down differently. You can use regions to learn interest in a geographic location or to review the search vertical data to determine the best type of content to publish in a specific market; like opting for video if YouTube had the best numbers or a press release for the keyword trending in the local news (the app was developed with the Google News Team), etc.
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You can use the ability to segment the data to assess whether a deep dive or shallow review is needed to determine the driver of either a positive or negative trend line, and if there is enough fluctuation in the data from region, category, search vertical or topic to affect the task the data is meant to be used for.
When looking at office space and coworking by category you can see that for both topics and web search the Business and Industrial category/audience has seen far less degradation to the keyword office space than Arts and Entertainment, which had already reached its peak when Google Trends had launched so 100 is at the extreme left and has a strong negative trends downward.
The Arts & Entertainment topic/web search is driven by the 1999 hit movie “Office Space”. This is why the SERP has a Knowledge Panel identifying the movie as the primary entity in the SERP. The Business and Industrial category seems to follow business cycles indicating that although the trend is negative, the interest in the movie exceeds the interest in office space. So it makes sense that between 2015 and present the office space web search term has been rising with an expanding economy where new and expanding businesses are looking for office space.
It is important to note, however, that although office space seems like it is far and away the most important keyword for serviced offices, business centres, and other types of flexible workspace providers, Google Trends indicates that targeting office space modifiers like shared, temporary, private and daily can be beneficial. It also means that the positive trending coworking keyword is more important than it looks by just evaluating the number of searches.
A great deal of the downward trend for office space is likely attributable to Arts & Entertainment and the movie Office Space. Office Space “the movie” was released in 1999 so the trend there is very negative.
Comparing coworking to office space using the same categories, you see that the greatest growth trends were in Computers and Internet. This is likely the result of coworking workspaces being favored by this audience, so it is not surprising this is also where you see the largest upward move in the category trend line. Note that there are points in the above timeline where interest in coworking is trending higher than office space verifying what many office space providers are seeing their business.
Business and Industrial has an upward trend, however it is a small gain when compared to the tech-oriented category. This indicates that tech and internet companies are likely where the best target audiences for coworking lies, and traditional businesses and services are the target audience for more traditional office space category.
Lastly, below the timeline are subregions which indicate the best regions in your geographic location choice. Below that are related topics and related queries which are useful for optimizing on page co-occurrence for SEO and subtopics within the primary topic for content creation and strategy.
I generally do not rely on tools unless they provide actionable data. Until I used the Google Trend tool in several ways I didn’t understand that the data was actionable and usable in prioritizing SEO tasks, identifying new audiences and developing content strategy.