Google Trends, privacy policy and Digital Inspiration

Website traffic as charted out in Google Trends seem to almost overlay that of Google Analytics charts.This amazed Amit of Digital Inspiration, a popular tech blog.

How is the data in Google Trends for Websites generated?

As per google,

Trends for Websites combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research. The data is aggregated over millions of users, powered by computer algorithms, and doesn’t contain personally identifiable information. Additionally, Google Trends for Websites only shows results for sites that receive a significant amount of traffic, and enforces minimum thresholds for inclusion in the tool. For more information about how Google protects privacy, please refer to our privacy policy.

But on reading the post from Amit, it looks like google is predominantly relying upon the google Analytics data.

The Google trends for labnol.org also has some interesting data elements.If you look at the “Also visited” section it suggests a long trend line for digitalinspiration.com and bugshooting.com.

what does “Also visited” and “Also searched” mean in google Trends?

The Also visited and Also searched for columns depict correlation, showing other websites and other search terms that the site’s visitors are likely to visit and search for.

It looks like many are looking for digitalinspiration.com. But Amit might be loosing this traffic, as though he seem to be owning the domain name “digitalinspiration.com”, if you try navigating to http://digitalinspiration.com/, it is not redirecting to his actual blog. The page is showing digital inspiration videos from youtube.Though clicking the title “Digital Inspiration” takes us to his actual site, many may not be clicking it. Amit could probably improve the traffic to his actual site by adding a 301 permanent redirect in the .htaccess file for http://digitalinspiration.com/.

Other interesting facts:

Amit seem to be attracting a lot of traffic for the keywords “phone india”, “iphone india” “camtasia”, “snagit” and even “Google toolbar”. This is suggesting amit to be an “Apple” blogger 🙂

He also seem to be sending a lot of traffic to bugshooting.com. He probably has a stake in it, though only he can confirm it 🙂 The other beneficiary seem to be quickonlinetips.com, though the trend lines are shorter.

Regional data suggests, a bigger percentage of his visitors are from India and U.S. Amit states that his old blogger site gets more traffic from U.S but that is not reflected here.Amit is obviously not redirecting his blogger posts to his current wordpress blog. Also he believes that the regional distribution seem to be inaccurate in Google Trends.

Though Amit expresses awe at the fact that data from Google Analytics and Google Trends not only follow a similar pattern, but how they even match in terms of absolute numbers with minor deviations, it raises questions about google’s privacy claims and how they use Google Analytics data on their help page.As per google,

Trends for Websites uses Google Analytics data in a manner consistent with our firm commitment to user trust and privacy. Specifically:

* Google Analytics doesn’t share individual, site-level information with Trends for Websites.
* Trends for Websites gathers data from multiple sources. This data is then checked against anonymous, aggregate, industry benchmarking data within Google Analytics.
* Trends for Websites only uses anonymous Google Analytics data to calibrate category data and correct for under-reporting or over-reporting in certain industries.
* Google Analytics benchmarking data only comes from Google Analytics customers who’ve proactively chosen to share their data in an anonymous and aggregate form.

Though Google states that “Google Analytics doesn’t share individual, site-level information with Trends for Websites”, this instance shows how the site level data in google trends and google analytics almost match.

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