Many times, I’ve found that clients do not correlate news events with search volume. I’m not sure why this is a difficult concept to understand, but a look at Google Trends or the Yahoo!’s Buzz demonstrate a very direct correlation between news stories and search volume. For instance, on Monday, Martin Luther King Day (or Lee/Jackson/King Day in Virginia — that’s a whole other blog post for later…), “Martin Luther King” was the top searched term. Two days later, however, it’s “Heath Ledger” that’s on everyone’s mind.
I’ve used both the Google Trends and Yahoo! Buzz to try to explain the correlation to clients. It can be confusing for them to see spikes in traffic in their analytics and not truly understand why — or why that traffic doesn’t continue.
On January 17, one of my clients saw a huge surge for the term “surviving a recession”. That term is not a very targeted term for this client, so the traffic surprised us. Traffic nearly quadrupled that day, and that day only. It happened that was the same day that President Bush announced the stimulus package to help us all in “surviving a recession”, and the traffic was to a ranked blog post about surviving a recession that they posted last Fall.
How do you help clients or your boss understand such fluctuations? I’d love to hear your ideas on tools or approaches. I find it a challenging conversation at times — perhaps I’m just too close to it all.