Google's Top Search Terms of 2012: What's in It for Business Owners How you can monitor trending topics and make them work for your business -- in search as well as social media.

By Jason Fell

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Search giant Google has released its "Zeitgeist 2012," the list of the top search terms and trends over the last year, culled from 1.2 trillion searches in nearly 150 languages. The list has been broken up by topic, including top keyword searches, images, people and events.

Sadly, "small business" didn't make any of the lists, which were mainly dominated by big news and pop culture references. For instance, Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style, Hurricane Sandy, iPad 3 and Diablo 3 rounded out the top five searches for 2012.

While Google's top search terms might not directly influence your industry, don't dismiss them altogether. Staying on top of popular or trending topics on search engines and social media can provide business owners an opportunity to "get your name out there by sharing something you already have online that meets the need of what people are discussing," says Jessica Bowman, founder of Austin, Texas-based SEO consulting firm SEOinhouse. "Or you can quickly whip up a great resource, blog post or video to address" the trending search terms or topics.

Here, Bowman offers three steps for monitoring trending topics and making them work for your business:

Related: How to Mine Google's Gold Mine for Local Businesses

1. Use social monitoring tools to keep up on what's trending.
Social monitoring tools such as HootSuite can allow you to set up searches for keywords related to your business. Monitor the searches to see what people are saying and what they're looking for, Bowman says.

Another tool, called Social Mention, can offer real-time social media analysis, meaning you can type in a keyword and it will show you the mentions, sentiment and reach for each keyword. Prices vary depending on the number of people using the tools.

To track trending stories and keywords each day in Google News, reference the Top Stories tool on the left side of the page. You can click through on certain topics (Business, Technology and others) to drill deeper into topics that are related to your industry.

2. Next, identify and monitor your "influencers."
Your influencers can include reporters, bloggers and social marketers who your target audience follows. Having these influencers mention you or your brand can give business a nice boost. You can identify them through a number of tools, such as twtrland, Twazzup and Topsy.

3. Create content related to trending topics.
Now that you're monitoring trending topics and the influencers in your industry, regularly mine that data and come up with related content. "Each day or week as you see trends, immediately whip up useful content or offer resources that address the topics in ways not available elsewhere," Bowman says. "Launch them quickly on your blog, YouTube or other content destination, and then add them to the conversation happening on social media sites."

To avoid seeming too self-promotional, Bowman recommends also sharing content from others, such as industry experts and trusted news publications. "Give resources the maximum bang for your buck by also sending them to clients in your newsletter," she says.

If creating high-quality content on-the-fly isn't your forte or doesn't fit your schedule, one relatively inexpensive option is to use a service such as WireBuzz, which creates videos for you on any topic (with a three-hour turnaround, at about $1,000 the company says) that are optimized for SEO and can be posted online and over social media.

Related: How to Optimize Your Site for Search Without Actually Doing SEO

Jason Fell

VP, Native Content

Jason Fell is the VP of Native Content, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Growing a Business

The Owners of This Texas Farmers Market Took a Big Gamble. Here's How It Paid Off Bigger Than They Dreamed.

A Texas farmers market educates customers about the importance of shopping local for a healthy lifestyle and an even healthier small business community.

Business News

A Billion Dollar Startup Is Trying To Resurrect A Woolly Mammoth — And You Can Watch It Happen

Filmmakers will go behind the scenes of billion-dollar startup Colossal Biosciences, which uses genetic engineering for de-extinction projects.

Business News

Woman Allegedly Fired for 'Theft' After Eating a Sandwich That Was Leftover From a Meeting

Gabriela Rodriguez worked as a cleaner at Devonshires Solicitors in London for two years.

Business News

A 29-Year-Old CEO Quit Microsoft To Build His Startup — And Just Scored A Deal on Shark Tank

Aabesh De tapped into a niche need during the pandemic and founded Flora, a houseplant care startup.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.