Have you ever seen a keyword that looked promising only to be disappointed by the end results? Are you frustrated by chasing “trending topics” on social media only to see traffic drop after a week?

If so, it’s important to understand the difference between Google keyword trends and the popular fads.

What Is a Keyword Fad?

Fads are topics that are only popular in the short term, and are often not worth the effort of spending a lot of time marketing individually. These tend to be elements of popular culture, which move in and out of the consumer’s mind quickly.

What can make the issue a little confusing is that many social sites use the phrase “trending topics” to display the impact of current fads. So, it’s important to think about whether the trending topic is really a “trend.”

If it’s about news or pop culture, chances are it’s a fad.

The best example of fads are things like movie or game releases, or event based products. While there may be a lot of people searching for The Hunger Games or the 2014 Justin Bieber tour, those are topics that are unlikely to pay off in the long term.

If you want to focus on some of these shorter hot topics, it’s best to design a site that allows you to evolve over time. For example, rather than a site dedicated exclusively to the Hunger Games, you might focus instead on new movie releases, and continuously adapt to new fads over time.

What is a Google Keyword Trend?

Trends, on the other hand are emerging topics that are likely to remain popular over time, and are usually worth far more effort from an affiliate marketing perspective. They usually represent long term movement in popular opinion.

It is easy to spot trends using any of a number of keyword tools, including Google itself. But, you can also have a good guess just by thinking about what the topic is:

If the keyword is related to an ongoing issue, chances are it’s a trend.

For example, many sustainability topics like solar energy and hybrid cars are trends that have emerged in the US. They reflect changing consumer sentiment.

This means that people are likely to be searching for related terms for many years.  It also means that companies will continue to evolve new products to meet the consumer demand, so if you develop a site centered around a long term trend you’ll be placing yourself in a better position to market new products as they are released.

The Best of Both!

I’m not saying that you should focus exclusively on long term trends when building your website. Fads can provide immense sources of traffic, and even give the possibility of getting your site to go viral.

The best away to leverage the distinction between trends and fads is to center your site firmly around long term trends, but incorporate trending topics, or fads into your content.

One way to do this is to RSS a variety of blogs in your industry, Twitter feeds, and other social accounts. When you see relevant topics that also fit into your long term niche, join in the conversation.

That way you can get the best of both worlds!