Google Trends vs Autocomplete

Yan Gilbert

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Oct 15, 2016
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Coming off of this discussion about Google Medic type algorithm changes and a possible forced manipulation of results: Did the June 2019 update bury quack medical sites? - Local Search Forum

Which referenced this article:


I looked into the differences between Google Trends and Autocomplete, and here are Google's support posts for reference:

Autocomplete:

Trends:

I decided to look into things a bit further before we jump to conclusions. I reran some searches in incognito to make sure the screenshots in that article were accurate and yes, they are similar to what was being returned for me.








Move away from health searches and the Trends data seems to match the order in autocomplete.










Many searches I performed did not have enough data to compare, and sometimes the autocomplete turned up very strange queries, so I did have to pick through the results, (without cherry picking, if that makes sense). I did not share them all here.

However, the main take away is that in most cases Trends data lines up with autocomplete order, except for the health queries. At least I could not find a niche that was similarly misaligned (Very small sample size, so more searches would be necessary to draw a conclusion though. Maybe I just choose poor examples. )

Trends data is actual historical data, while autocomplete is the algorithm trying to be predictive so they are different, but definitely these are curious results. My assumption has been that autocomplete was returning potential searches that were popular, however this is not actually the case.

Since autocomplete is predictive in nature, what data is it using that delivers such a discrepancy for some searches?

Not really wanting to go into the conspiracy angle here, but more to explore autocomplete results and possibly how to use it to know what the algorithm deems is important/relevant.
 
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