File Under: Software & Tools

Google Trends Adds Site-Comparison Feature

Google Trends added a new website layer to its search analytics tool Friday. The new feature graphs the amount of daily unique visitors to a website and compares it to other sites, demonstrating a window into the highs and lows of web traffic.

The new layer is capable of graphing up to five different websites and displays the results as far back as May 2007. It’s particularly useful for pointing out particular web events over history. For example, Webmonkey’s graph shows a spike when our site relaunched on May 19.

Included with the report is a “Regions” table showing a geographical rundown of where visitors are from. “Also Visited” and “Also Searched For” tables allow a peek into visitors’ surfing habits outside of the targeted sites. The data in the three columns account for the last 30 days.

According to the site, the data are culled from a vague combination of sources:

“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.”

Despite typical Google vagueness, the amount of data promises to represent a very wide stretch of web traffic considering the amount pouring through Google search, e-mail and toolbar products — not to mention the sites that host Google Analytics code and contribute anonymous statistics. Google promises this data is truly anonymous and used only to “to calibrate macro-level insights.”

The feature enters Google Trends into the space currently occupied by Compete, Alexa and Comscore. Given the reach of Google services and products, it’s a good guess that Google data will be more robust than the web-traffic monitoring methods of its competitors in the space.

Suspiciously, Google sites such as google.com, blogger.com, blogspot.com and youtube.com aren’t included for use in the tool, but search competitors yahoo.com and Microsoft’s live.com are.