Part of attracting visitors to your website is knowing what topics are hot and what people are seeking. Whether you’re studying trends to find potential topics for content to target social media, or whether you’re wondering how you should optimize your pages for search engines, trend-tracking tools can be incredibly helpful.
The resources listed in this article are all free, and they go about tracking trends in a variety of different ways. Try to find a few that you think will be able to help in your own work with your website or blog.
Google trends provides data on search phrases that are hot.
MSN A-List provides information on popular topics, people searches, and rumors.
AOL Hot Searches is similar to MSN A-List with a variety of information on hot topics.
The Lycos 50 lists the top 50 search phrases of 2008 on Lycos.
Search.com popular search list provides a quick way to see what is popular at the moment.
The eBay Pulse shows what items are selling right now, and which items are being watched the most.
Ask.com also has it’s own list of top searches.
Amazon’s Best Sellers list includes various categories and can provide a glimpse that may be helpful, especially for affiliate marketers.
Amazon’s Movers and Shakers may not be the top sellers, but they’re the products that are gaining the most in terms of ranking.
You can follow Amazon’s Hot New Releases list to stay on top of the latest products that are of broad interest.
Shopzilla provides some useful information that shows what shoppers are searching for.
Alexa’s traffic rankings are far from perfect, but the Movers and Shakers list may help you to identify some current trends.
URLTrends will provide a trends report based on a particular URL.
At Popurls you can quickly see what is doing well at a large number of social media sites.
Techmeme is a constantly updated site that publishes links to tech news.
Technorati’s Popular page will show you some current trends of the blog world.
Ice Tocket’s Trend Tool will letter you enter a word or phrase (or multiple phrases) to see how often it has been mentioned on a timeline.
For finance-related content, Wall Street Journal will show you what’s popular.
The New York Times also provides a look at popular searches on its site.
Keyword Forecaster from Microsoft AdCenter forecasts the impression count and predicts demographic distributions of keywords.
Google’s Zeitgeist is the collective effort of other Google trend tools mentioned in this post.
Enter a URL and Google Trends for Websites will show you where it’s visitors are (geographically), other sites that they visit, and other searches that they perform.
With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames.
Updated once daily, SEOmoz’s Popular Searches is an aggregation of popular search queries gathered from various sources across the web.
Download a Hitwise widget to bring the latest online trends to your desktop.
The Leaderboard at Techmeme shows which sites are mentioned most frequently on Techmeme.
RSSmeme shows popular blog posts that have been shared.
See which pages are being linked to the most by Friendfeed users.
Trendpedia lists popular search phrases and also lets you compare trends of multiple phrases.
Yahoo! Buzz is a social media sites, but it’s better than Digg or the other major sites for seeing what news is truly popular at the moment, although not all industries and niches are represented.
Truemors allows you to follow news and rumors.
Alltop links to popular sources of content in a wide range of topics.
Twist allows you to see what is being mentioned on Twitter.
What Are Your Favorite Resources?
Which of these sites do you use? I’m sure there are others that could have been included on this list, so feel free to mention them in the comments.