Posted to Erik Wagner's blog on November 24th, 2010

Yahoo Clues: A Google Trends Alternative

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Four years after Google Trends was launched, Yahoo has entered the ring with Yahoo Clues. Yahoo states that with the new Yahoo Clues site, you can analyze and compare data on trending search terms.

Yahoo Clues Features:

• It has Demographic information: Yahoo provides you with information regarding the age and gender of the people who are searching for a particular term. Yahoo also provides you with average income for the folks who are searching for the terms.
• Yahoo Clues also 'clues' us in on where the searchers are searching from. There is a map of the United States that has a breakdown of where the majority of the searches are coming from
• There is a "Popular Searches" feature that provides us with information on what is being searched for over the "Past 30 Days," "Past 7 Days," and "Today."

Google Trends Features:
• Provides a timeline dating back 6 years of the trends in searches for a particular keyword.
• The timeline has historical events attached to it that help explain certain trends.
• It provides accurate visitor location data based on the region, city, and languages spoken.

Yahoo Clues Weaknesses:
• Yahoo Clues does not have news articles that are relevant to the topic in the timeline.
• The location data is only available in the United States - which makes this part of the tool very weak.
• The data is limited to the past 30 days whereas Google Trends has information for the last few years.
• The income data can be wildly inaccurate. They contrive this data based on the per capita income data from the US Census Bureau for a particular zip code.
• I do not buy into the demographic information. Yahoo! claims that "Yahoo! Clues aggregates age and gender information across Yahoo! Search." However, that explanation alone is not good enough to me to trust its data.

Yahoo Clues Strengths:
• Far and away the more user friendly interface.
• The comparison feature is an excellent addition.
• It provides good suggestions for other terms to look at.

Which is better?
Well, I would say that as of right now, I would still continue to use Google Trends. For internet marketing purposes, I believe that Google gives a better overall picture of historical trends. Although Google Trends is ugly, it seems to have the more accurate data as to where people are searching.

Yahoo's differentiation is that it is helpful in coming up with new ideas for keywords and the comparison tool can be very helpful. I guess, as they say, better late then never.