Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 12.27.25 PMGoogle can be a vital tool to gauge what the public cares about—in 2012, 5,134,000,000 Google search inquiries were entered on an average day. Further, the average number of Google searches/day have increased by over 1 million year-over-year since 2000.  We’ve gone digital, and there’s no turning back.

In May, we released Builder 100 survey results, ranking the top leaders in the industry. But times have changed since then. So in addition to our annual survey, we decided to go straight to the source to find out which builders are gaining the most public interest—Google Trends.

Google Trends allows users to discover the popularity of a keyword or term over a period of time, and to find out where, globally or nationally, the majority of searches are coming from.  Google Trend scores represent search interest for each month on a scale of 0-100, relative to Google's search volume, so while trend scores don’t represent absolute search volume, they do track with relative interest levels over time.

In last week’s edition of the Big Builder newsletter, we presented a mash-up of average Google Trend scores of the top 30 builders from the Builder 100 for the timespan of 2004 to Nov. 30, 2013. This analysis unfairly compared apples to oranges as we stacked one builder's average trend score ending at that date with another. Why? Because the average trend scores each derived from a different starting date, some going back as long as nine years, while other firms only got going in 2010, or 2011. So, the "average" Google Trends score came from varying numbers of data points, i.e. statistically misleading.

What's more, we believe that the people who are responsible for working on their respective enterprises' digital marketing, social media, and search optimization programs may be fairly compared with one another across a more finite, more recent, more relevant, and absolutely consistent manner. They're looking at moving the needle now, and tomorrow, and four weeks from now, not at how they did in 2005 or 2006.

So, here we’ve taken the 30 top builders from Builder 100, and gathered the trend score for each of the following 7-day increments:

Oct. 27 - Nov. 2
Nov. 3 - 9
Nov. 10 - 16
Nov. 17 - 23
Nov. 24 - 30
Dec. 1 - 7
Dec. 8 - 14
Dec. 15 - 21
Dec. 22 - 28

After compiling those scores, we added them each and divided by 9, to find the average Google Trend score for each builder over the past 9 weeks.  Resulting is our reordered list of of the top 15 builders of most interest to the public from October 27, 2013 to December 28, 2013.

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One of the upsides of having gone astray in our first iteration of this comparison is that we learned you, dear audience, are watching carefully, and will not hesitate to keep us honest. The whole idea behind our weekly missives to you is to try to provoke, challenge, nurture, and fascinate in ways that help you serve your organizations and your prospective buyers better. Please let us know what you're doing to put Google search front and center in your digital branding and tactics programs. Your ideas and practices are valuable, not only to us, but to your peers.

SOURCE: Builder/Metrostudy and Google Trends data