Sarah Palin Breast Implants?! – Using Google Trending Topics

Ian Lurie

Made ya look!

I’m shameless, really. But I come to teach. You can use Google’s Trending Topics three ways:

  1. To determine the time remaining until civilization collapses. Soon, apparently.
  2. To try to stay trendy. No thanks.
  3. To take advantage of Query Deserves Freshness, wreak a little havoc in the rankings and give your site a nice SEO butt-kicking.

So, I grabbed a few trending topics from today and ran through a few scenarios. Here’s how you could use ’em:

Trending topics

Is there silicone in them thar hills?


We’re going through the worst environmental disaster in US history (maybe the worst ever?). We’ve got the Tea Party Movement, unemployment and, of course, two wars. But the real issues right now is whether Sarah Palin had breast implants.

But that’s OK! As marketers, we can work with this. No, I can’t. Wait! Yes I can dammit! I’m a professional.

OK, here goes:

This is a hot topic – it’s rising fast. Apparently there’s nothing I can write about this that won’t end up as a horrifically bad pun. Even the Huffington Post got into the act. FOX News did, too. Between them I think they bring a lot of credibility to the story. Cough.

If you’re a PR professional, you can write about how Ms. Palin’s team can get out in front of this story. OMG there’s another one.

If you sell a solar charger, you can write a story about how the first person to shoot a photo at the Belmont Stakes couldn’t upload it because their phone was dead. So they lost a shot at a great story.

You get the idea. Now, I’m going to go sandblast my psyche. Back in a minute to try another topic….

Globe Magazine stoops so low they make themselves look good

Globe Sewer

Globe Magazine publishes photos of Gary Coleman on his deathbed, thereby making any other sleaze they’ve pulled look downright innocent.

If you’re a publication in any form of journalism – hell, if you write resumes for a living – you can write a blog post flinging hate and disgust at Globe Magazine. Not that they’ll notice. Or, you can wonder if anything is off limits any more, and write 10 Reasons I’m Moving To A Cabin In Montana.

Run a business coaching consultancy? Easy. Write about crappy business decisions, and what you would’ve told the folks at Globe.

I feel somewhat dirty at this point, but I’ll keep going.

Playstation Network Down

Ah-HAH. Finally, a trending topic that doesn’t make me flinch.

Anyone in IT, cloud computing or whatever the newest trendy term is can easily write how Sony might manage their maintenance process without downtime. Cite the Playstation outage and you have instant trendworthiness.

And of course there’s the generic business communications angle.

Or, you could write about how this is an opportunity for the average fat-arsed American to drag their ponderousness out the front door and stand, if only for a moment, blinking owlishly in the light of day.

It’s like LOLCats

Working with trending topics is a lot like LOLCats. People attach all sorts of quotes to photos of kittens. Those quotes have zero relevance to the kittens until the writer creates it. The result is very compelling. Same goes for working with trending searches.

That gives me an excuse to show you my kittens, LOL’d:

Wut u mean we iz related?!

All you really need to do is think about it, and you can use any hour’s trending topics to craft great QDF-worthy content. Yes, the examples I’ve given are a little silly/tasteless/painful. But think about them again. They may be silly, but they also give you a shot at teaching your audience through current events. And, if I can make these work, you can take slightly more relevant trends and work real magic with them.

Just make sure you have that psychic sandblaster available.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. I would question whether or not this would bring you qualified traffic. Sure, you can write posts incorporating popular and timely search terms, but unless those are aligned with your business in some remote way, your bounce rate is going to be huge. Just my two cents.
    Other than, I loved the post.

  2. @Jeff That’s definitely what requires creativity. Just like you have to use a quote on LOLCats that makes sense in the context of the image.

  3. Great idea if done right. As you said, it is about being creative and not coming off as creepy or misleading.
    I clicked based on the title, so I guess it worked.

  4. Wow Ian,
    Just for giggles I decided to google “Sarah Palin Breast Implants” (google, not oggle)…
    Your post is #16!
    Google must love your blog. Personally I never heard of this “controversy” until I read your post… I must live under a rock. 🙂
    Anyway, congrats on hitting the second page of google for “Sarah Palin Breast Implants”… maybe this comment will help kick you to the first page? 🙂 Charles

  5. I don’t think they were too silly Jon. Just added to the humour. The trending topic of Palin’s breasts was a masterstroke.
    She’s a polarising figure so who knows what will happen to your bounce rate.

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