What The Depp vs Heard Trial Taught Us About SEO and Social Media Trends

Damien Willis

If you’ve been online at all in the past month you’ve probably seen the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation trial at some point. Or if you’re like me it’s dominated your Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/*Choose Your SM Poison feed*.

But What Can This Trial Teach Us?

In my opinion there’s a lot you can learn from this trial and the hoopla surrounding it. And not just from a legal he-said she-said point of view!

I normally try to stay away from celebrity gossip, but there’s something about this trial that’s drawn me and millions of others inside its vortex.

One of the most eye opening things has been seeing numerous professional Youtube channels and social media profiles suddenly switch almost all their content to commentary and highlights covering the trial. Some pretty large influencers too.

For example, Ozzy Man Reviews – who has over 5 million subscribers on Youtube and 11 million followers on Facebook, is up to Part 6 of his Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard video series:

6 out of the last 9 videos released on his channel has been devoted to the trial. This is someone who’s very savvy about how to capitalize on trends and get a lot of views to his content. And it’s working! His 6 part series has consistently brought in 1 million plus views per video (with the exception of the most recent episode).

But it’s not just the entertainment creators that use online trends to their advantage:

Another eye opening moment came early on in the trial. Johnny Depp’s lawyers called to the stand, Doug Bania, an intellectual property expert:

During his testimony, Doug Bania testified on the effect that Amber Heard’s Op-Ed had on Johnny Depp’s reputation using Google Analytical data via Google Search and Trends. Bania stated that he analysed Google search results from before and after Heard’s Op-Ed. During his analysis he noted that the search results greatly differed after Heard’s Op-Ed.

Here’s how he did it:

  • He used incognito to try to get the most neutral Google search results
  • He analysed the top three websites, given the bulk of traffic goes to the top three positions
  • He analysed Google trends before the damaging article, after the damaging article
  • Cross checked Google trends against Q-Score research results in relation to Johnny Depp’s popularity
  • He formed a conclusion from his Google Search & Trends analysis in support of Johnny Depp’s side of the case

What Can You Learn From This?

In short, piggy backing off topical trends online is an opportunity. But it doesn’t have to be trends in pop culture. It can be trends localised in your geographical location, your broader industry, or your specific niche.

How Do You Find These SEO and Social Media Trends?

The first way is to simply keep your ear to the ground. In your day-to-day business operations are you noticing any changes in the environment? Are you noticing an increase or decrease in what your customers and potential customers are inquiring about?

For example if you’re in the agriculture industry, you’d probably be talking about potential food shortages and price increases (gulp). You know this because you can see the prices going up when you buy or are looking to buy. It’s easy to take that information for granted. Your customers, your audience might not be savvy to this information. You are in the privileged position to let them know about this information before anyone else does. Take advantage of that. It benefits you and your customers.

The other way is to intentionally do research like Johnny Depp’s expert witness. The scope of researching trends for SEO and Social Media would require a dedicated article, but we can help you get started with the best tools for researching trends:

Google Trends
Arguably the best place to start is with Google Trends. As the name suggests it was built for the purpose of uncovering and staying on top of trends in Google Search.

Google Alerts
One of the best ways to stay on top of trends is by setting up Google Alerts related to your industry. That way you can get notified of industry news as it happens. Or even when there is mention of certain phrases or topics that interest you. For example, in our company’s case, we might like to be alerted when a new page is detected that mentions our brand “Digital Autopilot” so we can see what is being written about us and perhaps respond if necessary.

Google Search
Search a term related to your industry in Google natural search. Scroll down to the bottom. At the bottom you’ll get related search suggestions. You can click on these related search terms and then scroll to the bottom of that search time to infinity and beyond. You could even observe what is being seard in the paid ads sections as well at the top and bottom of the page.

Google Search Console
We hope your website is connected to Google Search Console. If not, go do that right now! Login to Google Search Console for your website and go to the Performance section. You should see the most common search queries for how people found your site.

As soon as you’re on the Twitter homepage there are trends running down the right hand side. You can click on any of these trending topics to get a better feel for them, or you can click on Show More to see more. Great for staying abreast of broader cultural trends and news.

Buzz Sumo
Buzz Sumo shows you what content is performing best for a particular keyword or topic by displaying the results with the most social shares. This is super useful if you kind of know what you want to talk about, but you’re not sure what the hook or angle should be.

Amazon Search
Go to Amazon. Type in a keyword – eg. Dog Food. Wait. You’ll get suggestions that drop down. Useful for ecommerce brands looking to add products to their lineup or find sub-niches to capitalise on.

Go to Reddit and search for a Sub-Reddit that is closely related to your niche or industry. Once you’ve found a good Sub-Reddit, look out for threads that have a lot of comments and upvotes. You can use this tool to find trending keywords on specific Reddit subreddits: https://www.highervisibility.com/free-seo-tools/keyworddit/

Exploding Topics uncovers trends before they take off. See new market opportunities, trending topics, emerging technology, hot startups and more

Keywords Surfer
Keyword Surfer is a 100% free Chrome extension that allows you to see search volumes directly in Google search results plus it will show you related keyword ideas

Not just useful for uncovering SEO Trends and Opportunities:

Having a good grasp of the trends in your industry and the broader populace isn’t just great from an SEO and traffic generation standpoint, it’s also incredibly insightful in terms of what products, courses, services you should be offering to your customers and potential customers.

Whenever there is change, there are gaps and opportunities in the market. If you can be one of the first to offer a compelling product or service related to a trend or gap in the market you can do very well out of it.

The next time you’re wondering what to offer your audience, or how to build that audience, think about what trending topics you’re aware of or what the trends research data is telling you.

What trends have you noticed lately in your industry?

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