Some GTrends SE users have emailed me asking why they sometimes get “Forbidden” results and how to get rid of them. In a nutshell – you will get a “Forbidden” result when Google decides to ban your IP address (temporarily) because they detect that you are using an automated tool to search Google.com. GTrends SE needs to do Google searches to determine the “Competition” numbers.
In this tutorial I’ll explain how to prevent this block. Google’s proprietary detection algorithms are hard to fool, but the tricks I’ll mention below should be effective for most users.
Use longer Google grace period
The “grace period” is how long the application will wait between consecutive requests. Longer grace period = less likely to be blocked. 12 to 16 seconds work well in most cases. The setting is found under Settings -> Speed. Note that you can safely set the Google Trends grace period to a lower value (e.g. 2 seconds) to compensate for any loss in speed.
Enable “Always check searches first, competition second”.
This option works very well together with the next trick, below.
Use “Negative thresholds“.
The idea is to decrease the number of searches that GTrends SE needs to do by quickly eliminating worthless keywords. This helps decrease the time needed to process a list of keywords and decreases the chances of getting a Google ban.
You can find this feature under Settings -> Criteria. Make sure the “Enable this feature” box is checked, set “Action” to “Don’t check the keywords any further” and set the “Less than X searches per day” value as high as you can afford to. For example, if you set it to “70 searches per day”, keywords that have less than 70 searches/day will not be fully checked – GTrends SE will stop analyzing those keywords as soon as the number of searches is determined.
There are no explicit rules on what numbers you should set in the “Negative threshold” section – choose what makes sense for the niche you’re researching.
Get a good proxy
Using an anonymous proxy is a very effective way to avoid being blocked by Google (though you need to switch the proxies now and then so that the proxies themselves don’t get banned). The real challenge is finding a good proxy – most of the freely available ones are of dubious quality and may have been already banned, even before you try to use them. I’ve already written a few posts on this topic :
While a few users have had success with commercial, subscription-based proxy providers, I’m reluctant to recommend a specific site. A few Google searches will likely turn up a number of proxy services – e.g. Socksify – use at your own risk.