As the 19,500 visitors who come to this blog know, I love keywords.
These words that people search for a daily, hourly and every second basis are what are in peoples’ minds. These trends that google keeps track of or searches that people make to obtain something (information, retailers who will sell them an item they want or websites which give some form of fulfillment [social, interest or something to help with the daily mundane]) are truly what reflect what’s in the minds of our society today.
Having this knowledge can reap financial rewards. Understanding these trends and search dynamics can provide people power in many arenas. Thus, my interest in these keywords.
This love of keywords has translated into an annual study I’ve been doing for a number of years trying to understand what are the most popular keywords on the internet.
Not only do I love keywords, but so does google and they believe these keywords & the data behind them represent the “spirit of the current times.” As a result, they publish an annual report sharing with us what were the top keyword trends of the year called Google Zeitgeist. Before the 2012 edition comes out soon, I thought we would review the past 11 years.
2001 Google Zeitgeist
The first year they published this annual report on the year’s trends was 2001. In that year, we learned the top 10 women who were sought after were:
In the top 10 men list, you didn’t find a popular musician, but rather a reputed seer at the top of the list.
and the top 20 rising searches that year was also topped by the top male searched that year, the famous French apothecary Nostradamus. After the author of “Les Propheties” came the following other rising trends:
And here is how the search trends occurred throughout the year:
2002 Google Zeitgeist
The 2002 end of the year search trends report told us instead that “spiderman” became more popular as a rising search than the seer from the year before. “Shakira” and several other celebrities dominated the top 20 list including the top male “eminem” who replaced the man who some thought could predict the future. Maybe “nostradamus” could have been a good Google Zeitgeist consultant. We wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the year to find out the results.
2002 also brought about an additional perspective of looking at the trends internationally:
The 2002 list spread out over the year:
|On January 1, 2002, euro banknotes and coins were put into circulation in Europe.|
Users search for national geographic after the magazine locates the Afghan girl, who was subject of famed cover photo 18 years ago.
Top Tax Queries
|During the months of their premieres, there were 42% more searches for “Friends” than for “Survivor.”|
|Halloween searches in Germany were nearly five times more than Spain, three times more than the UK, and two times more than France.|
|Users around the world search for “david beckham rumors” as rumors circulate about the English soccer star.|
|The Oscars are the top gaining query for the month.|
French users search for “elections presidentielles” as Jean-Marie Le Pen upset Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and qualified to face French President Jacques Chirac in the runoff for presidency.
|Controversial Dutch politician|
Pim Fortuyn is murdered a week before national elections.
|The world cup becomes the most popular sports event of the year and the term was the third most popular query overall for the month of June.|
|Spain and Morocco feud over possession of Isla Perejil, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea. |
German users search for “hochwasser,” the German translation for “flood”, as the waters rise around Dresden.
|Users around the world remember the events of September 11, 2001.|
Users search for information about the sniper scare in the Washington, D.C. area.
2003 Google Zeitgeist
Eminem continue to be the most popular male search trend of the year, but “britney spears” overtook all the phrases to be the hottest search trend in the upward direction in 2003’s examination of the top search trends:
And this year also included the knowledge that many people should acknowledge when it comes to search, but images are what many people are looking for when they search.
Popular Fictional Characters – 2003
Popular Anime Searches
2004 Google Zeitgeist
“Britney Spears” reigned as the top search trend for two years in a row in 2004. Along with Britney, several other women dominated the top keyword trends (in 2004) including “paris hilton” (#2), “christina aguilera” (#3), “pamela anderson” (#4) and “carmen electra” (#7).
This year though also gave the world an inside look to how google started to want searches to be divided into: globally vs. locally.
Google Local Search Queries
2005 Google Zeitgeist
2006 Google Zeitgeist
2007 Google Zeitgeist
Even though previous years would break out searches examining them from specific countries, this year, Google divides the top 10 list in 2007 between the U.S. and the world.
Fastest Rising (global)
- second life
- club penguin
Fastest Rising (U.S.)
- club penguin
- anna nicole smith
The list was also broken into different quarters of the year (for US Searches):
2007 also allowed Google to identify the top questions on peoples’ minds.
- who is god
- who is who
- who is lookup
- who is jesus
- who is it
- who is buckethead
- who is calling
- who is keppler
- who is this
- who is satan
- what is love
- what is autism
- what is rss
- what is lupus
- what is sap
- what is bluetooth
- what is emo
- what is java
- what is hpv
- what is gout
- how to kiss
- how to draw
- how to knit
- how to hack
- how to dance
- how to crochet
- how to meditate
- how to flirt
- how to levitate
- how to skateboard
2008 Google Zeitgeist
In 2008, Google just placed the top search trends list as one list representing the globe:
Fastest Rising (Global)
- sarah palin
- beijing 2008
- facebook login
- heath ledger
- nasza klasa
- wer kennt wen
- euro 2008
- jonas brothers
At the same time, the data for the U.S. was available as well as many other countries too. The examination of the trends relating to questions or “top of mind” were continued along with other groupings: politics (searches), trendsetters (social networks, cocktails, comfort foods, DIY for example), showbiz (searches), and sports (searches).
2009 Google Zeitgeist
Google’s annual report on the top search trends in 2009 saw the death of a pop icon surge to the top:
Fastest Rising (Global)
- michael jackson
- new moon
- lady gaga
- windows 7
- torpedo gratis
It also added some trends analysis with searches “around the home” and examined searches “city by city.”
2010 Google Zeitgeist
We actually wrote in detail about the 2010 Google Zeitgeist last year, but it wasn’t a popular post. Nevertheless, 2010 continued to show the trends globally:
Searches in other languages started to enter into the top 10 lists that were normally dominated by searches in English including:
2011 Google Zeitgeist
(*Most likely, this url for 2011’s Google Zeitgeist will change into 2012’s version of the Zeitgeist, but for now, the 2011 list resides here.) A big unknown ended up topping the list with her attempt to become a pop star:
- Rebecca Black
- Ryan Dunn
- Casey Anthony
- Battefield 3
- iPhone 5
- 東京 電力 [(TEPCO) Fukushima I Plant damaged in the 2011 Japanese Earthquake\]
- Steve Jobs
And Apple continued to be the fancy of many tech and design lovers helping bolster the stock price to approximately $405 (one of the highest valuations of the company in it’s history).
Our Predictions for 2012’s Google Zeitgeist
We believe Apple’s products include the release of the iPhone 5 will continue to dominate the trends. The stock price of the company has inflated to as high as $665/share and the company is valued at over $500 billion dollars. Yet, the price over earnings is still only at a minimal 12 despite the valuation. The company has taken over many forms of communication and doesn’t appear to have a significant rival minus Samsung which lost in court against the tech behemoth.