“Sex” is NOT the most searched

2015 Update: 2014’s Version #4 of our Top Google Search Words is complete.  Check out what the latest “top keyword searches are today!

In late 2010, we studied for the second time, the “Most Popular Keywords” searched on the Internet.  We gathered from as many sources as we could to a base of phrases and added even more than we had from the original attempt at finding the top searches online.

We realized in the second attempt of the keywords study, that adult keywords were NOT the most sought after online.  In the original study, we made the conclusion that “adult” or “sex” keywords were the most searched because the number of phrases in the top 100 that were related to those adult topics made up a majority of the phrases.  It also made sense from a “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” perspective.  In the privacy of our homes, you might think most of physiological and safety needs are met.  So, we migrate to the love and belonging part of the hierarchy & we might start typing in phrases like  “porn” or “xxx” while surfing the Internet more easily.

However, there is another number to consider when evaluating what people are searching on the Internet and in that second attempt in 2010, we concluded the volume of each of the terms should be considered.  This year as well, we are giving that much more weight.  So, we’ll summarize below the top categories within the top 100.  After having close to 18 months to think about the 3rd attempt at this study, we believe we’ve been able to create an even better list here for the Top Google Searches in 2012.  Also, we’ll explain our methodology on how we drew up the list at the bottom, but for your immediate edification, here’s the list of the top 100 MOST searched phrases online:


The #1 through #25 Most Searched Words on Google:

No 1 through No 25 Top Google Keywords

This year’s top 25 Keywords were made up of many of the 2010’s top 25.  However, the major differences to this top quartile were:

  • the volume significantly grew with many of the phrases; For example, our top phrase “facebook” almost doubled in volume from 1.68 billion a month exact searches a month to over 3 billion searches a month
  • we had several new phrases that are newer ways of searching for the top topics like facebook.  “fb” became a familiar way of searching for the top social media website and ranked #7 with approximately 185 million monthly searches for the easy acronym.
  • and probably the most apparent change this year that we found to enter the list was the discovery of trending “new websites” that might become new social media powerhouses like Facebook did in 2010.  In particular, our #21 ranked phrase “tuenti” is a new social media that’s come out of nowhere based on the European continent.

No 26 through No 50 Top Google Keywords

In the second quartile of the top searches online, we found the European continent starting to catch on fire in terms of building websites that are garnering many, many searches.

  • #26 could almost be equated as France’s version of Craigslist along with #50 being Turkey’s top classifieds website
  • gaming continues to grow in popularity not only in the U.S., but throughout the world.  #36 is a big games website in Spain it appears along with #49 serving the Portuguese community which means not only Portugal, but also Brasil which is definitely becoming very active online.
  • #41 is an interesting search showing us that the government even knows how to build an online presence or one that many people who are either going to school or taking care of kids who are.

The #51 through #75 Most Searched Words on Google:

No 51 through No 75 Top Google Keywords

The 3rd group of top 25 searched phrases had many of last year’s terms like the 1st quartile:

  • “chatroulette” was not only a past trend, but continued to be a very high volume search
  • “espn” dropped from the #38 search to #56 despite growing about 50% in search volume per month exhibiting a larger variety of phrases entering the top 100
  • “netflix” more than doubled, but dropped a couple positions in terms of ranking

A few new additions:

  • “milliyet” (a popular newspaper in Turkey)
  • “meteo” searches are showing the Europeans are just as interested in the weather as most in the world
  • “red tube” & “cam4” – another adult property

The #76 through #100 Most Searched Words on Google:

No 76 through No 100 Top Google Keywords

Apple still  is popular despite the lack of “iPhone” phrases in the top 100.  You can see with the #85th phrase that people may be more interested in the company or their main website to find details about the iPhone or other products.  #97 as well shows their iTunes app is still popular as well.  The first instance of an “iPhone” phrase was just outside the top 100 at #103.  “iPhone 5” was searched 11,100,000 times a month which shows one small problem of our study or possibly the Google’s Keyword Tool.  Since most of the numbers are all estimates, we wont’ be able to truly define the difference between the 21 phrases that are searched 11.1 million times a month.

Speaking of those phrases, the ones that weren’t listed here are:

  • linkedin
  • www.google.com
  • iphone 5
  • porn hub
  • game
  • translator
  • samsung
  • mail.ru
  • odnoklassniki.ru
Also, a major difference between the last time we did the study and now (in 2012) is that #100 had 3.35 million searches a month, but now the threshhold for #100 is around 11.1 million searches a month.

Top Search Types

As mentioned earlier, we determined that actually people are more interested in topics other than adult phrases online.  In this year’s version of the study, we classify the type of searches that are made in the top 100. So, you’ll see an even more defined category than what we were thinking previously.  We used to think in terms of “top websites”, “adult websites” and “top brands”, but we’ve realized that EVERYone’s searching for websites for the most part and so we need to categorize the “type” of website they’re looking for.  Even though there are MANY different permutations of adult phrases being sought after online, we do see that many people are busy being “social.”  Then again, maybe the adult content surfers don’t want google to know they’re searching and they bookmark them instead?
Top Search Types


We almost want to make the warning of “do not try this at home” since it’s consistently time consuming to put this study together.  Fortunately, we’ve had experience already in carrying out the first and second attempts at this study.  For this year, we took the previous results and added the following to the mix:

  • Instead of just looking through all the sources for “top keywords”, we entered the phrase in the Google Keyword tool and manually filtered a list of the top 5 phrases that were similar to what we believe we were going to generate with this study.  The top 5 phrases were:
    • “top google searches” – the results were a mix of mainly google trends & zeitgeist along with summaries of 2011’s zeitgeist’s results
    • “top searches” – more google sites were in the top 10 results, yahoo’s buzz index and relatively irrelevant results
    • “most searched words” – again a mixture of the aforementioned
    • “top keywords” – probably the most relevant list of sources for the study (possibly why we focused on this in version 2)
    • “most popular keywords” – again more irrelevant results including a random list on a website that didn’t even identify how the list was pulled together
  • We scoured all the listings in all the searches and decided to use our original list PLUS the following we felt were pertinent for the study:
  • And shoved the ten’s of thousands of phrases through Google Adword’s Keyword Tool with the settings changed to All Locations (defaults to the U.S.) and Include Adult Ideas to make sure it doesn’t filter out any results
  • We deduped the results, sorted them and categorized the top 100
  • We kept the raw data including the:
    • 15,600+ results that had 100 or more searches per month
    • 13,450+ results that had 1000 or more searches per month
    • 7580+ results that had 12,100 or more searches per month
    • 3170+ results that had 110,000 or more searches per month
    • 850+ results that had 1 million or more searches per month
    • and the 230+ results that had 5 million or more searches per month
  • And we plan on potentially dissecting the data even more when we can find the time.  We might even be able to place other topics and ideas that may continue to add to the list.  Feel free to comment as well if you think there are other phrases you know of that should be in the list.
**We are definitely available to do keyword research like this or any specific vertical or area since we really enjoy doing this.  Feel free to contact us via the contact page.  We hope you enjoyed!


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  • St Louis Eddy

    Great post/article about search terms. Looks like you probably spent quite a bit of time on it. Will you be doing this more in the future? Will there be a version 4 or more? Seems like you should get paid for something like that. I’m thinking Forrester and all the big research houses don’t even do this, but you’ve aggregated the data here possibly in the best way that I’ve seen. Just signed up for your emails – so please keep us up to date. Thanks.

  • brandon

    Yah, that’s the plan. We really enjoy learning and also sharing our learnings as well.

    We were a bit surprised nobody’s tackled this before. Aside from what we’ve done, I’m thinking only the folks on the inside of Google see and possibly think about this. Frankly, we may be the only ones who even think in these ways, but it’s hard to say.

    So, definitely check back for more and if you have any ideas about how we should improve it, please feel free to share. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • Lawerence Malone

    I personally believe that’s very valid information for all the readers for sure. That’s very good research Google possibly think about all this. This is very new to me, even think in this ways. Please feel free in future to share. Thanks a lot.

  • Singapore Visitor

    Great article. It is a detailed compilation of the words search in google , even I am amazed by the results from the searches. Nevertheless, we can take this opportunity to build quality sites among some of the popular searches.

  • Tim Gardner

    over 3 billion monthly searches for facebook?! amazing!

  • The information displayed above is result of detailed long time studies, meaning the data might not be entirely currently valid. I wanted to know about any online services other than google trends that shows live search trends. Such a tool could be very handy in SEO and SERPs.

  • This list is really great list.You have shared a great information.I got a great info from your post.Thanks for sharing such a nice list.

  • I didn’t expect this amount of huge data…., Fully satisfied and very useful…., ThanQ..

  • Aussie Bud

    Useful information, Thank you.

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  • Hugh72

    Indeed, possessing this information will allow many companies to reach greater numbers of prospective clients. Excellent research. It is an interesting direction to consider, please do share your future results.

  • I am really very surprize to see facebook monthly searches, this is a record. Wonderful, Amazing, Superb.

  • Alan S

    I have to admit, this total list surprised me somewhat of what folks are looking for. I did not know so many people were looking for “social sites”. Excellent research, thank you!

  • pete

    I was surprised to see that shopping is not the highest type.

  • crust

    LOL! So much ‘adult content’.

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  • wise

    It would be wise if u remove the adult stat cuz u r blog is not adhul :”

  • Kevinkaigs


  • Color me laughing…

    Have you ever watched people who don’t work on the Internet USE the internet? Most of them type stuff into the Google toolbar instead of the url bar. They go to the google toolbar, type in facebook — and voila – facebook loads. The USE the google toolbar like it’s the url bar. It “gets them where they want to go…”

    So all those searches for social media sites aren’t people “searching for social media” — they’re people using google toolbar like a url bar. They’re not “searching for” — they’re “going to…”

    Shouldn’t SEOs know that kind of stuff??? Criminy.

  • Gayatri S

    The ‘Real Estate’ keyword is also climbing the ladder of top searches really fast. Sooner or later it will make its way to the top as well!

  • Rudy

    nice info

  • worldwidedictionaries.com

    I was kind of taken aback with the volume of data provided. What are the search terms in the retailing field and consumer goods industry? Any research on that?

  • brandon

    Yes, we know the toolbar is used just like the url bar. However, until that’s proven to be the main source of data for the searches, we aren’t going to make that hypothesis. Go ahead an spend the time to do the research and write the post yourself. Feel free…

    We simply collected the data, wrote it up for people to read through and use and develop their own theories. If we had more time and money to dedicate to this post, I’m sure we would try to break down the sources and accuracy behind the data.

    But like you say people use the toolbar to navigate, they may simply open up a browser to google and use the field and type facebook as well. Is it a search? Is it a natural way of navigating moving forward? Again, it’s up to you to prove…we welcome it. however, we thought about this a while back…but didn’t have the time to add it in.

    It’s a valid point though…

    And yes, SEO’s know this…and we know a lot more that apparently has helped us quite a bit assisting others with their websites as well.

  • Stroking the salami

    I am accountable for the many youjizz searches

  • Fernando Acevedo

    Wow Brandon!, I ‘m shocked by the data. Very well written, explained and interesting article, thank you! I’m somewhat surprised by your in-depth knowledge and psychology back up data provided from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs view point. I will definitely look forward for other similar articles and will sign for your newsletter, tweeter and facebook. I lived in Seattle for a couple of years and I’m currently living in FL, I miss Seattle. Excellent article!!!! You rock man, thank you I was so in need for this article!!!!

  • George

    Intersting , so its social media thats hot right now!

    • Myron

      Blogs do play a huge role in the interenet now so good call on that one. But none of us could have gssueed back then how big social networking sites like twitter and facebook are today.

  • Sulthan

    What a disappointment. Most of the search results are related to sex. Poor…….

  • bruva

    So much porn…

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  • melbourne home builders

    This is the third time I’ve been to your site. Thanks for sharing more details.

  • Samantha

    277,000,000 search Google on Google. Mankind is doomed.

  • Vaibhav Patwal

    A very informative site is this thanx for sharing such a wonderful information with us.

  • Peterka50

    Hmm very interesting. Webpag plushry.sk not there 😀

  • Peterka50

    Only the porn omg. Many peoples hopeless 😀

  • Ummi

    Fb have huge traffic… great info. Thanks.

  • Ervin Woodward

    I really found this blog post , “Top Google Searches in 2012 by Seattle Organic SEO”, quite interesting and the blog post was in fact a fantastic read.
    Many thanks-Leonardo

  • Facebook rocks again!

  • Informative article ! Nice work . I appreciate your useful work .

  • Jiwan Tamang

    Very nice…..thank you for providing valuable information

  • Terry

    Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little
    bit further. Thanks!

  • Denise R.

    This post is invaluable. When can I find out more?

  • Brooke

    Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My site covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog
    by the way!

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