2017’s year in Search’s Top Search Topic: “How” searches

People are definitely asking more questions when it comes to search.   Their queries have become much more specific and they now see google as basically a more refined answering engine.   As a result, the “5  W’s and H Questions” are occupying much more of the inventory of monthly search terms.

Perhaps you were one of the 20 million views that YouTube provided 2 years ago in their “Year in Search” 2017.   If you were, these next few data points may not be a surprise.   However, as you can see from the following video, supposedly “how” searches were dominating the minds of searchers:

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We were reminded of this recently when seeing the 2019 version of the “Year in Search” and it drove us to watch both the 2018 and 2017 videos on YouTube.   Despite us putting together the search behemoth presents in these entertaining videos.  We know that they are just that: entertainment.   Unfortunately, we believe they don’t truly represent any insightful information except some potential thoughts about what was represented in search.   For example, we know many people searched for “how” searches, BUT were they the dominant searches for the search engine?   We will be showing in a few posts coming up that we don’t believe so.

The latest post: Top 100 Google Searches April 2021

However, these videos DO provide us with ideas to share with you.   We wanted to provide:

The top “How” searches in 2019

Despite the contention being made in 2017, we examined what google provides as the top searches related to “how” here in 2019 (before we share data from 2017 re: their thesis in the 2017 Year in Search video).   We found these to be the top 139 searches (since many of them are estimated to be similar in volume):

Top 1-38 how searches Top 39-79 how searches Top 80-116 how searches Top 117-139 how searches

Despite 2019 being a very tough month for many, people were definitely not thinking more about literally killing other people in cold blood.   So, the search “How to Get Away with Murder” wasn’t truly based on learning how to do it.   Or was it?

Seriously, it was actually based off the TV drama named as such where Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Viola Davis, a brilliant, charismatic and seductive professor of defense law, teaches a class called How to Get Away With Murder. It started in 2014, but as a result of its growing popularity, it was one of the most searched “how” phrases…but again, it wasn’t because people were necessarily trying to learn how to commit the crime.

The next few phrases in the list make more sense, but two of them may not:

  • how to
  • how are you

Why would people not finish off their question with “how to”?   Well, as you know, many people are provided “suggested searches” when they start their queries.   Also, there are navigational queries that are finished by us literally just choosing from the drop down of many suggested searches.   This could be a couple reasons why.   However, there is also weird behavior online or people carrying out queries for other purposes as well.   They may have even been trying to learn what the phrase means like when people type in a word they don’t know for vocabulary learning.   There are many reasons behind searches that frankly aren’t exposed.   Nevertheless, these are the numbers.

There are many more and if you’re curious, let us know and we’ll share what they are.   However, we wanted to at least give you a picture of what more people are doing when it comes to asking “how” questions in google.

The top “How searches in 2017

Now when Google told us in their YouTube end of the year summary of search behavior 2 years ago, they exposed a trend that some of us have never even heard of — especially if we don’t watch YouTube as much as a larger population does.   If you haven’t tried the search, you should within YouTube and you’ll find a potentially “soothing” set of videos that have literally taken over the video platform and has provided both entertainment and also reference/learning for many millions, if not billions.   Videos like this have literally garnered millions of views (and there are many others):

Top 1-42 how searches - 2017 Top 43-66 how searches - 2017 Top 82-101 how searches - 2017 Top 123-143 how searches partial - 2017 Top 143-175 how searches - 2017

Significant changes in “how” searches within 2 years

As you can see with our annual study of “top searches on the internet,” the volumes can change significantly and so can the actual topics or terms.   The world changes and so have their interests or ways they search.   Here are some of the larger changes from the 2 different surveys from 2 years:

Largest gainers:

  • how to delete snapchat account increased 49% (135,000 -> 201,000 searches/mo)
  • how many oz in a pound +50% (110,000 -> 165,000/mo)
  • how to draw eyes +82% (74,000 -> 135,000/mo)
  • how to draw a face +49%
  • how to draw a unicorn +232%
  • how to get away with a murderer season 5 +1567%
  • how to draw a nose +83%
  • how to use chopsticks +50%
  • how to write an application letter +83%
  • And many more…

Largest drops:

  • how to make slime   dropped 70% (1,500,000 -> 450,000 searches/mo)
  • to to be single -33%
  • how do you say -33%
  • how to delete twitter account -45%
  • how to make fluffy slime -75%
  • how it’s made -33%
  • how to make slime without borax -84%
  • how to get away with a murderer season 4 -80%
  • how it should have ended -33%
  • how many seasons of shameless -33%



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