Keep calm and Search on!
Google released its ‘year in search’ video, highlighting the top searches for the year and the following queries were on top of our minds in the past year.
- Robin Williams
- World Cup
- Malaysia Airlines
- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
- Flappy Bird
- Conchita Wurst
- Sochi Olympics
Closer to home, in the UK the top items that dominated our hunger for information were,
- Celebrities – ranging from their controversies, achievements and demise
- Recipes – mostly baking related, perhaps indicating the far reaching impact of shows like Great British bake off
- Holidays – Most interesting was Cornwall being on the top list. Perhaps a useful reason for investing in Local SEO for businesses having presence in the region.
- Global crisis – Ebola, Malaysian airline disasters
One look at these top trends list compared with the ever changing face of a Google results page, it is clear that Google take these trends very seriously. Features such as rich snippets for recipes, knowledge graph and carousels for celebrities, movies and destinations etc. are great examples of how such trends have manifested into the SERP pages of 2014.
Looking back at the video, one of the first things that stood out for us was the fact that we performed over a trillion searches this year… Wow! With Google dominating our lives as the operating system of our phones, the most commonly used sat nav tool, email client, instant messaging and video sharing service, perhaps the phrase ‘Google it’ is becoming the ubiquitous default answer to any query you may have.
Still, a trillion is a significant number, something more commonly used since the financial crash of 2008. Just for reference, a trillion is 1 followed with 12 zeroes. To put things further into perspective, and in the spirit of Christmas, if you searched a million times every single day since Jesus was born, you may still not reach the trillion figure.
The other interesting pattern to note is how our behaviour on search is a much stronger reflection of our feelings and emotions such as hope, fear, love, sense and inspiration.
Either way, 2014 has clearly proven to us that searching online is now not just a function but an extension of our emotions and this trend will only continue to grow. With the rise in internet penetration and especially through efforts by Google and Facebook itself, we believe the days of 2 trillion searches is not a far fantasy.
Finally, a special mention for the Google trends features itself and a couple of additional features in trends that not many people may have heard of.
Correlation – http://www.google.com/trends/correlate: An awesome tool which finds search patterns that corresponds to real-world searches.
Flu trends – http://www.google.org/flutrends/: A tool that indicates a possible flu outbreak based on search term trends. With rising internet penetration globally, such a tool could be wonderful in spotting possible outbreak of viruses.