Google Releases the Annual "Year in Search"
Every year, Google compiles a key list of search trends and tendencies, which can shed important light on user tactics and changes in search traffic throughout the year. Remember, any search engine optimization plan needs to center around figuring out how to appeal to the end user, so understanding that person's mindset is critical. The internet is an ever-evolving machine, driven by user interaction, and these yearly updates help illustrate key changes and shifts in public thinking. Any company can utilize these trends and these insights in their SEO strategies for 2019. Let's take a look at the Year in Search.
Top Global Search Terms
On a global scale, World Cup soccer dominated many of the searches. The World Cup was the top search term overall and in the news category. Rounding out the top 10 searches overall were: Avicii, Mac Miller, Stan Lee, Black Panther, Meghan Markle, Anthony Bourdain, XXXTentacion, Stephen Hawking and Kate Spade.
Top U.S. Search Terms
One key thing to keep in mind is that the U.S. trends may mimic the global trends on many levels, but there are some key differences. For instance, names like Mac Miller and Kate Spade still made the U.S. list in top 10 overall searches, but you had localized events that triggered national searches that did not show up on the international scale. For instance, while the World Cup was still the top search term, the second was Hurricane Florence. Seventh was the Mega Millions results, likely due to the jackpot hitting an unprecedented $1.6 billion. The United States also searched for "election results" as the No. 10 search on the overall list, along with the midterm elections.
One thing that Americans tend to search for frequently are "How To" articles. The top five searches for 2018 were how to vote, how to register to vote, how to play Mega Millions, how to buy Ripple and how to turn off automatic updates.
As you can see, these searches naturally mimic the overall national trends and touch on some of the same key issues, but they also expose something else that is important to the U.S. population: technology. Ripple is a cryptocurrency, which people are clearly interested in despite the overall decline of the cryptocurrency market. They're also interested in turning off automatic updates, which does speak to some level of technological obsession, if nothing else.
Along similar lines, Americans tend to search to find out what something is, seeking background information or more in-depth explanations, perhaps as a response to things they saw in the news or on social media. Some of the top 10 "what is" searches included what is Bitcoin, what is racketeering, what is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), what is a government shutdown, what is Good Friday and what is a nationalist. Many of these searches revolve around politics or wealth, a common trend in many categories.
How Does This Help You?
So, why is the Year in Search important? How can it help you with your SEO marketing in the year to come?
Specific searches often center around one-time events: Sporting events, deaths, weather events, political events. While those specifics don't change things for you in 2019, the overall trends can. You understand what people are interested in and what draws them to Google. You also glean key insights into the types of things Americans do not understand as thoroughly as they wish, leading them to search for more information.
Beyond that, though, the categories can help you create content that users are actually looking for. You can see the clear impact of "how to" and "what is" searches. Does that change the type of content you want to offer to your audience? Does it shed some insight on the information they're seeking and what to provide to make your site an authoritative source? This goes beyond one-time events and helps you center your content strategy around recurring search types.