Google searches for anxiety soar to record high at beginning of coronavirus pandemic, study finds - CNBC

Google searches for anxiety soar to record high at beginning of coronavirus pandemic, study finds - CNBC

Google searches for anxiety soar to record high at beginning of coronavirus pandemic, study finds - CNBC

Posted: 24 Aug 2020 08:30 AM PDT

If you turned to Google for help diagnosing an anxiety attack as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the U.S. earlier this year, a new study suggests you weren't alone. 

Researchers from the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California San Diego analyzed Google Trends dating back 16 years and found that people searched for severe anxiety-related information at record highs beginning in March when the coronavirus pandemic was first declared a national emergency.

Researchers looked for searches on "anxiety" or "panic" in combination with "attack," such as "panic attack," "signs of anxiety attack," "anxiety attack symptoms," and so forth, according to the study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. 

Anxiety-related searches were roughly 11% higher than usual over the 58 days after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, according to the researchers who worked in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, Barnard College and the Institute for Disease Modeling. There were 3.4 million total searches for anxiety, about 375,000 more than usual, the researchers found.

"In practical terms, over the first 58 days of the COVID-19 pandemic there were an estimated 3.4 million total searches related to severe acute anxiety in the United States. In fact, searches for anxiety and panic attacks were the highest they've ever been in over 16 years of historical search data," Benjamin Althouse, a principal scientist at the Institute for Disease Modeling, said in a statement.

Anxiety-related searches spiked around key news events, rising 17% above normal from March 16, when national social distancing guidelines were first imposed, to April 14, a few days after the U.S. passed Italy for the most deaths. Other big news events occurred during that time: Social distancing guidelines were extended on March 20 in the U.S., the U.S. passed China for the most reported cases on March 26 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using face masks on April 3, the researchers noted.

Researchers found that toward May, when the study concluded its analysis, searches returned to normal levels — a sign that Americans could "have become more resilient to the societal fallout" of the coronavirus, the study said. 

"A panic attack is not to be taken lightly as it can land someone in the emergency room with shortness of breath, a pounding heart, chest pain, and an intense feeling of fear," said Eric Leas, an assistant professor in the UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and one of the study's coauthors.

The study was funded by UCSD and Bill and Melinda Gates through the Global Good Fund.

(If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or self harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at this link or by calling 1-800-273-TALK. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.)

Other studies have started to examine the mental health implications of Covid-19, including a study recently conducted by the CDC that found 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse in late June. The CDC found that nearly a third of respondents experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression in the last 30 days. 

The study, which polled 5,412 people online, found that an alarming 25% of people between 18 and 24 years old reported seriously considering suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey. The worst mental health outcomes were among young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers, the CDC said. 

Mental health experts warned early on in the nation's response to the outbreak that soaring unemployment rates and strict quarantine orders created a "perfect storm" for an increased risk of suicide for many people. Essential workers carried an especially stressful burden, they said. 

It's important to continue staying connected to other people and engage in activities that maintain emotional well-being, even if it's virtually, health experts suggest. If someone's unemployed, it can be helpful to maintain a daily routine, get enough sleep, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Top SEO Trends For 2020 -

Posted: 31 Aug 2020 09:54 PM PDT

Every year, Google does a lot of changes to its search algorithms. These changes could affect your search rankings. Despite the pandemic being the focus for most businesses, this didn't stop Google from updating and tweaking its search algorithms. As new businesses arise, the competition for the reader's attention becomes more hectic. For you to stay on top of the trends (and rank first), you have to meet certain requirements that are set by the search engines. The following are some of the most popular SEO trends for 2020:

Google wants to provide its customers (searchers) with the best possible experience. They want to provide the best possible search experience so they can sell Ads to businesses. Be relevant to Google's customers and you will be ranked effectively.

Voice Search

People search online the way they speak. In 2017, around 33 million voice searches were done. According to a March 2019 data, 20 percent of mobile searches are done by voice. Voice searches have become more popular and it means that people are now searching in the same way they speak.

Most of these searches use long-tail keywords and are really specific. Users demand a more exact answer when they ask a question. Most of the time those who use the long-tail keywords are more likely in the consideration stage, and they are the ones that have the tendency to convert. Bullet lists can increase your chances to rank high for voice queries. Most voice queries are local queries. This makes it necessary for you to apply local SEO tactics to your site.

Video is the new Content King.

Google adores videos (YouTube is not only owned by Google, but is the second largest search engine in the world). It remains a valuable element of any SEO strategy and any company's digital marketing efforts. Based on Forrester Research, video has the highest tendency to rank first on the SERP compared to a web page. It is also revealed that 62 percent of universal searches on Google include the use of videos.

It's a great technique to create a video using the content you can find on your site. Doing this will ramp up your traffic once Google indexes the video. By embedding a video on your site you can drive more traffic to it. Write a short description of the video on the site for Google to understand what the video is all about.

We believe that a video is a window to the soul of the business. That's why videos must be 100 percent genuine, informative and interesting.

Visual Image Search

Image optimisation has always been a part of any SEO strategy. Google has always recommended it. Lately, however, the company made changes to how users use images when they search on search engines. Images are important when it comes to online searches, and images always appear on the SERP. When your images are featured on the SERP usually they are in snippet form. Top ways to ensure that your images get featured on the SERP?

  • Optimizing image titles and descriptions
  • Using high-resolution images
  • Adding captions whenever necessary
  • Using alt-text to images
  • Using an original image instead of stock images.

We always optimise our images as part of our SEO strategy; hence, it is not new to us at

Add your business to Google My Business.

Through Google My Business, all of your business details will be made immediately available to any possible customers. Your Google My Business listing will also make your business more reputable. Remember that 88 percent of customers who do local search call or visit the business within 24 hours. With a Google Business Listing, you can make your site more visible for customers both offline and online.

Podcasts or the Spoken Word

Most often podcasts are a forgotten element of content marketing. It is, however, a great medium for those people who are always on the go. Think about someone trying to digest your content whilst running, commuting, traveling, or about to go to bed. All you have to do is create a podcast and optimise the title, recycle your existing content to turn it into a podcast and repurpose your podcast for YouTube. Remember that YouTube is a search engine in its own right, and it has over 1 billion users. YouTube is often part of the SERPs which makes it necessary to be part of your content marketing strategy. is always keeping abreast of the SEO trends with or without the pandemic.

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Google search analysis shows the sickening extent of sexism in politics - Women's Agenda

Posted: 30 Aug 2020 06:25 PM PDT

Is sexism alive in politics? Well, most of us can already see it and point to plenty of very real examples in Australia and across the world..

Now a Cambridge researcher has released results from a study indicating rife sexist attitudes towards female politicians in the UK by voters.

Sam Gilbert, an entrepreneur and researcher from the Bennet Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge, gathered search data from Google throughout the weeks leading up to the 2019 general election campaign and found a fifth of the Google searches about Jo Swinson, British Liberal Democrat politician, involved mentions of her body.

Gilbert believes these results provide a disturbing insight into citizens' psychology, and reveals how sexism continues to shape the public's views on politicians.

Gilbert told Wired that search engines like Google reveal voters' "unfiltered moments", where between November 9 and December 7 last year, Google's seventh most common search featuring the word "Swinson" was "jo swinson boobs". Other common searches included "jo swinson sexy", "jo swinson body", "jo swinson measurements", "jo swinson nipples", "jo swinson bikini", "jo swinson cleavage", "jo swinson stockings" and "jo swinson hot".

"jo swinson husband" was the fifth most popular Google search about Swinson during the campaign. Almost 20 percent of Google searches including her name expressed overtly sexist attitudes, where numerous searches involving Swinson's appearance or personal life, such as "jo swinson teeth", "jo swinson husband" and "jo swinson accent".

Swinson served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats for 7 months in 2019. She was the first woman and the youngest person to hold the position.

Gilbert told Wired that he believes that by studying Google searches, a unique insight into the ways the public view politicians is offered, especially when it comes to the issue of sexism in politics.

"Because we're so unfiltered when we use Google and other search engines, the data that is created by our internet searches is very powerful," he said. "You can think of it as a vast reservoir of our opinions, fears, needs, and desires. It expresses our collective consciousness."

Did male politicians succumb to such queries?


Google searches for Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson showed almost no searches about their physical appearance. The closest iteration of searches related to their personal lives involved queries involving their offspring. The second most popular search about Johnson was "boris johnson children".

Wired's technology reporter Rowland Manthorpe suggested that Google Images can indicate sexism— a Google Image search for "jo swinson" will provide auto suggestions including "weight loss" and "big".

Manthorpe spoke to a Google spokesperson who told him " …with our predictive features, including Autocomplete and refinements in Google Images, we aim not to shock or offend people with sensitive or inappropriate predictions."

"Our systems are trained to avoid showing these types of predictions," the spokesperson continued. "…but if policy-violating predictive features slip through, as happened in this case, we remove them."


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