15 years of Google Trends, and Americans are still mostly searching for the same things - WFAA.com

15 years of Google Trends, and Americans are still mostly searching for the same things - WFAA.com

15 years of Google Trends, and Americans are still mostly searching for the same things - WFAA.com

Posted: 18 May 2021 03:48 PM PDT

Google Trends turned 15 in May 2021.

DALLAS — Editor's note: The above video is from 2019.

Harry Potter, "American Idol" and "Grey's Anatomy" may seem unrelated on the surface, but they have at least one thing in common: American Google users were searching for those terms back when Google Trends first launched in May 2006 - and they're still searching for them now in May 2021.

Google Trends, the search engine's tool for seeing what Google users are searching for at any given moment, turns 15 this month. It launched in May 2006, when high-speed internet was first becoming widespread, Houston rapper Chamillionaire was burning up the charts with "Ridin' Dirty," and Texan George W. Bush was in the Oval Office.

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A lot has changed in 15 years, but apparently, America's pop culture tastes and Google searches have stayed somewhat the same. In addition to Harry Potter, "American Idol" and "Grey's Anatomy" (which just got renewed for an 18th season), Americans are still searching for thriller and fantasy books, like 2003's "The Da Vinci Code" and 1993's "Without Remorse," which just got a search bump because it was adapted into a movie at Amazon Prime starring Michael B. Jordan.

Many actors that were popular in Google searches in 2006 are also still popular today, like Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck and Zac Efron.

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Worldwide, people are still asking the big questions in the past 15 years, like:

  • What time is it?
  • How to tie a tie
  • Where am I?
  • How to kiss

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Reports like these aren't just fun lists of what people search on Google each year; they're also mini-time capsules, showing us what we thought was worthy of our attention at any given moment. Fifteen years from now, we may look back at our fascination with "Game of Thrones" the same way we look at "The Da Vinci Code."

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Take a trip down Memory Lane, see what's changed and check out Google's list of top searches in May 2006 vs. May 2021 below.

Top English-language questions, past 15 years, Worldwide 

  • What time is it?
  • How to tie a tie
  • How to kiss 
  • Where am I?
  • How many ounces in a cup?

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Most searched song lyrics, May 2006, U.S. 

  • "Bad Day" - Daniel Powter
  • "Dani California" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Unfaithful" - Rihanna
  • "Ridin' Dirty" - Chamillionaire
  • "Move Along" - The All-American Rejects

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Most searched song lyrics, May 2021, U.S.

  • "Your Power" - Billie Eilish
  • "Deja vu"- Olivia Rodrigo
  • "Drivers License" - Olivia Rodrigo
  • "Levitating" - Dua Lipa
  • "Body (Remix)" - Tion Wayne x Russ Millions

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Most searched books, May 2006, U.S. 

  • "Da Vinci Code"
  • "Harry Potter"
  • "Romeo and Juliet"
  • "Eragon"
  • "The Great Gatsby"

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Most searched books, May 2021, U.S. 

  • "The Handmaid's Tale"
  • "Game of Thrones"
  • "Harry Potter"
  • "Without Remorse"
  • "Vampire Diaries"

RELATED: Women wear 'Handmaid's Tale' robes in Texas Senate

Most searched actors, May 2006, U.S. 

  • Angelina Jolie
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Tom Cruise
  • Jessica Alba
  • Brad Pitt

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Most searched Actors, May 2021, U.S.

  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Ben Affleck
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Zac Efron
  • Adam Sandler

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Most searched TV shows, May 2006, U.S.

  • "American Idol"
  • "Lost"
  • "Grey's Anatomy"
  • "Survivor"
  • "The O.C."

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Most searched TV shows, May 2021, U.S. 

  • "Grey's Anatomy"
  • "Saturday Night Live"
  • "American Idol"
  • "Shameless"
  • "NCIS"

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Data Doctors: How to use Google Trends - WTOP

Posted: 14 May 2021 02:52 AM PDT

Q: I've been told several times that Google Trends is a great business tool — can you elaborate?

A: Google is by far the most used search engine with well over 90% of global search traffic and over 3.5 billion searches processed every day.

Each search is executed based on the words entered, which allows Google to understand trends as they happen or on a historical basis. Google also includes searches performed on YouTube in the Trends tool.

This rich database of "keywords" can be accessed by anyone using the Google Trends webpage.

The value of keyword research

If you are in business, you most likely have a website and if you have a website, you want to generate as much traffic to it as possible.

Using the various advertising platforms is one way of generating traffic but if you do your homework, you may be able to get visitors for free (also known as organic traffic).

Google's decision to include your website for any given search criteria is incredibly complex, so keywords alone won't guarantee free traffic but it's an essential first step.

There is no better way to research keywords than Google Trends because it taps into the ultimate database of what people are searching for every day.

Assuming you know which search words your potential customers will use is a very hazardous approach, one that we were guilty of in the beginning.

Since we're in the 'computer service' business, we thought focusing on that search term was important but Google Trends made it clear that wasn't the terminology that our customers were using.

The term 'computer repair' generates exponentially more traffic as shown in an online comparison.

Understanding the basics

The site starts with current trends that most likely won't be of much value, so start by entering a search term or topic that relates to your business.

The resulting data set will be for the web searches in the United States (unless you are doing this from another country) for the past 12 months.

The graph will represent the interest in that keyword over the time frame you select which can go all the way back to 2004.

One of the great uses of Trends is to see seasonal changes in the use of a keyword which can be seen clearly if you use "tax software" as the search term and change the time frame to 5 years.

The highest peak every year is toward the end of January and the beginning of February, which can be seen by floating your mouse pointer over the middle of the graph and dragging it side to side.

This intelligence can be used in both online and offline marketing initiatives since it illuminates when customers are most interested in this product category.

If the search term has multiple meanings, you can use the category option to refine the data for the proper meaning.

You can also change the data from web searches to image, news, shopping or YouTube specific searches.

Additional Insights

Comparing search terms is another valuable market research option in Trends. If you add 'tax preparer' to the 'tax software' data, you'll see the difference in the search volume as well as a similarity in the annual peaks.

As you scroll down, you'll see interest by Subregion and related topics and queries that can lead to other valuable search terms.

I would highly recommend learning how to use this tool for anyone involved in business development or marketing.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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