Top Search Engine Terms of 2011: Who and What We Looked For

By , on January 3, 2012 | Go to comments

SANTA MONICA, CA – What do Facebook and Justin Bieber have in common? They are both at the top of their categories for the number of search inquiries directed at them in 2011. The categories are part of an in-depth analysis of the top search terms of 2011, published by Experian Hitwise, a part of Experian Marketing Services.

The biggest search engine victory, though, was achieved by a search engine itself. According to Experian Hitwise, Google properties made for 11.98 percent of all U.S. visits, which is a 22 percent increase from 2010. Facebook properties accounted for 8.93 percent, and Yahoo! properties accounted for 6.81 percent.

As a stand-alone, the fastest-moving search terms of the year mainly focused on big events, disasters, and changes that happened on that specific day. The terms included: Hurricane Irene, Les Paul, Nick Ashford dies, Apophis Asteroid, Sheen dumped, Hurricane Irene path and Amber Cole. Looking at the top public figures and the top five searches in the movie category is equally as amusing (and maybe even a little scary to some degree, in some cases).

Top public figure searches:

  1. Justin Bieber
  2. Casey Anthony
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Nicki Minaj
  5. Selena Gomez
  6. Charlie Sheen

Top five movie titles:

  1. Star Wars
  2. Transformers 3
  3. (Twilight) Breaking Dawn
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  5. Fast Five

Looking at the top hits for 2011 is fun and provides some insight, but the analysis goes much deeper when comparing the results of 2011 with 2010. A few important differences, as noted by the Experian Hitwise study: Facebook was the top-visited website for the second year, making up 10.29 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2011, which is a whopping 15 percent increase from 2010. Google.com ranked second, with 7.70 percent of visits, which is a 7 percent increase for them, trailed by YouTube with 3.17 percent, and Yahoo! Mail at 2.95 percent with Yahoo! at 2.47 percent.

Check out the Top 10 most-visited websites for 2010 vs. 2011:

Top 10 in 2010:

  1. Facebook.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Mail.Yahoo.com
  4. Yahoo.com
  5. YouTube.com
  6. Msn.com
  7. MySpace.com
  8. Mail.Live.com
  9. Search.Yahoo.com
  10. Bing.com

Top 10 in 2011:

  1. Facebook.com
  2. Google.com
  3. YouTube.com
  4. Mail.Yahoo.com
  5. Yahoo.com
  6. Bing.com
  7. Search.Yahoo.com
  8. Gmail.com
  9. Mail.Live.com
  10. Msn.com

Taking a critical look at both the 2010 and 2011 search terms, especially in relation to search engine optimization, makes for an important task for 2012, and that is meeting the challenge of knowing what’s current and anticipating what is on the horizon, according to Ali Husayni, the CEO of the SEO service company, Master Google.

After all, SEO helps a website’s visibility by making sure that the site’s language gives an optimal chance for it to be found when a web surfer performs a search.

“The key is to recognize your key audience and think like them,” Husayni says. “For instance, if Sinai is working on dental website marketing for a client, we have to think in terms of what words people use when they search for a dentist. Then we build the client’s entire Google marketing efforts around those 100-200 words.”

© 2012 Master Google. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google is credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this press release is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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