Posted December 22, 2011 2:26 pm by with 5 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Our obsession with Facebook drove the word to be the most searched term in 2011. Take that Justin Bieber! The mini-crooner came in 92, but he did top the list of “most searched celebs.”

All these fun facts are coming to us from Experian Hitwise and we’ve got even more! Memorize a few and use them to astound your friends and family at the holiday dinner table.

Online Rules!

It’s probably no coincidence that the top 10 most-searched terms are all internet destinations. YouTube, Craigslist (one of my personal favorites), Ebay and the like. I was initially perplexed by why people would search “” when they could just put it in the address bar. Then I remembered watching my husband navigate to Facebook and that’s what he does – he types the term in the Google search then uses the link to access the site. I’ve tried to tell him that’s the long way around but you know. . . dogs and tricks.

Simon Bradstock, general manager of Experian Hitwise has a comment about this:

“Navigational searches dominated the top search results as users typed in terms versus typing in the URL in the browser bar. Hitwise saw 11 percent growth of single-word searches in 2011 as terms like ‘face’ and ‘you’ made the top 50 searches. Marketers need to be particularly brand-savvy when managing their search optimization campaigns because of this behavior, which is a result of predictive search functionality across major search engines.”

Facebook accounted for 3.10% of all searches, an increase of 46% over last year. It was also the top-visited website for the second year eating up 10.29% of all US traffic between January and November of 2011.

New News

Although there is a lot of repetition in the top 50, a few new terms broke into the list this year. CNN, chase online, hotmail, lowes, pandora, and twitter.

Casey Anthony was the most searched person in the news and media category with Charlie Sheen and Kim Kardashian landing in the top 20.

Fastest moving search terms for 2011 revolved around Osama Bin Laden and Hurricane Irene. Les Paul also made the list along with Nick Ashford and Amber Cole.

Very Entertaining

We did a lot of searching for entertainment related info. Hulu was the top generic search in the TV category.

Top TV show went to American Idol, followed by Young and the Restless, Dora the Explorer, Dancing with the Stars, and Days of our Lives. (Would it be sexist of me to extrapolate that the majority of TV term searchers were women?)

Lady Gaga was the most search musical act with Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Chris Brown all making the list for very different reasons.

Fastest moving movie titles? Star Wars, Transformers, (Twilight) Breaking Dawn,  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Fast Five.

Finally, in sports, the Dallas Cowboys were the most searched team while Tiger Woods, Danica Patrick and Brett Favre were the most searched individuals on the list.

When I look over this list of top searches, I am again struck by the fact that, in spite of my attempts to break out, I am a typical internet users. Yes, my searches added to the cumulative totals of the majority of these terms.

I think we should all band together and force a new word into next year’s most searched list. I vote for Snarghooten. I don’t know what it means, but I like how it sounds.

Happy searching, one and all.

  • No doubt! with millions of users using Facebook everyday. They search the term Facebook for logging, and this has made it no1 searched keyword.

  • I’m getting on my soapbox!

    In the vein of the most searched for keywords being web sites, how often does that apply to the rest of us?

    I’ve spent all year watching my employer’s competitors draw millions of searches a month for their own names. If we have a competitor named “Company X”, then I type Company X into the Google Adwords keyword tool, export the whole list to Excel, and dig out the useless terms. Terms such as Company X, that X Company, CompanyX. are the ones that get kept. Add up what’s left: 5-8 million monthly searches for several competitors.

    Product keywords? 2k-50k searches on most of them.

    People not only want “Facebook” instead of “Social Networking.” We might also want to keep an eye on how many prefer their favorite business to a generic product or service search.

  • It’s truly amazing to see how Facebook has changed our lives and how we communicate since it’s inception… look forward to seeing next year’s list. And I agree about banding together for a search term, it would be like an online flash mob!

    • Cynthia Boris

      I remember some big marketing blog tried that once. They made up a word then offered a prize to anyone who could get it to show up on the first page of Google or something.

      When I see how easily misinformation goes viral on Twitter, it seems like it would be easy enough to get a crazy word to take off.


    I ,HOPE, after, going through, several, communication, I have got, comittment, from you, to receive my dues.

    I hope, It will be better, if not elaborated, on this. I will send you, certificate, also.


    asst prof d.s hota