Seven Things We Now Know From 2009’s Search Results

Although 2009 is almost one month short of being over, Google has already published its yearly Zeitgeist, charting the year’s most popular searches, and subsequently charting the mindset of the world, as reflected digitally. Naturally, Yahoo and Bing followed suite.

It probably doesn’t come off as a surprise that Michael Jackson is the world’s biggest winner in 2009, even when it comes to search engine queries. He topped the internet charts with no competition, and even archenemies Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo agree together on that. Not to risk sounding insensitive, but death was definitely Michael’s best career move.

Aside from the King of Pop (as well as King of Search, apparently), the three search engine giants do not agree on the rest of 2009’s most popular search queries.

How do their lists compare? And what does it say about their users?

Red: Pop Culture
Blue: Social Media

Google‘s Year-End Zeitgeist List:

Google Search Query Breakdown

Google Search Query Breakdown

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Facebook
  3. Tuenti
  4. Twitter
  5. Sanalika
  6. New Moon
  7. Lady Gaga
  8. Windows 7
  10. Torpedo gratis

(Sanalika is a Turkish Second Life with a network, Dantri is a Vietnamese news site, and Torpedo Gratis is an online SMS service in Brazil).

Here is the list Bing came up with:

Bing Search Query Breakdown

Bing Search Query Breakdown

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Twitter
  3. Swine Flu
  4. Stock Market
  5. Farrah Fawcett
  6. Patrick Swayze
  7. Cash for Clunkers
  8. Jon and Kate Gosselin
  9. Billy Mays
  10. Jaycee Dugard

Here are the Top 10 Overall Searches for 2009 according to Yahoo:

Yahoo Search Query Breakdown

Yahoo Search Query Breakdown

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Twilight
  3. WWE
  4. Megan Fox
  5. Britney Spears
  6. Naruto
  7. American Idol
  8. Kim Kardashian
  10. Runescape

My own completely unscientific analysis of these search queries:

1. Googlers are smarter than Yahoo users and Bing users (or at least, more tech-savvy, that should probably fall under smart in your dictionary as well). This point could possibly be proven by this: Bing Users 50% More Likely to Click on an Ad, they probably don’t even know it’s an ad.

2. Yahoo users are the youngest (as illustrated by Kim Kardashian, American Idol, and Britney Spears. Wait a sec, Britney Spears? Seriously? Who searched for her?)

3. Bing users are probably mid-aged Americans who just figured out how to use the net and got to Bing through their Windows OS (as illustrated by Billy Mays, Stock Market, and Swine Flu). Refer to proof in point one.

4. Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, is a winner.

5. Twitter is definitely a winner.

6. Social media and the real-time web are going to have an even bigger year in 2010 (Socialized PR has a post on predicting social media trends for 2010).

7. Seeing people’s obsession with dead celebrities, someone needs to start up some kind of restaurant chain a la Planet Hollywood for dead people.

It’s your turn…

What search engine do you use the most? Any popular topics surprised you by not making the top 10 lists? Let us know in the comment section below…

Comments and Reactions

6 responses to “Seven Things We Now Know From 2009’s Search Results”

  1. Beiruta says:

    Smooth analysis… I use Google always and I am surprised socialmedia was not included amongst the top ten searches!

  2. Amer Kawar says:

    Beirut, in fact social media covers 4 out of the top 10 on Google: Facebook, Tuenti, Twitter
    and Sanalika.

  3. Beiruta says:

    I meant the term itself :)

  4. Interesting analysis. I would not conclude that because Googlers search for more social media that they are smarter. If someone has to search Google to find faceBook or Twitter, they are clearly not the avid users.

    I look at the top 10 at Google, and 4 of them mean nothing to me. Nothing. That hardly sounds like what should be in the top 10 searches for an entire year. You explain 3 of them as non-English, which tells me that your point #8 might be that Google serves a much higher proportion of non-English market than does Bing or Yahoo.

    If you had asked me blindly what the top searches in 2009 had been, I would have probablky have named Michael Jackson, the economy (OK, perhaps “stock market” would be the search), Iran, swine flu (or H1N1), healthcare (so many US searchers), perhaps Lady Gaga and maybe Star Trek, Transformers (Megan Fox) or Twighlight. As I scroll up the page to look at the results above, I ask myself which search engine's users seem to reflect most what I recall being the yakkity-yakk topics of 2009. Umm…none of them, really.

  5. Roba says:

    Well, the conclusions are not very scientific :) You're right though, searching for twitter might mean that they're looking for a link, yet somehow, I doubt it. I have searched for “twitter” a billion times over this year, mostly looking for research.
    It's quite interesting though… What's your search engine?

  6. sanalika says:

    it is very intersting anaylsis

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