When it comes to how people search online one of the most important tools for web developers and maths geeks is the Google Adwords Keyword tool. Not only does this tool (also known as GAKT) provide invaluable research into keyword discovery but also extremely important insight of online consumer behaviour. After all, discovering a new keyword term doesn’t really do much good if nobody ever looks for the term online.
Social media, brands, popular niche websites, videos and other standalone pieces all contribute to the web in their own individual ways but the bulk of search volume still hasn’t changed much since the days of the Commodore 64. People still love games, shopping and well… almost anything adult orientated.
What is interesting however is comparing the amount of volume between keywords to provide some kind of insight on what people are looking for today. 15 years ago comparing keyword traffic was not a very relevant statistic to the masses (as most people never had a computer) but the world has drastically changed since the days of people lining up to play Pac-Man.
Of course these statistics are not exact nor is there any complete list of keywords sortable by volume anywhere on the web. You literally have to find keywords and waste hours (and days) using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find matches.
So what do people search most for on Google?
The top Google searches comprise of quite a few keywords you may never have really thought of and they do fluctuate with time but many of them are probably what you expect. On the other hand, some of the comparisons are quite interesting.
Please note these are obviously unofficial since (a) I do not work for Google (b) have the patience to try and locate MI6 for a direct Google phone number or (c) pretend to know every word in every language.
The numbers below are also referencing Google’s local exact match number. When you search for a keyword using the GAKT you can get a couple different results including Broad Match, Exact Match and Phrase Match. Let’s say we want to look at the volume for the term red shoes. Your combination options would be:
- Broad match – The sum of the search volumes for the keyword idea, related grammatical forms, synonyms and related words
- Phrase match – The sum of the search volumes for all terms that include that whole phrase
- Exact match – The search volume for just that keyword idea
Now, each one of these matches also has their own set of results which include Global and Local Monthly Searches. Local EXACT Monthly Searches is basically the number of people who type in the EXACT keyword combination using the Google search box or click on the Google suggestion for that EXACT match as they type in their search.
Essentially if you want to filter down all these options with the highest accuracy for a single keyword to users in a particular region LOCAL EXACT MATCH is the only number to use. For comparison results below America is the default region, thus any volume outside of America is not counted.
Let’s start with the obvious one – Adult names
We live in a free country but censorship is going to stop this paragraph from going very far. Let’s put it this way, the keywords sex, porn, free porn and porno pretty much blow any other keywords out of the water. The amount of exact match volume for these 4 terms alone is 22,820,000 searches a month. Individually they are
- [porn] 11,100,000
- [free porn] 7,480,000
- [sex] 2,740,000
- [porno] 1,500,000
Again, this is almost 23 million searches a month just for these 4 terms. That is almost the equivalent of every SINGLE person in:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- San Diego
Searching for porn at least once a month EVERY month. Over the course of a year this extrapolates to one search for almost every single person in the USA a year. You may not even want to see the maths when you include global searches.
Sex is obviously not bad. It’s more popular than ever.
When the internet was released to the world you can bet early adopters were those who roared in awe of the latest 16 bit graphics and floppy disks and today is no different. The amount of traffic to game related searches is far above and beyond any other industry (besides sex) commanding millions of searches across a wide range of terms. Some of the highest searched game terms are:
- [addicting games] 4,090,000
- [games] 3,350,000
- [cool maths games] 3,350,000
- [free online games] 1,830,000
- [dress up games] 1,000,000
- [primary games] 823,000
- [online games] 823,000
- [free games] 823,000
- [car games] 673,000
- [cooking games] 673,000
I could go on but you get the idea. Games are hot and odds are employers are spending billions of dollars a year paying employees who are whacking away at stickman games, strategy games or some type of online game at work.
More Common Topics
Of course, the internet is not just for games and entertainment. We also use the web to find information on anything from recipes to real estate.
Over 1,500,000 search for the keyword [mortgage calculator] every month but since the housing market has basically collapsed in many regions not many people are getting past the dream of owning a home.
Only 49,500 search for the term [mortgage] however there sure is interest in [foreclosure] and [short sale] with 110,000 and 90,500 exact matches respectively.
People love [coupons] and with over 1,000,000 exact match searches a month many seem to favour saving money over [Obama] (450,000) which is kind of sad but America is all about the dollar so does seem fitting.
You would also expect the land of obesity to have a lot of search volume for losing weight and there is no surprise there with 135,000 people searching for the exact match [how to lose weight fast] monthly however over 3x times prefer to do an [internet speed test] (450,000)
Any financial crisis also always brings a lot of volume to some of the sadder terms like [bankruptcy] with 90,500 monthly searches and legal professions such as defence attorneys and DUI lawyers often see their search volume rapidly increase.
Probably the most interesting however is the correlation between [marriage] and [divorce]. They says almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce and with a tie of 74,000 exact match searches for each term it’s hard to say who the real winner is. Either way you go there seems to be a good number of members for both teams.
Then there are holidays, products, sports, names and thousands of other categories. One could spend a whole day playing around with this tool but for small businesses it’s a key element to finding new customers online. What’s even more interesting is that these numbers only represent the search volume on Google and not all those wonderful sites Google partners with to showcase ads, nor does it represent Bing, Yahoo and all the other search competition (if you can call it that).
The key to successfully marketing online is to understand keywords and consumer behaviour. For many people it all starts with the GAKT so before you invest heavily in advertising online make sure to become familiar with the tools your competitors already use.
You can view the tool here – no account needed to view the first 100 results.