Last week we took a look at what some search engines were saying about the most popular queries of 2010. All the major search engines typically release a recap of the year's most popular keywords and search phrases, and Yahoo, Bing, & AOL did so last week. Google obviously enjoys being different, so they waited an extra week to announce theirs. They also have a fancy name for their list--Zeitgeist, which literally translates to "the spirit of the times."
The single coolest thing about Google's Zeitgeist is the interactive map-graph. It looks like this:
You can choose three of the five "Top Global Events," and the map adds 3D bar graphs representing the traffic around the world for that search event. And it's pretty awesome. But by far the coolest feature of this interactive map is the "video" timeline. Pushing the "play" button on the map will move through the 2010 timeline month-by-month, so you can watch how the search traffic around a particular topic ebbs and flows throughout the year. I would have published this post an hour ago if I hadn't been having so much fun comparing and contrasting the various global events.
They also have a graphic for the year's fastest-rising search topics, and it looks like this:
And if you click on "2010 In Review" just above the graphs, you'll see this neat little video:
I called it "neat," but it's actually quite extraordinary and a bit more moving than I expected.
They also break down the top searches by a variety of different genres like Entertainment, People, & News.
Perhaps most interesting--to me, at least--are the overall lists of the Top Ten Rising and Top Ten Falling searches for the year. It's here where we can start to get a feel for the topics, people, and items that are most fascinating to the Google-using public:
Top 10 Fastest Rising
- justin bieber
- nicki minaj
- katy perry
Top 10 Fastest Falling
- swine flu
- new moon
- susan boyle
- slumdog millionaire
- circuit city
- myspace layouts
- michael jackson
- national city bank
Now, it's important to understand the difference between the "fastest rising" keywords and the "most-searched" keywords. "Chatroulette" likely didn't have more total searches than "iPad," but its spike in search volume was sharper.
If you click on any single term or phrase in those lists on the Zeitgeist page will take you even further down the rabbit hole, showing you the rich data of the Google "Insights for Search" page for that word. Oh, and everything I just wrote in this article is for the Global view. You can filter the entire Zeitgeist experience by either a global view, or by individual country, and doing so produces and entirely new set of graphs, trending topics, and fastest-rising lists. Seriously... you could lose an entire afternoon in there, and I would encourage you to do just that.
For years Internet marketing professionals have been encouraging website owners to use their site analytics to learn about what the audience is doing--by tracking their behavior we can begin to see what they're most interested in, what we should do more or less of, and whether there are any problems in the user experience. Zeitgeist is like Google Analytics for the entire 2010 year of Google search... it's a utopia of demographic data, which can inform and influence your video marketing and SEO plans moving forward. If you don't pay attention to the climate of search, and build your keyword lists by guessing, you set yourself up for failure after failure. In this case, Google has basically just done several days worth of keyword research for you, and given it to you for free. My advice would be to take advantage of that.