Unless something major happens in December to upset all stats (which can happen these days), I will embark on an end-of-year reflection on search trends in 2022, in a timelier fashion than I did for 2021.
Worldwide, according to the SEO specialists at SimilarWeb, searches for YouTube and Facebook led the rankings at 3 billion and 1.7 billion searches over the past 11 months, respectively. About 1% of these were the result of paid searches, or search results that were the result of a user clicking on a paid link at the top of the seach results. For the record, I am only considering non-paid seaches in my rankings.
“Translate” was in third place, leading to Google Translate. But this might need to be combined with the search term “google translate”, which is at #7; and “traductor”, which is at #10.
Search terms for four porn sites rank in the top 20 worldwide: pornhub (#4), xvideos (#11), xnxx (#15), and just “porn” (#20). Two of those search terms led to PornHub, who ranks fourth in the world for search terms. Other blogs I have noticed tried to not mention how porn ranks in searches, and even tries to bleep out who they are and where they lie on table screenshots. But I think people know about porn. It’s too late for that. 11 porn sites are in the top 100 searches worldwide. I am counting OnlyFans in the 11. The horses have all escaped, so there is no sense closing the barn door now.
More people care about PornHub than about the weather. Weather is the 5th most searched term in the world, while “amazon” is at #6, as the top retail search term. The top brick-and-mortar retail search term worldwide appears to be Ikea (#60). The next most popular brick-and-mortar retailer appears to be Home Depot (#86).
Google promotes itself quite a bit, since it suggests itself in 11 of the top 100 search terms wordwide. But that might not be entirely their fault. “Google” (#14) has been a Google search term more often than more often than most porn sites, Twitter (#16) , Netflix (#17), or NFL (#28), and certainly more often than the next-used search engine, Yahoo (#33). Bing is not mentioned in the top 100.
C appears to be the most-searched for programming language at the #46 spot; and searches for news sources trail that: “news” (#48), “BBC news” (#85), and “ukraine” (leads to CNN.com) (#92). “wordle” (#53) has been searched more often than “paypal” (#54), indicating the degree of popularity this game has earned over the 2022 year.
Necessity-based search terms appear to be popular. “calculator” (#49) appears to be more popular than “google docs” (#67), “reddit” (#78), and “discord” (#96). Discord is a social media/academic site popular with high school kids and undergrads in college.
People have been googling “speedtest” (#73) to test their internet speed, and this search term beat out searches for “bitcoin” (#75), “airbnb” (#76), and “spotify” (#89). It is no surpise that Bitcoin has plummeted in popularity, as curiosity is drying up regarding its presumed value and novelty. The price of Bitcoin began the year at around $60,000 per coin, and has entered December losing 2/3 of that value.
“Trending” seaches or “trending” anything is a misleading word. There is a misguided tendency to conflate “trending” with “popular”. When something is said to be “trending” in the online world, it means that the number of searches for that “thing” has increased by so many per cent relative to some time in the past, such as last year. For example, if I wrote something that got 1 hit last month, and this month it got 2 hits, my article is “trending”, since it is getting 100% more hits from last month to this month. It is a stat that hides the absolute number of hits by just reporting relative increases or decreases, and might be used to exaggerate the popularity of that search term in discussions.
I will skip foreign-language searches, which are present everywhere under this umbrella.
Not a single “trending” seach term is present in the above-mentioned top 100 in the year 2022. The top trend was “Amazon Prime Day”, a sale that was on a little while ago, which hadn’t existed before. From the initial advertising traffic to Amazon.com increased 67-fold by the end of the sale. It was the #1 trending search term on Google in 2022.
At #3 “amtrak” has trended, possibly in connection with a looming labour dispute recently. It appears apparent that other trends are often in connection with fleeting events and entertainment news, such as “wimbledon” (#10), “johnny depp verdict” (#16), “the summer i turned pretty” (#6) (the name of an online video series), “bjork” (#14) who returned to Iceland this year after living in the US for some decades.
Lots of people use eset antivirus, since license renewals are trending at #32 and #35, with a 17 to 19-fold increase over the year. It kind of stands out among the “trendy” stuff, and wasn’t intended as a plug.
Search Trends in the USA
I will skip the top 100 terms in the USA, since there are many similarities to the top worldwide search terms.
But something about the “trending” list for United States offered by SimilarWeb gave me pause. The #2 search term trending in 2022, up 129-fold since supposedly last year, is “what is a woman”.
It is interesting that “us map”, trending at #9 worldwide, is trending at #6 in America. “Disney Plus” (#10) trended more than “oil prices” (#17), “roe v wade overturn” (#33), “student loan forgiveness 2022” (#57), and “disinformation” (#87).
The American trends show their current fixation on celebrity and scandal. “duchess kate” (#19), “beyonce” (#22), “sid vicious” (#24), “anna nicole smith” (#26) are just a few. At least 20 of the top 100 trending searches had celebrity names. Johnny Depp appears three times in search trends, but all below #90.
“amazon prime day” didn’t trend nearly as well as it did globally, being at #70. It trended less than searches for “brett kavanaugh” (#65) and “bill nye” (#46). It was slightly less trendy than searches for “republicans” (#69). Judging by search trends, there is not as much curiosity for republicans or their causes as the media would have us believe.