Zeitgeist 2011: The Most Googled Terms of the Year and How to Use Them to Your Advantage

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Earlier this week, Google released Zeitgeist 2011, its report of the biggest search trends around the world, based on the billions of Google searches made in the last 12 months. The Zeitgeist is quite insightful (and entertaining) because it reveals which topics received the most attention from users, and it also gives us a glimpse of the collective consciousness of the globe.

What did people Google most this year? Here's the search giant's list of the fastest rising searches of 2011:


Google Zeitgeist 2011


1. Rebecca Black – When her single "Friday" was released, Rebecca Black became an overnight celebrity. But her video, which received over 167 million YouTube views didn't go viral because it was good. Quite the opposite, actually. "Friday" got an overwhelming amount of dislikes and was mocked to no end. Nonetheless, Black still had the last laugh as artists such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry expressed their support. In addition, her single was covered in Glee, and "Friday" became the theme song in one of Kohl's commercials.

2. Google+ – Considered as Facebook's nemesis, Google+ got a lot of attention from the World Wide Web when it was unveiled in June. People wanted to get in on the social network so much that it amassed over 10 million members in just three weeks.

3. Ryan Dunn – June 20 was a sad day for "Jackass" fans when the show lost one of its stars. Ryan Dunn passed away due to a car accident. He was 34 years old. The story spread even more when film critic Roger Ebert tweeted, "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive." Apparently, on the night of his death, Dunn tweeted a photo of himself drinking with his friends.

4. Casey Anthony – Accused of murdering her 2-year old daughter, Casey Anthony's trial has been a media spectacle for months. However, the peak of this issue happened when she was pronounced as "not guilty" by the jury. Tons of people turned to social media to express their distaste with the verdict. It's been said that Anthony soon became "the most hated woman in America."

5. Battlefield 3 – Never underestimate the power of gamers. Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter game by EA. It was much anticipated by countless individuals and went on to sell 5 million copies in its first week.

6. iPhone 5 – Rumors about the iPhone 5 have been circulating even before the iPhone 4 came out. Users were at the edge of their seats, and speculations about the phone's ground-braking features were all over the web. Much to the dismay of iPhone fans, when Apple finally unveiled the latest generation of the handset, it wasn't the iPhone 5 that greeted them, but the iPhone 4S instead.

7. Adele – This 22-year old English singer/songwriter took the world by storm with the release of her sophomore album "21". It sold over 208,000 copies in the UK in its first week, and hit number one in 24 countries. "21" also broke the UK record for most digital downloads.

8. 東京 電力 (TEPCO) – This is the name of the Tokyo Electric Power Company that owns the Fukushima power plant. When the massive earthquake in Japan damaged several nuclear reactors in the plant, the government called for the evacuation of thousands of residents living near the location.

9. Steve Jobs – When Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, the tech industry—along with the rest of the world mourned his death. Countless people, including Google co-founder, Larry Page and even President Barack Obama himself paid tribute to Jobs. In addition, his Stanford speech received 6.8 million views the day after his death.

10. iPad 2 – The iPad 2 is arguably the most anticipated tablet of 2011. The product was a huge hit, and according to Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer, they sold every iPad 2 that they could make in that quarter.

Now What?

If you're trying to build up your online presence, then The Zeitgeist shouldn't just be a mere list of interesting topics. Rather, it should set the standard for the types of content that you publish online.

Google's Zeitgeist represents the hottest trending topics on the Internet; these topics change everyday (even every hour) but do your best to monitor them. If you want to grab the attention of your audience, then structure your messages to whatever's trending.

Writing a blog post? Take a quick look at the trending topics on Twitter or Google+ and see if you can incorporate any of those topics into your content. Or let's say a natural disaster suddenly occurs; why not publish a status message or tweet about your company's sympathy towards those affected?

Keeping up with trending topics ensures that your brand stays relevant, not just to users, but to social media and search engines as well. Social networks keep lists of hot topics on the front page for easy access, and search engines like Google put a lot of weight on websites that produce timely content. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, "In November, Google announced it had tweaked its algorithms, again, to make sure that when searchers type in a query, they get the most up to date information. The new Refresh algorithm endeavors to make sure that information that's updated regularly is ranked high."

About the author
Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio
Francesca is the founder of Credible Copywriting and has written for several organizations, including Internet start-ups, advertising agencies, and small businesses, just to name a few. She has helped individuals and entities put their names and messages out there by producing quality works in the form of articles, web content, video scripts, and more. Touch base with her at: or visit her website at: - Read more stories from .
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