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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What are the most popular searches on any given search engine? Many search engines and sites keep track of the popular searches on the Web, either in real time or in archived lists that you can use to track trends.

Researching what people are searching for on the Web is a great way to keep up with popular buzz, figure out what people are looking for and give it to them on your blog or website, or heck - it's a fun way to pass the time. Here are just a few of the sites that track what people are searching for:

  • Google Zeitgeist: Google reveals what the top searches are by week, month, and year. Also includes a look at what the most popular searches are in other countries than the United States.
  • Ask Top Searches: Ask.com breaks the searches down by week ending and advancing, top news searches, and if there's a holiday anywhere near, the top searches for that particular week.
  • Yahoo! Buzz Index: Yahoo goes way further than the other two sites already mentioned in its in-depth coverage of the most popular searches, including a "Today's Top Movers" category with clickable links. In addition, top searches are broken down into actors, movies, sports, etc., with constantly updated short articles to the right of the top search chart. This is where I go to get in-depth information fast on the most popular searches in relatively real-time.
  • AOL Hot Searches: Find out what people are searching for in real-time at AOL Search. These are updated every 12 seconds! Also includes links to AOL Buzzline, Top Searches of the year, TV's Top Five, and more.
  • MSN Search Insider: MSN Search throws its' hat into the most popular searches ring; including a list of the Top 200, Duels (you can vote for your favorite to "win" the search race. Cheesy, but kind of fun), and various top media searches.
  • Lycos Top 50: Lycos has been around forever (at least in Internet years) and has a pretty good Most Popular Searches site. Includes Lycos Top 50, Top 50 blog, Top 50 Archives (at this writing all the way back to 1999), and a focus on whatever holiday day or week might be around the corner.
  • MetaCrawler: The most popular searches on this search engine are visible in real time, refreshed every 15 seconds. In addition, you can cruise along with MetaCrawler's trenchcoat wearing mascot and "get a no-holds-barred (unfiltered) look at the search queries of MetaCrawler users." It's interesting to see what real people are searching for, and might give you some interesting ideas to spice up your search engine optimization efforts.
  • Nielsen/Net-Rati ngs: Not so much a "top searches" as a popular searches statistics site. Click on "country", and then click on "web usage data." You'll see interesting little tidbits such as "sessions/visits per person", "duration of a Web page viewed", and "PC time per person." No, it's not as thrilling as seeing which reality TV show is winning the top search race, but it's educational and therefore good for you.
  • ZDNet UK Most Popular Searches: Find out what other techno-geeks are searching for. Clickable links go to both related articles on ZDNet (and they're very extensive, a nice feature) or to Web results.
  • Bloglines.com: Read the most popular blogs of the day at Bloglines; you'll be able to see what top searches and Web buzzwords are travelling through the blogosphere here.
  • Dogpile Search Spy: Family-friendly and unedited versions available.
  • Technorati: View the front page of Technorati to get a quick glimpse at what people are talking about in real-time; updated very frequently.

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