Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 12th January 2012

So as 2011 came to a close, Google did its annual reveal of the top search terms in the UK over the year. Several media outlets are branding it the Google ‘zeitgeist’ – aka a reflection of UK society – which could be flattering or worrying depending on your perspective. Making the cut are some old favourites, several predictable new entries and a few interesting surprises.

 Here are the PHA Digital  highlights from the report on the most Googled phrases from 2011:
  • The top UK searches overall are fairly predictable with Facebook, YouTube and Hotmail filling the top three spaces respectively. It never ceases to amuse me that ‘Google’ is the 5th most Googled term of this year. It seems unlikely that all of these are purposefully checking out the day’s Google Doodle – which means that there are a fair few UK internet users who have genuinely Googled Google – you know who you are! In actuality, this is quite revealing of the way we use and view Google. When you think about this it becomes clear why ‘to Google’ was officially added as a verb to the OED in 2006.
  • The usual suspects featured in the top 10 searched celebrities with Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and Emma Watson being placed first, second and third respectively. Interestingly, Ricky Gervais was the only male celebrity to make the top ten.
  • The Google News top ten fairly accurately reflects the 2011 news agenda, with three premiership football teams, Kate Middleton and Bieber all featuring. The iPhone 5 (which doesn’t actually exist) is the 6th most searched term by British people – a testament to the PR pulling power of Apple.
  • New York, Las Vegas and Disneyland Paris are our most lusted after holiday destinations. No huge surprises there. The listing that raised the most eyebrows was undoubtedly the second most asked question being ‘What is scampi?’. Clearly, we can deduce from this information that we have spent too much time enjoying exotic holidays and not enough time at the British seaside.
In terms of digital PR and SEO, the Google Zeitgeist is a bountiful source of campaign ideas. PHA Digital are already throwing around ideas for how we can use this new information to benefit our clients!