Every year news websites run stories on the most Googled words and phrases of the past 12 months. More often than not, something amusing creeps in, with the oh-so-adorable Baby Yoda making the cut in 2019 alongside the likes of the iPhone 11.
In an entirely unsurprising (and unamusing) development, 2020’s top spot has gone to none other than Coronavirus, but despite COVID-19’s hold on all aspects of life, the past 12 months have made for an interesting year in search.
As the clock ticks over into 2021, join us as we review Google’s 2020 year in search.
UK Search Trends in 2020
To get straight down to business, the UK’s top trending search queries in the last twelve months were:
- US election
- Caroline Flack
- Coronavirus symptoms
- Coronavirus update
- Premier League
- Boris Johnson
- Eat Out to Help Out
- Kobe Bryant
- Kim Jong Un
Now, aside from a few outliers, these look just as you might have expected – but let’s break the year down a bit further.
It will come as no shock that ‘Coronavirus’ was Google’s most-searched term during 2020. Topping off this year’s trends in the UK and globally, pandemic fears have become a major talking point – so much so that Google included a stand-alone ‘Coronavirus’ category in their search trends report.
In addition to searches for ‘Coronavirus’ and ‘COVID-19’, UK web users found a whole host of online explanations and tutorials to help guide them through the lockdown. Searches for ‘How to make a face mask?’ and ‘How to make hand sanitizer?’ stole the show in the ‘How to’ category – epitomising the make do and mend spirit that so many people got on board with.
Given that 2019’s ‘How to’ leaders were ‘How to watch the Champions League Final?’ and ‘How to watch Game of Thrones?’, it’s not hard to see that our collective priorities have shifted over the past 12 months.
Home sweet home
As the internet watched on whilst the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, many of us were avidly searching the internet for things to do at home.
Some of 2020s most popular search trends were for ‘DIY click and collect’, ‘How to make bread?’ and even ‘How to cut your own hair?’ (and you need only to browse through social media to see how that last one turned out for some people…).
It seems we all managed to stay well-fed and watered during the lockdowns too – at least if search data is anything to go by. Some of the UK’s top search queries came under ‘Delivery’, with ‘Afternoon tea delivery’ and ‘Wine delivery’ taking the lead.
Whilst we might have found things to occupy our time, the inclusion of ‘When will lockdown end?’ in the top-ranking shows just how ready many of us are to get back to normal.
Following a mass exodus from offices and other communal meeting places, 2020 has been a bumper year for online conferencing and social media.
On a global level, searches for ‘Zoom’ took the overall number four spot based on volume alone – with plenty of people taking the opportunity to get back outside and into social environments when the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme came into effect.
Making a stand
Stepping away from the international health crisis, 2020 was also a year of major activism. With so many causes to get behind, and people reassessing their priorities, this year saw the public searching for ways to get involved and to make a difference.
The global rankings alone show that some of the top searches in the ‘How to’ category included ‘How to help Australia fire’, ‘How to help Black Lives Matter’, and ‘How to help Beirut’. It seems that charity starts with a Google search.
Politics also took centre stage, with searches for ‘US election’ and ‘Election results’ ranking highly on both sides of the Atlantic.
Despite all of this social activism, it seems that not everybody has kept up with political trends – with ‘What does woke mean?’ being asked on a grand scale.
As people ran out of practical and productive things to do whilst staying at home, entertainment took over. The UK and global searches for ‘Virtual Museum’ rose this year, as people couldn’t get out and about to see the real thing. In a similar way, virtual concerts such as the ‘Together at Home Concert’ and the ‘Travis Scott Fortnite Concert’ drove up search traffic considerably.
2020 has also been the year of cult media, as the bizarre but must-watch series ‘Tiger King’ took to our screens. Google saw plenty of searches for the programme, but also dealt with a significant number of people who just wanted to ask ‘Who is Carole Baskin?’.
In ruder (but also quite catchy) news, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion reached Google hall of fame status as searches for ‘WAP lyrics’ and ‘What does WAP mean?’ dominated search trends. It even seems that some people found out the hard way that the song doesn’t refer to British supermarket brand Waitrose and Partners!
SEO Services for 2021
2020 might have come and gone, but 2021 brings with it the promise of a fresh start for businesses and individuals alike.
Maybe you want to attract more visitors to your website, or perhaps you need to improve your bottom line to make up for a dip in sales over the past 12 months. Either way, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice you need to get involved with if you want your business to perform better online.
At Horizon Digital Agency, our team of SEO specialists are ready and waiting to help you to level up and to rank higher on Google. To find out more, visit our SEO services page.
And who knows – you might even make it into Google’s top search results for 2021!
Remember: even if the channel you’re considering is all the rage right now, it might not fit your brand. Always make informed decisions that directly relate to your company. Otherwise, your message won’t be delivered to its intended audience and you’ll have wasted time, effort and money.