Once again Facebook, YouTube and Google have topped Google’s worldwide most searched terms, as internet users increasingly use Google as a navigation tool, rather than a search engine.
Six of the top 10 search terms on Google were names of well-known websites including Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo.
The other terms rounding out the top 10 were free, you, mail and fb (shortened form of Facebook).
StewArt Media founder Jim Stewart told SmartCompany there were “no real surprises” in this year’s list of most searched terms.
“Because the way the browsers have changed, people don’t bother typing in web addresses. Instead, they use Google as a navigation tool rather than a search engine,” he says.
“Particularly on mobile now as well, people don’t want to be typing in .com. But it does seem a bit strange that people are googling Google, although that happens because they’ll open an empty tab and type it into URL bar.”
In Australia, the top 10 searched terms were: Facebook, Google, YouTube, weather, Hotmail, eBay, news, Gumtree, Gmail and Yahoo.
As well as search terms, Google has ranked the world’s most popular global trending searches of 2013 (searches which saw the biggest increase in queries in the last 12 months).
The top 10 were dominated by celebrities, with deaths and births causing surges in search activity.
Globally, Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker and the iPhone 5s saw the largest growth in searches.
Rounding out Google’s top trending searches were Cory Monteith, Harlem Shake, Boston Marathon, royal baby, Samsung Galaxy s4, PlayStation 4 and North Korea.
In Australia, the deaths of Cory Monteith and Paul Walker pushed these two celebrities into the top spots, while other additions to the list include the RFS (Rural Fire Service), AEC (Australian Electoral Commission), The Block, My Kitchen Rules and House Rules.
Stewart says for businesses to rank well on Google, they need to make sure their brand ranks.
“If you don’t rank your brand and any products associated with your business, you have a problem. You need to ensure you mention anything on your website which will be top of mind for people thinking about your brand,” he says.
“Like a CEO for example, if you want your site to rank number one when people search for your CEO’s name, make sure you have a page dedicated to the CEO including all their details.”
Stewart says, ultimately, businesses need to ensure they have a website which is “clean, performing well and error free”.
“The mistake we see most clients make is they don’t understand the health of their website. They’re not using Google webmaster tools to check the health,” he says.
“Also what we’ve learnt this year is more people are using questions in search because of things like Siri and voice recognition software on people’s mobiles. So you need to make sure you’re answering people’s questions when you publish content.”
Stewart says users look for the easiest way to find what they’re looking for on the Internet.
“Your branding would have to be very strong for someone to just type in a web address… There’s been a big push for top level domain names, but I don’t know how valuable that is yet,” he says.
“It will be interesting to see how Google adjusts its algorithm for it (domain names), otherwise it’s just easy for businesses with premium domain names to gain. They turned down the volume on exact match domains last year because it had too much weight.”
Just as Google has released its most highly trended and searched terms for 2013, Facebook has released its highest trending topics.
Globally, the top 10 most talked about topics were: Pope Francis, elections, the royal baby, typhoon, Margaret Thatcher, Harlem Shake, Miley Cyrus, the Boston Marathon, the Tour de France and Nelson Mandela.
Within Australia, the list differed significantly with vote, Princess Kate, Cricket, Kevin Rudd and Grand Final making up the top five topics.
Around the world the three most checked-in places on the social network were Disneyland, Siam Paragon and Times Square NYC, while in Australia most Facebookers checked in at the MCG, Crown Melbourne and Rod Laver Arena.