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Annual Zeitgeist Time: Top Search Result Keywords by Elimination

I love the year of the end reviews by search engines on the top keyword searches of the year. This year, Google Blog’s article, “How We Came Up With Year End Zeitgeist”, takes us inside the minds of Google and searchers and how their top search results rose to their top keywords search terms.

…This is why when we come up with the lists of top searches on for 2006, we do not simply retrieve the most frequently-searched terms for the period — the truth is, they don’t change that much from year to year. This list would be predominated by very generic searches, such as “ebay”, “dictionary”, “yellow pages,” “games,” “maps” — and of course, a number of X-rated keywords. These are constants, and although unquestionably popular, we don’t think they actually define the Zeitgeist.

Instead, we looked for those searches that were very popular in 2006 but were not as popular in 2005 — the explosive queries, the topics that everyone obsessed over. To come up with this list, we looked at several thousand of 2006’s most popular searches, and ranked them based on how much their popularity increased compared to 2005. (“Bebo”, for example, had very little traffic in 2005.) We also gave a bit higher score to searches with more traffic. Similarly, our “what is” and “who is” lists are not necessarily the absolute most frequent searches, but rather those that best represent the passing year.

As you review your own keyword top searches, I think their point is good to keep in mind.

I’ve explained before about the top searched phrase on this blog is “horse sex”. Truthfully, I have no fascination with animal sex, but I am fascinated how one post with that phrase generates consistent search engine traffic sometimes more than 4 times as high as the next highest searched keyword.

So would “horse sex” be on my list of top keyword searches for this blog? No. While it is the top keyword search term, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the content of my blog. So I would eliminate off my top keyword search list.

Other words I would also eliminate that appear in my top incoming search terms would be sexy, free, and photos. These are just too generic.

The process of eliminating words from your top keyword search list is as important as determining your top keywords search results and monitoring them.

How do you determine your own zeitgeist? Are there words you eliminate to get a more specific list?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

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