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Google reveals top trends of 2013

John Murray

Google has published a list of the search terms that ‘trended’ (showed the biggest increase in search volume compared to the year before) in the UK in 2013, with  late Paul Walker topping the charts.

The Californian actor died in a car accident at the age of 40 just over a month ago, leading to a surge in Brits heading online to find out more about the Fast and the Furious star. It was enough to see Walker edge ahead of the iPhone 5s, which was released last September, in the Google search trend stakes. The term ‘Royal Baby’ came in third.

Overall, it seems that UK Googlers hold a morbid fascination, with four of the top five trending people (Walker, Cory Monteith, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela) having passed away last year. The late Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed also came in ninth, while much talked-about celebs like Tom Daley and Nigella Lawson also made the top 10.

Although Miley Cyrus is nowhere to be seen in the 10 biggest movers, the dance she brought to mainstream attention certainly caused an online shake-up. Among terms starting with “what is…”, the biggest trend was “what is twerking”, followed by people trying to find out their own IP address. For “how to…” results, 2013’s biggest trend was UK folk looking for advice on making pancakes.

Elsewhere, ‘Harlem Shake’ edged out ‘Gangnam Style’ in the song stakes, Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale was the trendiest sports issue and Rome was the hottest holiday destination. These trends can even be seen as part of a photographic collage with Google’s Zeitgeist 2013 tool.

Before the introduction of algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, website owners would often succeed in tricking Google through techniques like including popular but irrelevant terms in their meta tags, as well as keyword stuffing. With Google now being more intuitive, webmasters must be must more candid with their visitors and engage them with relevant, good quality content to both keep human visitors returning and search engines ranking them highly.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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