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What keywords on Google are searched the most?

We know branded terms like “Gmail” and “Craigslist” are frequently searched, and are a common point of reference for users. But what about non-brands? What about true keywords that, undoubtedly, are the aim of many traffic-thirsty SEOs across the world?

This was the question we wondered earlier this month. With help from the team at the great keyword research tool SEMRush, we were able to get it answered.

The below visualization is a list of the 100 most searched for non-branded keywords on Google, in the United States region.

The list was determined by manually sifting through the most popular search terms overall to find keywords that were not associated with a brand. In addition, we also removed porn-related keywords.

For clarity, the top five most searched overall are “Gmail”, “Craigslist”, “Amazon”, “Yahoo”, and.. “Porn”. None of those are included on this list – because a giant list of navigational brand searches and porn isn’t interesting.


The list has several interesting insights that I did not see coming before receiving the data. First, it’s interesting to see Google Instant going to work – and accurately, with many searches of single-letter terms. Who knew “G” would be the most popular?

In addition, there were also some sad takeaways from the list. The most common reoccurrence throughout the group is several uses of “LOCATION lottery”, which means some of the highest demand searches are with search terms where Americans will pointlessly waste their money hoping to get rich.

Apparently Google’s easter eggs are also in high demand, as [do a barrel roll] manages to pull large volume. Thousands of kids desperately hope their school is closed, and search for the answer through [school closings]. Our internet is bad, and we verify it through an [internet speed test]. Most perplexing of all, many people wonder [what time is it].

How Will These Terms Change?

It’s interesting to think about how these search numbers may change over time. People will always wonder the weather, but as Google Fiber hits more cities, will internet speed tests eventually have less demand?

Will terms like [videos] eventually dissipate in place of synonyms like YouTube, if they aren’t already? Oh, and how in the world does YouTube not rank for that keyword?

The landscape may change, but it’s a strong certainty these numbers will only continue to climb. With that, strong SEO will continue be of high importance.

What keywords on the list stood out as particularly interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Thanks for compiling this Siege + SEMRush! This is fascinating.

    The most interesting takeaway for me is the benchmark & distribution curve of the volume. I think it’s really useful to understand what “a lot of search volume” means. There are 27 keywords in the top 100 with less than a million searches. That’s good to know.

    The bit of data that I’d really be interested in is what the “re-search” rate is for some of these keywords. For example – I’m sure that “inspirational quotes” leads to revised, longer-tail searches (note that it might be a revised version of “quotes” higher up on the list.

    I am happy to see how high up “cool math games” appears.

    • Thanks for the comment Nate! Some good points. I’m sure things like weather are the same users over and over again. While some others on this list don’t have that. IMO it seems like repeat searches would be the most valuable because you’d have the most chances to grab those users as long-term visitors.

      Actually in regards to “cool math games”, it unfortunatey turns out that is actually a brand, which is why that was so high. We removed from the list.

  • Great list….

  • Self Digi
  • soniya Philip

    great post.

  • ceevee

    That’s Funny I don’t have to google G-mail I have the icon on my phone!!

  • Very interesting. Is it worth trying to rank for any of these?

  • tomsawyer

    Good share.

  • Jordan Marcus Allen Snell

    Well now that explains YouTube red, Google doesn’t want you turning their content into mp3s they wanted to make sure they give a paid option to stream it directly (even offline) combined with their dedicated play music. Smart.

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    Great post. I’m looking to expand my site! This helps!

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  • George Coem

    This data varies from one SEO research tool to another. SpyFu shows different results and SERPstat suggests very similar figures.

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  • Redit

    65? You can take that right off your list! Given that is disqualified then what is 101, that is your new 100.
    It looks like you may be telling 100 truths to get in 1 lie!

  • wow…I use to rank #6 in google for most ranked keyword #41 with an affiliate product in Clickbank. Very profitable while it lasted to say the least.

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