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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 Ahrefs, 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.

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 single letter?

In addition, recent trends make 2018’s list slightly different than the first time we created this post. Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Bitcoin are notable new inclusions in the most searched terms, in addition to North Korea.

Last year, there were many lottery-specific terms. This year, “powerball” and “powerball winning numbers” do find themselves on the list, but are the only lottery-specific references. Perhaps people are making better financial decisions in 2018 than they did in 2017, although having Powerball in the top 10 is still a slightly concerning thing.

Most surprisingly to me, \ finds itself at the 60th position. I can’t quite figure out why that’d be there, perhaps as an accident after deleting the first version of a first query.

How Will These Terms Change?

Each year, search behavior changes as trends emerge and new brands come out to replace generic terms. Companies like AirBnB and YouTube have lowered searches for “vacation rentals” and “videos”, respectively. In past years, there were many “lottery” specific terms. This year, Powerball seems to have replaced them.

Of course, political trends will always carry great weight and impact who we search for. Surely, the news cycle involving Donald Trump has greatly impacted this top 100 and may continue that way until he is out of office.

The top 100 are a great indicator of the state of U.S. consumer behavior, and 2019 will surely be the same. Stay tuned for next year’s version of this and thanks again to Ahrefs for partnering with us in building this infographic.

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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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