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2012's Top Search Terms (by Category) and Top Websites

by Lenna Garibian  |  
January 3, 2013

For the fourth consecutive year, "facebook" was the most popular search term, accounting for 4.13% of all searches conducted in the US in 2012, up 33% from 2011 levels, according to a report from Experian Marketing Services, which analyzed the top 1,000 search terms for 2012.

Four variations of the term "facebook" were among the top 10 search terms during the year, accounting for 5.62% of US searches overall, up 27% year over year (YOY). The term "youtube" maintained its No. 2 spot in 2012, while "craigslist" moved up one spot to take the No. 3 spot. The search term "amazon" moved into the top 10 for the first time in 2012:

Below, additional findings from Experian Hitwise.

The 50 most popular search terms accounted for roughly 12% of all Internet searches in 2012, up 30% YOY.

Among other findings related to the top 50 search terms:

  • Search terms related to social networking sites dominated the results, accounting for 6.03% of the top 50 searches, up 44% YOY.
  • Common search terms for Facebook (e.g., "facebook" and "") accounted for combined 5.84% of all searches among the top 50 terms, an increase of 27% YOY.
  • YouTube terms accounted for 1.67% of total searches, up 23% YOY.
  • Google terms (including YouTube) accounted for 1.91% of total searches, up 20% YOY.
  • Yahoo terms accounted for 0.79%, up 34% YOY.

"Navigational searches continue to dominate the top search results as users continue to visit their favorite sites via search engines instead of directly entering a web address into their browsers URL bar," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

"Single-word searches grew 16% in 2012 as a result of continued reliance on search engine's suggested results. Other top 2012 searches reflected the ongoing infatuation with celebrities online."

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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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