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Facebook was the most popular search term and the most popular website in the US in 2011, according to an Experian Hitwise analysis of the top 1,000 search terms for 2011.

In the search-term category, Facebook took top honors for the third consecutive year, accounting for 3.10% of all searches conducted in the US, up 46% from 2010.

Below, other findings from Experian Hitwise. 

Among key findings related to the top 10 most-searched terms of 2011: 

  • Four variations of the term "facebook" were among the top 10 terms during the year, accounting for 4.42% of searches overall, up 24% from 2010.
  • "Youtube" moved up to the No. 2 spot in 2011, from No. 3 in the previous year. 
  • "Facebook login" was the third most-searched term, followed by "craigslist" and "facebook.com." 
  • "Facebook.com" moved up one spot in 2011 to rank among the top five search terms. 

Social networking-related terms dominated the results in 2011, accounting for 4.18% of the top 50 searches, up 12% year over year (YOY). When combined, common search terms for Facebook (e.g., facebook and facebook.com) accounted for 3.48% of all searches in the US among the top 50 terms, up 33% YOY. 

YouTube terms accounted for 1.36% of search result during the year, up 21% YOY, while Google terms (including YouTube) accounted for 1.59% (up 27%) and Yahoo terms accounted for 0.59% (up 15%).

New terms that entered the top 50 search terms for 2011 were: Addicting games, amazon.com, cnn, chase online, face, facebook sign up, hotmail, lowes, pandora, twitter, and you.

Top Websites

Facebook was the most-visited website for the second consecutive year, accounting for 10.29% of all US visits from January to November, up 15% YOY. Google was second with 7.70% of visits (up 7% YOY) followed by YouTube with 3.17%, Yahoo Mail with 2.95%, and Yahoo with 2.47%.


The combination of Google properties accounted for 11.98% of all US visits, up 22% YOY. Facebook properties accounted for 8.93%, and Yahoo properties accounted for 6.81%.

In total, the top 10 websites accounted for 32% of all US visits between January and November, roughly the same proportion recorded in 2010.

The fastest-moving search terms based on absolute change in 2011 were: Hurricane irene, bin laden wives, osama bin laden dead, les paul, nick ashford dies, apophis asteroid, sheen dumped, osama bin laden dead, hurricane irene path, and amber cole.

Top Searches Across Key Categories

In 2011, Justin Bieber was the top-searched public figure and Kim Kardashian was the top-searched personality.

Below, top searches across various categories:

Public Figures

  1. Justin Bieber 
  2. Casey Anthony 
  3. Kim Kardashian 
  4. Nicki Minaj 
  5. Selena Gomez 
  6. Charlie Sheen 

Personalities (Celebrities and Stars)

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Glenn Beck
  3. Rush Limbaugh
  4. Robert Pattinson
  5. Khloe Kardashian 

Fastest-Moving Movie Titles

  1. Star Wars
  2. Transformers 3
  3. (Twilight) Breaking Dawn
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  5. Fast Five 

Music (Artists and Bands)

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Justin Beiber
  3. Beyonce
  4. Taylor Swift
  5. Chris Brown 

Branded Destinations

  1. Disney World
  2. Disneyland
  3. Great Wolf Lodge
  4. Walt Disney World
  5. Universal Studios Orlando 

TV Shows

  1. American Idol
  2. Young and the Restless
  3. Dora the Explorer
  4. Dancing with the Stars
  5. Days of our Lives 

About the report: Data are based on the top 500 unfiltered US search terms and US market share of visits for January to November 2011, excluding mobile searches or mobile traffic.

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