Fun with recurring search patterns in Google

What we search for online reveals our interests and what is going on in our lives at the time. In other words, Google knows what all of us are up to. 😉

Google has some nice tools that enable you to examine overall search trends. Although we here at Pingdom usually look at trends to see if they are increasing or decreasing over time, many search terms also have recurring patterns that can be quite fun to study, with interest flaring up on a seasonal or otherwise periodic basis.

These patterns are what we’ll be looking at in this article.

Seasonal search trends

Seasonal trends are repeated every year, and when you look at a longer time period they usually become very clear. Here are graphs showing worldwide searches from 2004 until today for several interesting search terms.

Gifts

Christmas is the clear, dominant spike every year, but also note the peaks around Valentine’s Day and what we think must be Mother’s/Father’s Day.

Snowboarding

Snowboarding and winter clearly go hand in hand…

Vacation

Note how January and June-July are the peaks every single year, and also the bleak slump after July until the following January…

Flu

Slight peaks of varying intensity (probably depending on how severe the flu was each year) can be seen yearly during the traditional flu season. Then of course there is the disruption of the pattern this year when we see the effect of the Swine Flu pandemic panic.

Cold

Isn’t the climate supposed to be getting warmer? Winter time sees an increase in “cold” searches every year, but look at the increase this last winter. Did the world have an unusually cold winter this year?

American Idol

Gee, wonder if American Idol airs during the first half of the year?

Weekly search trends

In many cases our search behavior varies depending on which weekday it is, especially workdays versus days off (our beloved weekends). Search patterns make this exceptionally clear. Here are graphs showing worldwide searches for the last 30 days.

Love

Are we looking for love on the weekends? Sure seems that way (the peaks are Saturday-Sunday). 🙂

Movies

Saturday is the big day for movies, followed closely by Sunday.

TV

Sunday is apparently the main TV day of the week judging by the search patterns.

One-off spikes

As a contrast to the recurring patterns above, we can of course also see drastic short-term changes in search behavior when something big happens. We have included a very recent example of this:

Michael Jackson

What better example than Michael Jackson? Silence, silence, silence, and then came the word that Michael Jackson had passed away. The Web exploded…

And last off, how about a spike combined with a recurring trend?

Transformers

Note the spike of interest in Transformers (the new blockbuster movie) but also that the curve jumps up every weekend, when people’s movie-going goes up (as you could see in the “movies” curve a bit earlier in this article). The movie’s premiere weekend was the first of the two biggest humps.

Other cool search terms and patterns?

Do you know of other interesting search patterns, either recurring ones or ones showing strange trends? Please share them with us in the comments.

(If you’ve never done so before, we encourage you to play around with Google Insights for Search, which is where we got the graphs for this article.)

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and not published in real time. All comments that are not related to the post will be removed.