2011 Yahoo! In Review: Top US Searches In 30 Categories

Now celebrating a decade of recapping annual search trends, earlier today, Yahoo! released the 2011 list of most popular searches in the US in 30 different categories, topping last year’s extensive list.

This year marks the first full year Yahoo! used has used the Bing search engine to primarily power Yahoo! search results, with Americans conducting nearly 3 billion searches a month on Yahoo.com.

While every year, it seems these lists are mostly littered with celebrity gossip, it’s important to look at the totality of these lists for the overall trends in how online users use search to consume media and seek ouk specific information as it relates to major news events (natural disasters, political uprisings) and needing answers to life’s everyday problems, such as what to make for dinner or how to save money on groceries.

How Yahoo! gathers, analyzes and classifies this information from billions of queries is covered well (albeit in simple terms) in the methodology statement, which simplifies the process:

What’s the difference between Top 10 Searches and Top News Stories? Searches are discrete keywords — terms users are actively searching for. Top News Stories include directly related concepts, such as “Japan earthquake,” “Japan tsunami” and “Fukushima radiation.”

Additionally, Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst at Yahoo! responsible for putting together the annual special feature, noted in that same piece:

Do people really love Kim Kardashian and the Jennifers that much? Yes and no. Search measures curiosity and interest, not popularity. As we’ve said in the past, a search for information is neutral. It may be motivated by curiosity, fear, lust, anger, boredom, love, or any number of other triggers. But combine those billion (or so) individual motivations to search, and you can build a sketch portrait of a culture in motion.

For example, in a reporter call to share the year in review data, Chan also called Kim Kardashian a polarizing figure after the divorce news came out, and noted that “boycott” searches for Kim K also played a role in her overall search popularity.

Also important to note in the methodology is that “Navigational” searches are not counted, since so many users continue to use the address/search bar to look for ‘search engines’ such as Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

When asked about whether social media sharing has taken away from search activity, Chan said it’s a complementary function, and that might be best supported by a recent report of Facebook’s most shared stories 2011, which noted 12 of the top 40 most shared stories originated from Yahoo! News.

For the second year in a row, Yahoo! has also done year in review roundups for 16 countries around the globe, linked at the end of the lists below.

Comebacks & Rising Stars

Notable in ths year’s overall lists are several re-emerging stars from the past, most notably, Jennifer Lopez, who hadn’t graced the top Yahoo! searches for most of the last decade.

JLO’s rise can be attributed mostly to American Idol’s rebirth, as the reality show also saw a resurgence in popularity after a signficant retooling of the judges, which included Ms. Lopez. Unfortunately, her name also has sustained popularity in search when her split with husband Marc Anthony was made public.

Entering back into the overall list at #8, Jennifer Aniston had a surprising resurgence as well, with a couple of new movies this year and a being spotted in the tabloids with a new beau as well.

This year marked the first year in nearly a decade where Britney Spears didn’t make the overall top 10.

2011′s Top Overall Searches On Yahoo!

  1. iPhone
  2. Casey Anthony
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Katy Perry
  5. Jennifer Lopez
  6. Lindsay Lohan
  7. American Idol
  8. Jennifer Aniston
  9. Japan Earthquake
  10. Osama bin Laden

Top Searches On Yahoo! Mobile 2011

  1. iPhone 5
  2. Powerball
  3. MLB
  4. Scrabble cheat
  5. Casey Anthony
  6. Hurricane Irene 2011
  7. Kim Kardashian
  8. Translator
  9. Amy Winehouse
  10. May 21, 2011 Rapture

Top Searched News Stories In 2011

  1. Casey Anthony Trial
  2. Japan Earthquake
  3. Royal Wedding
  4. Osama bin Laden
  5. Unemployment
  6. Arizona Shooting
  7. Libya/Death of Moammar Gaddafi
  8. Death of Amy Winehouse
  9. Arab Spring
  10. Occupy Wall Street (Occupy Movement)

Top Financial Term Searches In 2011 On Yahoo!

  1. Dow Jones Index
  2. Gold Prices
  3. FAFSA
  4. Gas Prices
  5. Oil Prices
  6. Coupons
  7. Silver Prices
  8. Sallie Mae
  9. Unemployment
  10. Mortgage Rates

Top Searched Questions

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to lose weight
  4. How to get a passport
  5. What time is it
  6. How to make money
  7. What is love
  8. What does SMH mean
  9. How many ounces in a pound
  10. What does my name mean

Top Gadgets/Tech Toys Searches

  1. iPhone
  2. Blackberry
  3. Xbox
  4. PlayStation 3
  5. Wii
  6. iPod
  7. Android
  8. iPad
  9. Kindle
  10. Playbook (Blackberry)

Top Sports Team Searches

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Texas Rangers
  6. St. Louis Cardinals
  7. Detroit Tigers
  8. Chicago Bears
  9. Manchester United
  10. Los Angeles Lakers

Top Athlete Searches

  1. Danica Patrick
  2. Tiger Woods
  3. Manny Pacquiao
  4. Maria Sharapova
  5. Serena Williams
  6. Kris Humphries
  7. Hope Solo
  8. Kobe Bryant
  9. Lamar Odom
  10. Caroline Wozniacki

Top Searched “Obsessions” On Yahoo! In 2011

  1. Charlie Sheen
  2. The Rapture
  3. “Friday” (Rebecca Black)
  4. Mortgage Rates
  5. Extreme Couponing
  6. Angry Birds
  7. Planking
  8. Game of Thrones
  9. Government Shutdown
  10. Tiger Mom

Top Searched “End of an Era” On Yahoo! 2011

  1. Space Shuttle Program
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Borders
  4. Harry Potter
  5. Friendster
  6. Steve Jobs
  7. News of the World
  8. “Kate Plus 8″
  9. Elizabeth Warren
  10. Iraq Withdrawal

Top Politician Searches

  1. Sarah Palin
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Michele Bachmann
  4. Gabrielle Giffords
  5. Hillary Clinton
  6. Herman Cain
  7. Ron Paul
  8. Rick Perry
  9. Elizabeth Warren
  10. Mitt Romney

Top Searched Political Scandals

  1. Anthony Weiner
  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  3. John Edwards
  4. Herman Cain
  5. Silvio Berlusconi
  6. Kwame Kilpatrick
  7. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  8. David Wu
  9. John Ensign
  10. Chris Lee

Top Health Symptoms Searches

  1. Pregnancy symptoms
  2. Diabetes symptoms
  3. Gall Bladder symptoms
  4. Gout symptoms
  5. Thyroid symptoms
  6. Lupus symptoms
  7. Shingles symptoms
  8. Depression symptoms
  9. Herpes symptoms
  10. Menopause symptoms

Top Diet Searches

  1. Weight Watchers
  2. Jillian Michaels
  3. Atkins
  4. HCG
  5. 17 Day Diet
  6. Jenny Craig
  7. Dukan Diet
  8. Nutrisystem
  9. Dash Diet
  10. Paleo Diet

Top Cosmetic Procedure Searches

  1. Plastic Surgery
  2. Hair Extensions
  3. Breast Implants
  4. Brazilian Wax
  5. Laser Hair Removal
  6. Botox
  7. Bikini Wax
  8. Dental Implants
  9. Invisilign
  10. Liposuction

Top Recipe Searches

  1. Breakfast recipes
  2. Chicken recipes
  3. Crockpot/Slow Cooker recipes
  4. Meatloaf recipes
  5. Pancake recipes
  6. Chili recipes
  7. French Toast recipes
  8. Healthy recipes
  9. Banana Bread recipes
  10. Halloween recipes

Top Dessert Searches

  1. Ice Cream
  2. Dippin’ Dots
  3. Cake Pops
  4. Peanut Butter Cookies
  5. Chocolate Cake
  6. Peach Cobbler
  7. Banana Bread
  8. Sugar Cookies
  9. Rice Krispie Treats
  10. Girl Scout Cookies

Top Notable Wedding Searches

  1. Prince William and Kate Middleton (Royal Wedding)
  2. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries
  3. Monica  (R&B singer) and Shannon Brown
  4. Tony Romo and Candice Crawford
  5. Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock
  6. Lauren Bush and David Lauren
  7. Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller
  8. Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed

Top Pregnancy Searches

  1. Beyoncé
  2. Alyssa Milano
  3. Natalie Portman
  4. Kate Hudson
  5. Rebecca Gayheart
  6. Jessica Simpson
  7. Pink
  8. Mariah Carey
  9. Hilary Duff
  10. Victoria Beckham

Top Fashion Related Searches

  1. Louis Vuitton
  2. UGGs
  3. Tom’s
  4. Vans
  5. Cocktail dresses
  6. True Religion jeans
  7. Feather hair extensions
  8. Spanx
  9. Levi’s
  10. Giuseppe Zanotti shoes

Top Celebrity Searches

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Katy Perry
  3. Jennifer Lopez
  4. Lindsay Lohan
  5. Jennifer Aniston
  6. Megan Fox
  7. Anne Hathaway
  8. Britney Spears
  9. Scarlett Johansson
  10. Jessica Simpson

Top Music Lyric Searches

  1. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
  2. Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
  3. Grenade – Bruno Mars
  4. Rolling In the Deep – Adele
  5. Someone like You – Adele
  6. Look At Me Now – Chris Brown
  7. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
  8. You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
  9. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People
  10. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

Top Movie Searches On Yahoo! During 2011

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  2. Twilight: Breaking Dawn
  3. Transformers 3
  4. Tron: Legacy
  5. Black Swan
  6. X-Men: First Class
  7. Captain America
  8. Just Go With It
  9. The Hangover, Part II
  10. Fast Five

Top Television Show Searches

  1. American Idol
  2. Dancing With The Stars
  3. The Young and The Restless
  4. Two and a Half Men
  5. Glee
  6. Jersey Shore
  7. SpongeBob SquarePants
  8. Days of Our Lives
  9. House
  10. Ben 10

Top Reality Star Searches

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Khloe Kardashian
  3. Heidi Montag
  4. Kirstie Alley
  5. Snooki
  6. Kourtney Kardashian
  7. Kat Von D
  8. Pia Toscana
  9. Jesse James
  10. Kristin Cavallari

Top British Invasion Searches

  1. Emma Watson
  2. Kate Middleton
  3. Pippa Middleton
  4. Amy Winehouse
  5. Elizabeth Hurley
  6. Adele
  7. Robert Pattinson
  8. Daniel Radcliffe
  9. Prince William
  10. Prince Harry

Top Celebrity Hairstyle Searches

  1. Jennifer Love Hewitt
  2. Emma Watson
  3. Jennifer Aniston
  4. Kate Gosselin
  5. Olivia Wilde
  6. Justin Bieber
  7. Snooki
  8. Ashlee Simpson
  9. Reese Witherspoon
  10. Rumer Willis

Top Auto Brand Searches

  1. Ford
  2. Honda
  3. Toyota
  4. Nissan
  5. Hyundai
  6. GMC
  7. Chevy
  8. BMW
  9. Dodge
  10. Volkswagen

Top Searched Holidays

  1. Halloween
  2. Valentine’s Day
  3. Mother’s Day
  4. Easter
  5. Christmas
  6. April Fool’s Day
  7. Memorial Day
  8. Groundhog Day
  9. Father’s Day
  10. Thanksgiving

Top Heroic Act Searches

  1. Gabrielle Giffords
  2. Seal Team Six
  3. Women’s World Cup Teams
  4. Red Cross
  5. Lara Logan
  6. Dakota Meyer
  7. Fukushima 50
  8. Mohamed Bouazizi
  9. Texas Volunteer Firefighters
  10. John Leal (9/11 Heroes)*

*Note that John Leal is our pick to represent 9/11 heroes. If you search on 9/11, that buzzes much higher.

2011 Year In Review Global Coverage


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