Top Search Trends of 2008

Heading into the end of 2008, is holding steady as the 4th most used search engine and the 7th largest Internet property overall in October 2008 (according to ComScore Media Metrix), with 70 million unique users and topping over 683 million total searches. While that only accounts for 4.2% of overall search share, it still puts Ask just ahead of AOL properties.

With the release of Ask’s most popular search queries in 2008, the fourth-place search engine proves its original model of question-based queries is still popular with users, citing that “searchers enter their queries in the form of a question three times more on Ask than on any other search engine.”

2008′s most “Asked” questions

  1. How do I get pregnant?
  2. How do I lose weight?
  3. How do I write a resume?
  4. How much is minimum wage?
  5. How much is my car worth?
  6. How do I change my name?
  7. What is the meaning of life?
  8. How do I register to vote?
  9. Why is the sky blue?
  10. How do I download videos?

Perhaps the weight loss questions are in someway related to post-pregnancy weight, perhaps a side effect of women trying to change their names after getting married in 2008. Or Ocho Cinco followers were looking for tips. Some searchers may be looking to sell their cars if writing a good resume didn’t pan out and they had to take a job for minimum wage in this tough economy.  Alongside more esoteric questions, the practical question about registering to vote seems to be tied to the most obvious search trend, related to the U.S. election this year.

Politics and economy drive searches

After purchasing the virtual spelling bee site in May 2008, noted these buzzwords as the fastest-rising vernacular amidst citizens trying to understand the political and socio-economic climate. Sarah Palin’s pet name for John McCain won out as the most popular word of the year, or so we assume, as long as TopGun didn’t put out an anniversary edition DVD. Movie-goers were more likely interested in searching for the meaning of the word “Solace” in the most recent James Bond title. The very recent cyclone in India may have been responsible for a last minute surge in searches for the devastating weather event, which some might link to environmental factors.

  1. Maverick
  2. Socialism
  3. Economy
  4. Recession
  5. Radical
  6. Cyclone
  7. Solace
  8. Realtor
  9. Environment
  10. Potholes

Top 10 “Real Deal” searches of 2008

As social media infiltrated daily life, consumers turned to Ask to help make sense of the economic crisis, as searching for deals and money-saving tactics ramped up, with popular words like “credit score” and “coupons” popping up for the first time ever in Ask’s general list of popular searches.

  1. Dictionary
  2. MySpace
  3. Google
  4. YouTube
  5. Facebook
  6. Coupons
  7. Cars
  8. Craigslist
  9. Online degrees
  10. Credit score

Queens of the teen scene

Disney divas Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Jamie Lynn Spears gave several female celebrities a run for their money in the Top 10 celebrity searches of 2008, leaving just a couple of teen boys to share the remaing slots.’s most popular celebrity (general) searches

  1. Jonas Brothers
  2. Miley Cyrus
  3. Angelina Jolie
  4. Madonna
  5. Vanessa Hudgens
  6. Selena Gomez
  7. Zac Effron
  8. Jennifer Aniston
  9. Jamie Lynn Spears
  10. Victoria Beckham

Whether or not Jaime Lynn’s and Bristol Palin’s teen pregnancies, plus the Massachusetts high school pregnancy pact helped spur one of the most asked questions of the year is unknown, but older and wiser celebrity moms won the contest for biggest bump in baby searches.  Four of the ten were over the age 40 in 2008.

Ask’s most searched celebrity baby mamas in 2008

  1. Angelina Jolie
  2. Jessica Alba
  3. Jamie Lynn Spears
  4. Sarah Palin
  5. Jennifer Lopez
  6. Christina Aguilera
  7. Halle Berry
  8. Nicole Kidman
  9. Salma Hayek
  10. Gwen Stefani

An Olympic defeat

In an unusual turn of events, Michael Phelps didn’t take home the gold medal from Ask, despite taking home a record eight gold medals in the Beijing China Olympiad this summer. Instead, NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag. Meanwhile, NBA superstars and members of the “Redeem Team” gobbled up slots in the top Athlete and sports icon searches of the year. Tennis star Serena Williams just barely broke the Top 10, the only female athlete to do so. Interesting that A-rod didn’t make this list, yet Madonna made it to the top celebrity searches.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Kobe Bryant
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Lebron James
  5. Michael Phelps
  6. Tiger Woods
  7. Allen Iverson
  8. David Beckham
  9. Muhammad Ali
  10. Serena Williams

The complete list of’s Most Popular Searches in 2008 is here and links to live search queries.

Related Topics: Ask | Channel: Search Marketing | Stats: Search Behavior


About The Author: is Director of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. In addition, she assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media's Search Marketing Expo conference series and manages speaking engagements for editorial staff. Follow her on Twitter @elisabethos.

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