Yahoo’s 2008 Year End Round-Up of Buzzworthy Searches

In addition to summarizing the most popular search trends overall, this year, Yahoo! dug deeper into the metrics of its vertical channels to get more granular information on what users searched for in 2008.  With the launch of Buzz-up for publishers in 2008, Yahoo! also ranked the most buzzed stories and most clicked-on stories.

In addition, there’s more Top 10 lists spotlighting different content around the network aimed at different usergroups including Yahoo! Food, Shine (women’s channel), Tech, Green, Shopping, Travel, Games, Movies, Music, Local and Hot Jobs.

Top 10 overall searches on

  1. Britney Spears
  2. WWE
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Miley Cyrus
  5. RuneScape
  6. Jessica Alba
  7. Naruto
  8. Lindsay Lohan
  9. Angelina Jolie
  10. American Idol

Clearly, Britney Spears was not satisfied with missing the top of the list in 2007, so she had to beat out president-elect Barack Obama. Spears’ well publicized mental health problems kept Yahoo buzzing early in the year, and bouncing back with appearances on “How I Met Your Mother”, a new album and three MTV awards kept her in contention for top honors.

Barack Obama, however, surged ahead as the headlines pronouncing him the winner of the election became the most clicked stories on Yahoo of the year.

Entertainment juggernauts like World Wrestling Entertainment, video games (RuneScape) and anime (Naruto) snuck in slots between live action lookers like Alba, Jolie, Lohan and Miley Cyrus. The battle of the Davids on American Idol brought the reality show back to its former glory in the eyes of Yahoo surfers, and broke records on iTunes at the same time.

Yahoo’s Top 10 news stories in 2008

A mix of human interest stories that captivated attention, from the disappearance of young Caylee Anthony, to the shocking story of the ‘Pregnant Man’ and Swayze’s public battle with pancreatic cancer. Natural disasters and the toll taken on human lives in the middle east keep world affairs at the top of searchers’ minds.

  1. Hurricanes
  2. Caylee and Casey Anthony
  3. Election 2008
  4. Pakistan
  5. Pregnant Man
  6. China
  7. Iraq
  8. Shelley Malil
  9. Patrick Swayze
  10. Afganistan

Political power struggles

Looking back at the wild and crazy election year, nothing should come as a surprise at this point. People searched for Sarah Palin at first because she was an unknown, and just wanted more background on her, but then the twists and turns of the campaign (including the Fey funnies) catapulted her to fame, drawing more interest than her running mate. Clinton was the first serious run at president by a female candidate, so she secured herself a decent slot in the top political searches.

Ron Paul’s grassroots efforts gave his name a ligitimate chance to be heard, and moved him up in the power play. While politicos may have been interested in John Edwards endorsement of Obama, it’s more likely that Edwards’ affair with a former campaign staffer and rumored love child.

California Governator may have bumped out VP-elect Joe Biden, despite the fact that Schwarzenegger never took an active role in this year’s campaign. Rudy Guiliani’s run for the Republican nomination is surprisingly absent, while Romney’s more serious play for the ticket most likely put in him on this list.

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Sarah Palin
  3. John McCain
  4. Hillary Clinton
  5. George Bush
  6. Ron Paul
  7. John Edwards
  8. Mike Huckabee
  9. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  10. Mitt Romney

Shining bright in Beijing

  1. Michael Phelps
  2. Leryn Franco
  3. Serena Willams
  4. Kobe Bryant
  5. Shawn Johnson
  6. Jennie Finch
  7. Misty May Treanor
  8. Ronaldinho
  9. Alicia Sacramone
  10. Nastia Liukin

Whomever said ‘to the victors go the spoils’ didn’t have Olympian Leryn Franco in mind. While the javelin thrower and beauty pageant winner could only muster a 51st place finish, she had the last laugh with more searches than the beach volleyball duo of Kerri Walsh and Misty-May Treanor. Treanor had a slightly unfair advantage in the race for most searched Olympians, since she appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” immediately following Beijing, the reality competition’s stable of fans likely kept her moving forward.

Fond Farewells

Saying goodbye in spades of online searches, several personalities passed on this year, and shocked the world with the sudden deaths of Oscar winner Heath Ledger and “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert,  as well as comedian Bernie Mac’s death due to complications of an autoimmune disease, which also fueled searches to learn more about sarcoidosis, Yahoo readers also noted the passing of a golden girl, Estelle Getty, as well as several of Hollywood’s golden gentlemen, including Paul Newman and Charlton Heston, among the list:

  1. Heath Ledger
  2. Bernie Mac
  3. Paul Newman
  4. Randy Pausch
  5. George Carlin
  6. Estelle Getty
  7. Tim Russert
  8. Brad Renfro
  9. Isaac Hayes
  10. Boyd Coddington

Look through the entire 2008 Year in Review on Yahoo!

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: Popularity | Stats: Search Behavior | Yahoo | Yahoo: Buzz


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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