It’s becoming as much an end of year tradition as the country being brought to a standstill by snow and gorging yourself on mince pies – Google Zeitgeist, an annual list of the top web searches around the globe. Rather like the talking-head shows you get at the end of every year, Zeitgeist provides a great way of seeing what the major trends were over the past year, and what the main issues were around the world.  For example, in the UK, ‘Election 2010’ was the fastest rising search term over the course of 2010, followed by ‘register to vote’ and ‘David Cameron’.  Globally, ‘Haiti’ was the fastest growing search term as a result of the earthquake in the country.  It is interesting to note that the second fastest rising search term around the globe was ‘besiktas’ a Turkish football team, and that the majority of search queries for this came from Turkey, showing the influence that one country can have on these results.

The data for the most popular search results is what surprised me the most, as it was mainly for commonly visited websites like Facebook and the BBC, rather than general searches around a particular topic or service.  It seems that for many people it is easier to get to a website they regularly visit using Google rather than bookmarking it.  One of the least surprising things is how out of touch I am with some of the most popular entertainment searches – out of the fastest rising searches for people, I can only identify about half.

What does this mean for technology PR? I think it underlines just how important a resource Google actually is for most people.  If you need to know something, nearly everyone goes straight to the search engine. Any effective PR campaign needs to understand this and incorporate it into all its activities.  Whether optimising a press release around your website’s keywords, or using social media tools to increase search results around your company, it is vital that your business is on the first page of any relevant search query. Google and Bing themselves have confirmed that Facebook and Twitter can contribute to SEO.  If a business wants to ensure that it is making full use of the advantages that the internet offers, they need to ensure that their PR, marketing and SEO all work hand-in-hand to optimise the brand’s web presence.

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