Google has released its 2008 Zeitgeist, telling us the most popular search terms and the fastest rising search terms. The US election obviously created much interest on the net with Sarah Palin topping the global rising search terms (not neccessarily for the right reasons). Social networking also dominate with 4 out of 10 of the global fastest rising terms.
Looking at the most popular terms we can see that people are learning to use the web in a more efficient manner. Instead of typing http://www.blahblahblah.com, people are using Google’s h0mepage as the main entry point to their chosen website and just typing in blahblahblah into Google’s search as its quicker.
The UK’s fastest growing term is iplayer and the most popular term is facebook. I can’t believe that people do not know the URL of these sites. So is the importance of a good vanity URL diminshing? It seems that the power of search continues to grow.
As important as search is though, what is equally important is how web visitors are treated once they land on their chosen webpage. As the web continues to get more popular, user experience will become increasingly important – for example see the success of FRIV this year (#8 in UK’s fastest rising search terms), FRIV does not have exclusive content but the simple yet elegant navigational system has clearly won people over . People now have more website alternatives to find what they want and as people use the web more, they will become more demanding, seeking more intuitive ways to find information. Consider why people like going to the Apple store even if they don’t want to buy a Mac. Websites must learn from it’s brick and mortar cousins.