20 Funny, Clueless, Weird, And Existential Google Keyword Searches

A couple of weeks ago, I lost my keys and must have searched my entire house and car at least three times trying to find them.  After that last round of searching, I plopped down in a chair in front of my computer, exasperated.  With an open search box in my peripheral vision, I continued to ponder where they might have possibly gone.   At that moment, I could have used something like a Google Key Finder.   Imagine an RFID setup for the keychain, combined with a more detailed version of Google Latitude (complete with a home floor plan), and then I'd type in "where did I put my keys" and be on my way.

Then I wondered, had anyone actually ever entered "where did I put my keys" into a search box?  I went to the Google Keyword Tool to find out.  Sure enough, there was a search for "where did I put my keys" with an average of 72 searches per month.  Another variation was "have you seen my keys" with an average of 22 searches per month.  No keys, but perhaps they felt a little better venting into the search box.



As I continued perusing the Google Keyword Tool, there were a number of other dead-end and clueless searches to be found.  Among the other lost items people rely on the Google search gods to find:
-    "Where did I put my glasses" with an average of 320 searches per month.  
-    "Have you seen my stapler" with an average of 390 searches per month.  

Realizing that there may be more of these to be found, I went seeking other terms, and scored big time:
-   "Who is buried in Grant's tomb" was entered 1,000 times per month on average. The joke is over before the results even hit the screen.
-    "What is the number for 911" averaged 36 searches per month. For their own safety's sake, let's hope they figured this out.

But wait - there's even more.  A search for "what is" yielded the following gems:
-    "What is my name?" was searched 40,500 times per month. Is it a song, perhaps?  Maybe they woke up after a rough night out on the town that landed them in front a Google search box?  Or maybe there is an epidemic of amnesia?
-    "What is my religion" got 320 searches per month.  I don't even know what to say about this, other than it strikes me completely strange that someone would legitimately type this into a search box.  

"Why am I" also turned up a nice list of stemmed oddities.  These two were my favorites:
-    "Why am I hot" netted 9,900 searches per month.  This phrase is one of two things: A use of the search box as the new "mirror on the wall" for those puzzled by their own hotness, or a question posed by people unaware of the methods of cool air circulation.  
-    "Why am I always so hot" was searched 36 times per month on average.  These people are not just hot, they're always so hot, and they don't know why.  Maybe they should go to the front page of  Google Hot Trends, and keep hitting refresh until their name appears, and then they will know.
(No, refreshing the page will not make a name come up in Google Hot Trends).

Other "why am I" searches often turn up information that might actually satisfy the searcher, but are still interesting nonetheless.  These include:
-    "Why I am so tired" -  5,400 searches per month.  
-    "Why am I sneezing so much" - 16 searches per month.  
-    "Why am I so broke" - 16 searches per month.  

On the existential side of things, the following searches stemmed from (and included) "I am":
-    "I am" - 7,480,000 searches per month.  
-    "I am here" - 550,000 searches per month.  
-    "I am me" - 201,000 searches per month.  

Along the more intellectual side, "what is the meaning of life" has an average of 22,200 monthly searches. Of course when I think about the meaning of life, I think Monty Python, and also found the stemmed phrase, "what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" with 1,590 searches per month.  But did they mean African, or European?  

Many people who lost their mojo rely on Google to get it back. "Who stole my mojo?" yields 91 searches per month.  And for others, Google is also the trusted source for finding stolen dogs ("Who stole my dog?" averaged 12 searches per month).

It's possible that some of these folks may be hitting the wrong box, presumably mistaking search for a chat, or IM client.  But for the others, it's much more interesting to leave it to the imagination to decide.  

13 comments about "20 Funny, Clueless, Weird, And Existential Google Keyword Searches ".
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  1. Vanessa Tripp from The Advertising Council, April 8, 2009 at 2:20 p.m.

    "Have you seen my stapler" is a quote from the movie Office Space.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 8, 2009 at 2:23 p.m.

    For all searchers of keys or scissors or any lost item, here is what I was told all all the time when I was growing up: You will find them in the last place you look. Now, we can grow up.

  3. Bob Rosen from KQ&R, April 8, 2009 at 2:35 p.m.

    I imagine the "what is my religion" search is largely people looking for the long-time and well known online tool that poses existential questions and then matches your answers with the closest organized religious doctrine.

    I'd post the url but the site is now owned by Fox and I hate sending traffic their way. So if you're really curious, just google "what is my religion"

  4. Marc Engelsman from Digital Brand Expressions, April 8, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.

    Check out this article I saw in the NYTimes called "Lost in the Real World, Found via Cyberspace" that talks about how people are using sites like Facebook and Google to find the owners of lost items.

  5. Beth Rose, April 8, 2009 at 2:54 p.m.

    I'm a little disappointed that when you Google "What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow" it doesn't automatically respond with: Did you mean African or European?

    After all, when you ask "What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?" the Google Calculator comes up: the answer to life, the universe, and everything = 42

  6. Donna Zelzer from Midwifery Today, April 8, 2009 at 2:56 p.m.

    Some of the "why am I hot?" and "Why am I always so hot" searches might be from people looking for medical advice.

  7. David Pavlicko from ArchiTech, April 8, 2009 at 3:24 p.m.

    just one more reason not to rely on google's keyword tool too much.

  8. Genie O'Loughlin from People's Trust, April 8, 2009 at 3:51 p.m.

    Thanks Rob! Very cleverly written ... I am still giggling over "always so hot".

  9. Rob Garner from Author of "Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing Wiley/Sybex 2013, April 8, 2009 at 4:11 p.m.

    Thanks for all of the comments. Ah - Office Space - I knew that rang a bell.

    @Paula - found them in a place I had previously searched - they were hiding from me. : )

    @Beth - that is my wish as well. Clearly that search should be disambiguated. In addition to offering "African" or "European", they should also offer a link to "I don't know that".

    @donna - I agree with you. Considering the popularity of "hot or not" type sites, I couldn't resist taking a bit of creative license.

    @David - at the very least, the tool skews waaayyy high, and I only use a fraction of those numbers for any real world forecasting.

  10. Aaron B. from, April 8, 2009 at 5:12 p.m. least you didn't search for Chuck Norris.

  11. Rob Garner from Author of "Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing Wiley/Sybex 2013, April 8, 2009 at 5:25 p.m.

    No one searches for Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris finds you.

  12. Miki Dzugan from Rapport Online, April 8, 2009 at 5:29 p.m.

    I had a client once who would navigate to websites by typing the url of the desired site into Yahoo. Based on the number of times Google suggests www.(competitorsdomain).com as a keyword for advertising, there must be a number of people who navigate to a known url by typing it into Google.

  13. Hugh Simpson from WOW! Presentation, April 9, 2009 at 10:40 p.m.

    AMAZING you should write about such an invention as my new friend and inventor of the AtticTrac has just told me about a new invention of his with an RFID strip that can be applied to almost any thing in the home including even individual keys!

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