'How to' posts are a go-to for content marketers - they provide utility, enabling your business to showcase their expertise, while they're also a particularly popular content type, with 'how to' articles regularly showing up in 'best performing content type' lists.
And now, Google has reinforced just how popular 'how to' content is. According to new data from the search giant, 'how to' searches have increased by more than 140% since 2004, with much of that search interest directed towards 'how to fix' posts.
In itself, this is relevant info for content planning, but Google's actually taken it a step further - they've created a new, interactive website which showcases the top 100 most searched for 'how to' guides. And there are some pretty interesting findings - here's an overview of the key data.
Top 'How to' Searches
First off, Google lists the top 10 'how to' searches globally, which are:
- how to tie a tie
- how to kiss
- how to get pregnant
- how to lose weight
- how to draw
- how to make money
- how to make pancakes
- how to write a cover letter
- how to make French toast
- how to lose belly fat
Most of those are not business-specific, but there may be some relevant angles worth considering in your content approach, or directions you can envision based off of these trends.
But the insights provided go even further than this - in the full website, for which Google worked with award-winning designer Xaquín González Veira, Google outlines regional trends and insights, in visual form.
Among the top ten, there's a range of queries on how to fix various household items. To provide some perspective on the most commonly searched for fixes in each region, Google has put together this world map infographic which displays the most searched for household fixes in each nation.
As explained by Google:
"North Americans and East Asians need their toilets, people in former Soviet countries are fearless enough to attempt fixing their own washing machines, warmer climates can't live without a fridge - makes sense, and North and Eastern Europeans need help fixing their light bulbs."
Those are some interesting regional considerations, particularly in terms of why each is most important.
The internet has changed the way we look at cooking.
In generations past, people would be reliant on recipes handed down through the generations, or their parents 'just knowing' how to make certain things.
And you can see, this reflected in the food-centric 'how to' terms in Google's top 100 - most are fairly generic, but others reflect the rising shift towards culinary experimentation.
In another section of their research, Google provides an overview of the top questions related to 'growing up' and taking responsibility, with terms like 'how to make money' and 'how to start a business' high on the list.
Some of those as surprisingly generic, but it provides some additional insight into the career-related content people are seeking, and the key questions people face.
There's a heap of additional insights in the full, interactive report, and it's definitely well-worth a look.
In addition to the overall lists, there are also some more specific trend analysis breakdowns showing how search volumes for certain subjects increase at specific times of year, based on historic Google data.
Most people would be at least somewhat aware of this pattern for 'weight loss', but still, some interesting insight to take in and consider when looking at your own marketing plan.
There are some provisos to the data - Google notes that in order to focus on 'everyday things' that largely existed before the internet, they've removed a lot of the tech-related (and inappropriate) questions from the list. But you can go to Google's Github page and download this, and other Google Trends data in .csv format, which can be used for expanded research purposes, dependent on your niche.
Even if the insights don't spark your content thinking, there's a heap of interesting elements and angles to consider - definitely worth a look.