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Bulgaria in, Greece out of, Google Zeitgeist

20 June 2014 / 19:06:49  GRReporter
4215 reads

Ivan Petkov

In our latest infographics we compared the technical parameters and the Internet access in Bulgaria and Greece. In this article I would like to look at the content that users from the two Balkan countries search, find and use on the Internet.

For this purpose I used Google Trends service and took out the 10 most searched words over the past 12 months.

On the one hand, it is surprising that the most searched content on the world wide web is so similar but on the other it is not because it reflects trends involving both Bulgarian and Greek users.

The most searched word was the most popular social network, Facebook. It seems like a paradox that people search for something so popular and used. However, this has its logical explanation, which is as follows: modern browsers allow you to write in their address bar any word and they will forward you to the website of the search engine which is used by default, where you can click on the link to the desired page. This is a quite common method of use. The reason lies in the simple fact that users do not have to remember the full addresses of the websites but just their names.

After Facebook, users from Bulgaria and Greece, use YouTube, popular international Internet portals and mail services, and search for games on the Internet. Bulgarians use local e-mail services and websites for video content sharing. The top 10 also includes a popular local auction website and a torrent website. The top 10 most searched words in Greece do not contain local websites, services or portals, except for the weather forecast. On the basis of this list alone, we can conclude that users from the two neighbouring countries use the most popular international social, information, multimedia and entertainment websites, and that Bulgarians are more oriented towards local websites and portals.

Unfortunately, the option to filter out the most searched words by different categories is not available for the two countries. Apparently, we remain outside this kind of statistics.

The next place I looked for information on what we use on the world  wide web was the annual Google Zeitgeist list. It contains the most searched words and phrases in 2013, which are divided into different categories. Here an even greater surprise was awaiting me. It turned out that such information is available for countries like Ghana and Guatemala, but not for Greece. I track the ranking of Bulgaria and I was convinced that there was one for Greece as well. Alas, Greece is out of the digital "zeitgeist", at least according to Google. A quick search showed me that even the Greek SEO professionals (those who optimize web content for search engines) share only the global trends from Zeitgeist, but not those associated with Greece.

Let's see what Bulgarians were interested in last year:
• The most searched word - Mirror World
• The most searched people - Paul Walker
• The most searched holiday - holiday in Greece
• The most popular events - 2013 elections
• The most popular search "What is .." - What is love?
• The most popular search "How to ..." - How to lose weight?
• The most popular song - Gangnam style
• The most popular diet - 90-day diet
• The most popular recipe - Cake recipe

In short, things that drew our interest as regards last year are both specific to the era in which we are living and universal. On the one hand, we are interested in actual events and paparazzi news about celebrities, in the latest news as well as in television formats and soap operas. We are also interested in sporting events associated with football, volleyball, tennis, boxing, i.e. in all sports in which we are successful. In terms of universal topics, we are interested in health issues, diets, love. It seems that we think of politics and economy when they turn into scandals and empty our pockets. Searches such as "What is an EDC" (electricity distribution company) reflect the reason that triggered the popular discontent and overthrew the government of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party in 2013. We also witnessed the unprecedented involvement of society in terms of the political life in Bulgaria and the civil protests of a dimension that is not typical for the country.

While collecting information for this article, I read with interest dozens of posts related to the Zeitgeist list, written in different places and by different people. The majority of commentators perceived the results as a demonstration of a low intellectual and cultural level of Bulgarians. For me personally, the results show something different, namely that Bulgarians are learning to search information and that is good. When one searches, one inevitably comes across other viewpoints, different opinions and the worldview of the person who searches expands a little bit. I also see that people are starting to take care of their health and issues such as obesity and the desire to maintain good physical shape are coming to the fore. 50% of the solution to such problems is to recognize them and become aware of them, as they say, and the search for their solution is a step away.

Although Greece is not present as a state in the rankings, I found an interactive map, on which we can see the most searched words last year from Athens and Sofia:

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