Google’s annual recap of the year’s top trending searches offers dozens of ideas for content publishers looking to capitalize on long-tail keyword opportunities.

Data on the top trending searches is published every year, which is interesting on its own, but you may find yourself asking “What can I do with this information?”

At first glance the data doesn’t have much to offer beyond satisfying general curiosity around what people are searching for in Google.

Take the overall top 10 trending searches in 2021, for example:

  1. NBA
  2. DMX
  3. Gabby Petito
  4. Kyle Rittenhouse
  5. Brian Laundrie
  6. Mega Millions
  7. AMC Stock
  8. Stimulus Check
  9. Georgia Senate Race
  10. Squid Game


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There’s arguably not much you can do with that as a search marketer or content publisher.

Those are all huge topics, and the chances of ranking for any of them are slim at this point.

If you dig deeper, however, you’ll find the long-tail keywords people were searching for most this year.

You’ll find the questions people were asking — the things that searchers genuinely needed help with — and therein lies the opportunity.

Let’s go over some of those, and perhaps you’ll find a few ideas for your next pieces of content.

Note that these are all top “trending” searches, which means the keywords with the largest increases in search volume from 2020 to 2021. These are not necessarily the top searches across all of Google.


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Google’s Top Trending Long-Tail Keywords Of 2021

Top ‘How To’ Searches Of 2021

Answering peoples’ questions is the cornerstone of content publishing, so we’ll start off with some inspiration for your next “how to” articles.

If you can provide the most holistic answer to one of these questions you may see an influx of traffic coming your way.

How to help others

  1. How to help Afghan refugees
  2. How to help Texas
  3. How to help India COVID
  4. How to help toddler with cough
  5. How to help foster kids

How to be

  1. How to be eligible for stimulus check
  2. How to be more attractive
  3. How to be happy alone
  4. How to be a baddie
  5. How to be a good boyfriend

How to style

  1. How to style straight leg jeans
  2. How to style a wolf haircut
  3. How to style a corset
  4. How to style rings
  5. How to style a sweater vest

Top Recipe Searches Of 2021

Food bloggers looking for some out-of-the-ordinary recipes to write about can find inspiration in the following list of top searches:


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  1. TikTok pasta
  2. Bacon jam
  3. Birria tacos
  4. Crockpot chicken
  5. Hamantaschen
  6. Squid Game cookie
  7. Baked oats
  8. Cicada
  9. Gigi Hadid pasta
  10. Smashed potatoes

Top ‘This Or That’ Searches Of 2021

An often overlooked type of query is the ‘this or that’ search.

Whether it’s how to use a word correctly, or what’s the difference between two things, the ‘this or that’ search is a versatile keyword type that offers many opportunities for new content.


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Here’s what searchers needed more clarity on this year:

  1. Effect or affect
  2. Barbie, Bratz or Fairy
  3. Allergies or COVID
  4. Bones or no bones
  5. Bougie or boujee
  6. Pfizer or Moderna
  7. Sinus infection or COVID
  8. Choose Bidoof or Bidoof
  9. Cold or COVID
  10. Capitol or capital

More Top Searches Of 2021

This is just a selection of the year’s top searches, which I picked out as I felt they were the most useful for publishers.

There’s many more to discover in Google’s Year In Search mini site.


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Google has also put together a video recap of the year in search, which you can see below:

Featured Image: Screenshot from, December 2021. 

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By Rose Milev

I always want to learn something new. SEO is my passion.

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