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Relative Search Volume For Domain Names Goes Down While News About Them Goes Up

August 10, 2012

(Editor’s Note: See bottom of post for an important correction to this article)

According to Google Trends, the relative global search volume for ‘domains’ and ‘domain names‘ has been steadily declining since 2004, while during that same time reference to ‘domains’ and ‘domain names’ in the media have been on the rise.

Judging from the graph (see below), only about one-quarter of people are now searching for the term ‘domains‘ as were in 2004. (**)  Search volume for the keyword ‘domain names’ has likewise fallen even farther, from about 1.5 times the average in 2004, down to .25 in 2012. (**)

(** Relative to the total volume of all search queries)

Google Trends Graph for Domains and Domain Names

Trends go up, and trends go down, but at least Google is still around …

What could be causing this trend reversal? One possibility is that because of the increasing relevance and coverage of domain names in the media, public awareness about domains has grown to the point that most people now know what a domain name is, and are no longer searching the terms on Google simply to find their definition.

Another possibility to account for the increase in media citations is that there is more news published online now than ever before. Gary Vaynerchuk once referenced in a keynote speech that since about 2009 or 2010 more content is published online every day than in all of recorded human history before the year 2000 combined.  (Don’t quote me on this, as I cannot find the original source of this reference).

Interestingly, there seem to be some distinctive regional variations in the preference for one term over the other.  In Germany and Austria, it looks as though the term ‘domain names’ is rarely searched at all, whereas the United Kingdom is the only country of the top ten who search for ‘domain names’ more than they search for ‘domains‘.

Domain trends by region

There’s got to be a British joke in here

It’s also interesting to consider whether this graph may offer some insight into current ccTLD markets.  From what I’ve heard Australia’s .com.au aftermarket has really been heating up over the past two years with some sales reaching into six-figures.  South Africa’s .co.za has also seen stronger sales reported in the $xx,xxx range on DNJournal.  I have not seen nor heard much of anything about New Zealand’s .co.nz though.  Any Kiwis out there are welcome to comment.

Here is the same regional graph adjusted to show only the year 2012.

Regional graph 2

Domains, Mate!

Correction

8/10/12 @ 12:30pm CST

Shortly after publishing the above article a reader brought it to my attention that the subject of the post was misleading.  It should have been more accurately stated:  Relative Search Volume For Domain Names Continues To Go Down While News About Them Goes Up

The search volume index (top of the two graphs shown in the first graphic) does not reflect absolute search traffic numbers.  Rather, the data is relative to all Google search queries.  In other words, the data shows the volume of search for the keyword terms relative to the total volume of all Google searches.   As a percentage of all Google search queries, the trend is still going down, however it’s still possible that the actual number of queries have risen.

I apologize for the error.  For a better understanding of how Google Trends works read About Google Trends.

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