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What Do People Want to Know?

Updated on January 30, 2018
Lauren Flauding profile image

Lauren is a virtual adventurer and late night philosopher, as well as a voracious consumer of technology.

You know the feeling. You sit down to write the next great article, the one that everyone will want to read over and over, but you don’t know what’s going to grab people’s attention or answer their most dire questions. In order to create something that will be read by millions, you need to find out people want to know.
Thankfully, we have this great tool called the Internet to aid us in this endeavor. When people turn to search engines to answer their questions and satiate their curiosities, they create valuable data that gives insight into what they’re seeking. Google graciously publishes it's data for the top searches over the course of a year. This and a myriad of other web sources allow us to find out what people want to know.

People Want to Know What's Going On

Current events, what’s new, and gossip are all things that capture people’s attention.These are the top 10 most searched items for 2017 according to Google:

1. Hurrican Irma

2. iPhone 8

3. iPhone X

4. Matt Lauer

5. Meghan Markle

6. 13 Reasons Why

7. Tom Petty

8. Fidget Spinner

9. Chester Bennington

10. India National Cricket Team

It’s no secret that people want to keep up with the latest trends and happenings, but it’s important to recognize that people want to know what others are talking about. They want to know more. The reason people went and searched these terms is because they heard or saw something on the radio, on the bus, at work, in passing conversation, and they want to know more. For example, I looked at this list and didn’t know who Meghan Markle was (because apparently I’ve been living under a virtual rock), so what did I do? I searched her. Now I know who she is, now I can make an informed comment about Suits or the royal family if she ever comes up.

People Want to Know How to Fix Stuff

Home and car repairs are a popular topic for people who need something fixed quickly, don’t want to pay someone, or simply want to learn to be more handy. This fantastic essay details the most commonly searched fix it tutorials, as well as common searches in other categories.
Why do people search how to fix things? Because they’re necessary, and because they can. My husband learned how to fix a headlight, fuel filter, and a blown fuse in our HVAC system. There are a wealth of free home and car remedies out there, why wouldn’t people take advantage of them?

People Want to Know How to Make Money

People especially want to know how to make more money, make passive income, and how to earn money at home or remotely. It seems this has a lot to do with freedom. If someone can make passive income or work from home or abroad, they greatly increase their freedom and accordingly their sense of well being.

People Want to Know How to Be Healthy

From diet and exercise to therapy and medicine, people want to know how to look and feel their best. It seems there’s always some new way to lose weight and people want to know what it is. And in a time of slightly unreliable insurance, many will look first to the virtual community to answer a health and wellness question. There have been numerous times when I’ve felt under the weather or discovered something odd with my body and I immediately took to the search engines to find a remedy for my ailment. Calling a doctor or visiting a clinic rarely crossed my mind.
This category also includes fashion and beauty tips; skin care, hair care and other sundry ideas to improve one’s appearance.

People Want to Know About Love

Queries such as: “how to kiss,” or “how to impress a girl” come up often from the pre-adult crowd. (Or who knows? Perhaps adults ask these types of questions as well.) On the more serious side of the spectrum, many want to know how to get pregnant. Whether this question refers to infertility issues or the actual process of procreation requires further research.

People Want to Know Answers to Questions That Are Embarrassing to Ask

There are just some things that you really want to know but are a little uncomfortable to ask a real person. Things like “why is my poop green?” and “who was the 2nd president of the United States?” reveal awkward realities about a person’s body and intelligence. People ask these things of the internet because search engines don’t judge, they’re relatively anonymous, and it’s easy. When there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips, why go the trouble and potential humiliation of asking a person face to face?

There's Not One All-encompassing Answer

Remember that what people want to know is relative to their situation, location, age etc. as illustrated in this lovely info graphic detailing the most common 'why do' questions by state.


You might not be able to address everyone’s problems and questions with one solution, but by paying attention to trends and to the things people are asking, you’ll have a better idea of how to pique their interest and hold their attention.

What Types of Things do You Want to Know About?

See results

© 2018 Lauren Flauding


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