Google’s Most Popular “How to” Search Terms for 2017

September 5, 2017

Where we once had to trawl through books or phone a friend to find out answers to the burning questions racing through our minds at night, we can now consult Google. Thanks to those mobile devices we carry in our pockets, we can easily open a new search browser, type in our queries and instantly be greeted with a world of answers — all with minimal embarrassment.

That is until Google released its annual list of the most-searched ‘how to’ queries for the year, allowing us to view and evaluate the questions that perplex some and bewilder others.

Finding Out ‘How to Fix…’ With the World

Millions of ‘how to’ searches are typed into Google, with a 140% overall increase of the search term being used since 2004. One of the most popular search terms year in, year out, is ‘how to fix…’, with the ellipsis in this case being mostly filled by household fittings such as fridges, sinks, toilets, windows and lightbulbs. These queries are asked so often that Google Trends teamed up with award-winning designer Xaquín González Veira to create the interactive visual: How To Fix a Toilet And Other Things We Couldn’t Do Without Search.

This incredible site allows users to search the “how to fix…” terms topping countries across the world. Whilst it is funny to compare them amongst each other and see where your country sits in relation to others, it seems that across the world, we are generally baffled by how to repair the same old household fixtures and well-used items.

Walls, doors, and windows topped the globe as the most-searched “how to fix…” terms. Below is an illustration of what the world median looks like (ordered and sized from most to least searches):

World Median of Google's Most Searched How to Fix Queries
Walls topped the ‘how to fix’ list, followed by doors, windows, washing machines, fridges, toilets, lightbulbs, power outlets and sinks.

Image source: How To Fix a Toilet And Other Things We Couldn’t Do Without Search

There are also some extremely unexpected and hilarious correlations that came from the data presented. For instance, a similar pattern was found for searches of ‘how to fix a toilet’ (blue) and ‘how to use chopsticks’ (yellow), as seen below:

Chopsticks and Toilets

Image source: How To Fix a Toilet And Other Things We Couldn’t Do Without Search

As much as we hope that these two terms aren’t related, it does make a person wonder…

The ‘How To…’ List

Although the most popular search terms were in the ‘how to fix…’category, there was also a curation of the most-searched ‘how to’ terms overall. The following top 10 list allows you to see where you sit against the world in what questions you find incredibly relatable:

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat

It’s kind of nice, isn’t it — knowing that the most ‘how to…’ phrases are harmless things that many of us have wondered at one point or another. Whether people need to take lessons in drawing or baking, or need to start using that gym membership, this list gives an insight into the most common questions asked by us and our peers.

So, how many have you asked?