UK search focus: January

Snow business

At one time or another throughout January, every part of the UK has been affected by snow, so it is unsurprising that most of the top ten UK Google search terms over the past 30 days have been weather related.

The search terms 'Met office', 'BBC weather', 'UK weather', 'weather', 'London weather' and 'weather forecast' all figured in the UK's top ten Google searches, showing just how concerned people were about the impact of the wintry conditions.

Flights were also a concern, as people looked up holiday providers Thomson and Thomas Cook and budget airline EasyJet. Many airports were adversely affected during January, and all three of the previously mentioned search terms maintained a high search volume across the month as worried travellers checked up on flights.

By a distance, the top search term in England and Wales was 'school closures', as many schools faced a daily decision as to whether or not they should open. Concerned parents were frequently left stuck as schools shut at short notice.

School worries were particularly prevalent from January 18-22 when the weather was at its worst, although the term did not appear in Scottish or Northern Irish searches.

Big Brother is watched by you

Nine of the top ten UK search terms this month can be attributed to the weather. The only non-snow related query to figure on the list was in fact the most searched for topic across the whole of January.

As concerned as the country was about the snow, cancelled holidays and closed schools, it seems that we were still more interested in Celebrity Big Brother, with 'big brother' the number one search term. This can perhaps by put down to the fact that the show began in early January and concluded fairly late on in the month, giving it plenty of time to maintain its strong search volume.

Eventually won by X Factor reject Rylan Clark, the show also featured sportsmen Frankie Dettori and Neil Ruddock, pop star Claire Richards, the usual collection of soap stars and professional US reality show contestants Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

The show enjoyed its highest search peak at the start of the month as the contestants were announced, perhaps aided by the late withdrawal of comedian Jim Davidson after he was arrested by police as part of Operation Yewtree.

In the news

Aside from the weather, the UK public's attention has also been caught by a number of other news items throughout January.

Topping the list is the helicopter crash that occurred in London, where pilot Pete Barnes hit a crane in heavy fog and was killed as the aircraft fell from the sky and onto a busy Vauxhall street. The dramatic images broadcast live from the scene attracted more interest than any other news story.

The ongoing saga at HMV also drew plenty of interest, with a big spike in searches when the music company announced it would be closing stores and laying off staff after poor Christmas sales. Searches were recently sparked again after a disgruntled employee appeared to use the official HMV Twitter feed to 'live tweet' the firing of around 60 employees at the organisation's head office.

Reality shows Big Brother and Dancing on Ice also enjoyed a steady stream of interest throughout January, with the latter enjoying large peaks of interest during its Saturday evening timeslot. Football also figured among the top news searches thanks to the rumour mill sparked by the January transfer window, with the search term 'transfer news' the eighth most popular January topic.