UK search focus: November

Black Friday ensures shopping searches

The Black Friday phenomenon occurs because it is seen as the start of the festive shopping season. It generally falls the day after Thanksgiving in the US, and is marked by stores opening for longer and offering deals.

In the UK, it is more of an online affair, with retail traffic at its highest point of the year. The pandemonium regularly spreads across the weekend, and has even led to a new day dubbed 'Cyber Monday'.

Several retailers enjoyed a search boost, although not all for the right reasons. Tesco Direct, Debenhams, Toys R Us, Currys, Smyths and Amazon could all conceivably attribute their search leap to a high number of festive shoppers.

However, Comet makes the list as a result of its virtual collapse, with many stores closing and a large number of jobs lost.

Newly-released computer game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was a hugely popular query in the UK throughout November, after an extensive ad campaign and much-hyped launch.

Who's making headlines?

A couple of months ago, the UK's search story was dominated by one woman, as those photographs of Kate Middleton spread like wildfire across the web. This month, we have a very different female celebrity monopolising the attention of the nation's Googlers.

The public's apparent amusement at Helen Flanagan's regular failed attempts to secure any food for her fellow contestants when faced with various jungle critters on the reality show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here meant she featured in a brand new story every day, ensuring search queries remained steady for a sustained period. Interestingly, searches did begin to tail off once she started to achieve some success in her trials.

Boxer Ricky Hatton was also a much-searched news topic this month, after his comeback fight ended in disaster with a ninth-round knockout at the hands of Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko. The Hitman's subsequent second retirement ensured his search queries received a further boost.

In other sports news, Chelsea Football Club gained much attention, with peaks during November when they became embroiled in a racism row with referee Mark Clattenburg, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and again when they controversially sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Formula One was also regularly looked up as the season drew to an exciting conclusion, culminating in Sebastian Vettel taking the title at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Robbie Williams enjoyed three peaks in his news search volume throughout November. He first hit the headlines after his new single 'Candy' was omitted from the Radio One playlist, with the station branding him "not relevant".

His next surge came when his album rather made a mockery of Radio One's stance by reaching number one. Finally, his tour announcement at the end of the month also sparked another burst of searches from eager ticket-hunters.

Seasonal images

November's Google Image Search contains a high number of seasonal queries, with 'poppy' at number two. Naturally, these queries slowly increased in the build up to November 11, before skyrocketing on the day itself and then fading almost immediately.

'Christmas tree', 'Santa' and 'Christmas' also figures on the list, suggesting that many people are starting to think about their plans for the holidays. 'Fireworks' also enjoyed a high number of searches at the start of the month, while 'moustache' also sneaked in at number ten as men presumably sought inspiration for Movember.

Next month is certain to feature a high number of Christmas and New Year searches, but as this month shows it does not take a great deal for a celebrity to gain plenty of attention on Google, so you never know which surprise entrant may crop up.