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Top Google search terms by African country, 2011

December 16, 2011  »  WebOne Comment

Intrigued by BizTechAfrica’s post “What Zimbabweans search for online,” we decided to take examine 2011’s Google search trends for all sub-Saharan African nations with available data (there are 37 of them). Additionally, Google Zeitgeist includes trends from Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.

Google Insights for Search lists the top 10 search terms in addition to top 10 rising searches over a given time period for Web, Image, News, and Product searches. Assuming Google is used by the typical African web user, we can get a feel for the web culture of a given nation. For example, are searches targeted or are they generic? Are they more tech-inclined or focused on news or celebrity? How popular is Facebook or YouTube?

In general, the insights are not all that surprising. Searchers are most likely to search for their country. At the same time, nationalism seems to be giving way to the phenomenon that is Facebook. Across 15 of the 37 nations, searchers are more likely to Google “facebook” than any other term. Also popular are web searches for “download,” “telecharger,” and “yahoo”. The high rank of “download” is interesting considering the general lack of sufficient bandwidth across the continent.

“Youtube” is a top web search term in Angola, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Senegal, and South Africa. Out of the 37 nations with sufficient search data, only two – Benin and Burkina Faso – do not have “youtube” in the top 3 web search positions. However, the term still ranks fourth and fifth most popular, respectively. Again, interesting, considering many areas like Mauritania do not yet have the bandwidth needed to successfully stream online videos en masse.

Also interesting is the prevalence of searches to translate content in Francophone nations like Senegal, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi. Such a trend suggests the need for more local content in these nations.

Top rising search terms (those expressing high levels of growth compared with 2010) varied slightly, but often centered on Facebook and Libya. Additionally, the website WAPTrick often appeared in the list – a sign that most Googlers in Africa are using mobile devices. Trends from the largest Google markets – Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa – are not too different from 2010.

Image searches for a user’s home country, like web searches, take the top spot. Also high in the mix are “women” and “love”. In fact, “love” is an extremely popular image search term in Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Somalia, and Tanzania. Clearly, most Google searchers in Africa are male, but more interesting is how searchers are looking for images of love rather than articles about love.


Top: angola, facebook, download, 3hg, jogos, youtube

Rising: libia,,

Images: angola, imagens, mulheres, luanda, imagem, messi


Top: benin, telecharger, proxy, facebook, france, yahoo

Rising: google chrome, idm,

Images: logo, image, benin, photo, images, naruto


Top: botswana, facebook, yahoo, news, mail, lyrics

Rising: big brother amplified, boys over flowers, gaddafi, psle results 2011

Images: botswana, images, africa, women, love, rihanna, car

Burkina Faso

Top: burkina, faso, yahoo, burkina faso, telecharger, facebook

Rising: kadhafi, libye,

Images: burkina, image, burkina faso, photo


Top: burundi, facebook, yahoo, news

Rising: traduction,

Images: burundi


Top: cameroun, facebook, yahoo, telecharger, google

Rising: wapdam, waptrick

Images: cameroun, naruto, rihanna, photo


Top: facebook, congo, yahoo, telecharger, mail

Rising: congo brazzaville,, youtube

Cote d’Ivoire

Top: telecharger, facebook,, yahoo, jeux

Rising:,, google traduction

Images: image, photo, logo, homme, nokia


Top: facebook, news, eritrea, arsenal

Rising: libya,

Images: love


Top: facebook, ethiopia, yahoo, download, news

Rising:, libya, facebooklogin, wapdam

Images: ethiopian, pictures, love


Top: gabon, facebook, yahoo, telecharger, youtube

Rising:, opera mini

Images: image, gabon, naruto, rihanna


Top: facebook, gambia, download, news

Rising: facebooklogin, libya, vybz kartel, waptrick



Top: ghana, download, facebook, yahoo

Rising: facebooklogin, lovingyou, airtel, twitter

Images: ghana, pictures, logo, love


Top: facebook, guinee, yahoo

Rising: facebook, skype, campus france, hotmail


Top: kenya, facebook, download, yahoo

Rising: muliro gardens, soy tu duena, airtel, fb

Images: kenya, pictures, images, girls, love


Top: lesotho, facebook, gmail, yahoo, news

Rising: facebooklogin, mxit, hotmail


Top: facebook, madagascar, yahoo, mail, youtube

Rising: web2sms airtel, airtel, facebook connexion

Images: madagascar, photo, logo, image, fille


Top: facebook, malawi, yahoo, nyasatimes

Rising: facebooklogin, fb, malawi voice, opera

Images: pictures, malawi, girls


Top: mali, facebook, telecharger, yahoo

Rising: kadhafi, libye, le bon coin

Images: mali, rihanna, image, lil wayne


Top: facebook, youtube, telecharger, google

Rising: allocine, mappy, pages jaunes

Images: messi, mauritanie, photo, ronaldo


Top: facebook, mauritius, download, youtube, games

Rising: games, liverpool, livescore, mcb

Images: mauritius, wallpaper, pictures, logo, girl


Top: facebook, download, mocambique

Rising: kadhafi, libia, rebelde, caras e bocas

Images: imagens, nokia, mulheres, mocambique, toyota


Top: facebook, namibia, news, yahoo

Rising: libya, log in facebook, rugby world cup

Images: pictures, namibia, love


Top: niger, facebook, yahoo, telecharger

Rising:, photo,

Images: niger, image, photo, messi


Top: nigeria, facebook, news, yahoo

Rising: facebooklogin, 2go, airtel

Images: pictures, nigeria, logo, images, man


Top: rwanda, download, facebook, kigali, google

Rising:, umuseke, jobs in rwanda

Images: rwanda, kagame, igituba, rihanna


Top: facebook, senegal, telecharger, youtube

Rising: facedakar, pages jaunes, translate

Images: senegal, photo, image, modou lo

Sierra Leone

Top: sierra leone, download, facebook, yahoo

Rising:, bbc


Top: download, facebook, somali, google

Rising: download manager, hadhwanaag,

Images: somali, somaliland, somalia, love

South Africa

Top: facebook, how to, facebook login, gmail, youtube

Rising: whatsap, fnb online,, blackberry, mxit

Images: pictures, girls, south africa, hot


Top: facebook, photos, download

Rising: tubidy, nimbuzz, opera

Images: photos, girls, sudan, movies


Top: swaziland, facebook, south africa, download, how to

Rising: youtube, games,


Top: tanzania, facebook, download, yahoo

Rising: loliondo, osama

Images: tanzania, pictures, picha, love


Top: togo, telecharger, facebook, yahoo, google

Rising: gbagbo, google traduction, translate

Images: togo, image, logo


Top: uganda, facebook, download, yahoo

Rising: libya news, gaddafi, facebooklogin

Images: uganda, pictures, images, logo, black


Top: zambia, facebook, yahoo, news

Rising: kachepa, tumfweko,, facebooklogin

Images: pictures, zambia, images, wallpaper, rihanna


Top: facebook, zimbabwe, news

Rising: gaddafi, mujuru, opera mini, facebooklogin, mxit

Images: pictures, zimbabwe, images, facebook, girls