Research & Insights

Google Search Trends Insights September 2020


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In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for September 2020.

Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month.

September 2020 At a Glance

In September 2020, we saw that sports-related keywords took up many of the top 3 queries on a daily basis. Out of the 90 we collected for the month, 48 of them were about a sports team, event, or athlete. There was so much interest in sports that we saw peculiar results in what Google Trends reported on two days of the month. On September 11 and 22, the same phrase was repeated twice as the second and third most popular query of the day:

  • Naomi Osaka – 9/11/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Naomi Osaka – 9/11/2020 – 500,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/22/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/22/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries

The AMP team is not sure what happened here or why there was a glitch. Since we look at these phrases every day, we have noticed that the results can vary from day to day. The top 3 can be different in 48 hours from the first time we check it, which is typically the next morning.  This is the first time we have seen the top 3 have duplicates in two days of the month.

Politics were the other big category for keyword volume where the first Presidential debate drove searches. Lastly, video games and a fast food chain’s celebrity meal made for interesting data points that we will showcase later on in this article.

The Top Queried Phrases (Mostly Google Doodles)

As is typical, many of the keyword phrases that drove over 10 million queries in a day were connected to Google Doodles. These queries are recorded whenever a user clicks on the Doodle and is brought to a result page for the user to learn more about the subject. The one exception happened on the 18th with the news of Ruth Bader Ginburg’s death.

  • Labor Day – 9/6/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries
  • Terry Fox – 9/12/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries
  • Felicitas Mendez – 9/14/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 9/18/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries
  • Jovita Id√°r – 9/20/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries
  • Google – 9/27/2020 – 10,000,000+ queries

There was a Doodle created to commemorate Labor Day.  We’ve seen this kind of Doodle for other holidays like the 4th of July, but there were no other related queries to the holiday unlike what we covered for the Fourth in our July Search Trends post

Terry Fox was a Canadian athlete and humanitarian who, after losing his leg to cancer, decided to run across his country to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. This first run was called the “Marathon of Hope ” and is now celebrated each year since 1981 on September 13th were people can walk, run or cycle as a part of the Terry Fox Run.

On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020, Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer Felicitas Mendez was celebrated. She led and won the lawsuit that resulted in the first US federal court ruling against public school segregation in 1946.

Another Google Doodle celebrated Jovita Id√°r, who was a pioneer in the fight for Mexican-American civil rights at the turn of the 20th century.

Finally, Google’s declared birthday is September 27th and they celebrated with a Doodle.  Happy 22nd birthday!

Political Queries

As we reported last month, we are seeing an increase in the number of queries related to US politics making the daily top 3 due to this year’s Presidential Election. Here is the list of the most popular ones from last month:

  • Amy Coney Barrett – 9/25/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Presidential debate – 9/27/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Debate – 9/28/2020 – 5,000,000+ queries
  • Presidential debate – 9/28/2020- 5,000,000+ queries
  • Presidential debate – 9/29/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Trump – 9/30/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries

The announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee drove queries on the 25th. Then, the topic of the Presidential debate really motivated people to query Google as debate-related keywords stayed on Google Trends’ top 3 for three days straight. Knowing that this year’s Presidential debate didn’t have as many viewers as the one in 2016 did (73 million vs. 84 million viewers), we pulled charts to see if the search volume levels followed the same pattern.

presidential debate 5 years
Looking at the past 5 year trend on “presidential debate”, the 2020 timeframe actually had higher search volume. We then researched the trend for “debate” over the past 5 years.

debate 5 years

Looking at this phrase’s 5 year trend, we saw that the 2016 Presidential debate drove more query volume than this years.

When we looked at data from 2004 to present on each of those phrases, the 2012 debate was the winner in terms of search volume.

presidential debate all timedebate all time

McDonald’s Celebrity Meals

Last month, McDonald’s revitalized their celebrity meals program and announced their first one since Michael Jordan’s in 1992.

  • Travis Scott McDonald’s – 9/8/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries

Supported with TV commercials, Travis Scott’s favorite Mikey D’s order made the top most queried phrases on September 8th. This phrase was the first one that fit into the AMP Team’s category of “Food” since last year when the restaurant chain WingStop was giving out free wings on July 29th. We’re fascinated when marketing a new promotion gets enough momentum to drive people to search for more information about it. We’ll keep an eye on Google Trends to see if other McDonald’s celebrity meals are as popular.

Video Games

There were two big news releases about video game systems in September 2020.

  • PS5 pre-order – 9/16/2020 – 5,000,000+ queries
  • Xbox Series X pre order – 9/21/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries

The PS5 has made the top 3 queries in both April and June of 2020. The Xbox made its debut last month. Without knowledge of query volume from previous months, you can see that the more popular system is Sony’s Playstation. Brands should closely inspect the amount of search volume their products receive as compared to their competitors as a part of their own brand health analysis.

The NFL Returns And So Do The Queries

In August, we were amazed at the query volume the NBA was getting and wondered how it would fare once the NFL came back to playing live games. Well, the league’s return certainly made an impact into our daily collection. Here are the top phrases across the month:

  • NFL – 9/9/2020 – 5,000,000+ queries
  • Eagles – 9/12/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Tom Brady – 9/13/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • NFL Scores – 9/13/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Dallas Cowboys – 9/13/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Steelers – 9/14/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Broncos – 9/14/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Thursday Night Football – 9/17/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Patriots – 9/20/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Packers – 9/27/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Chiefs – 9/28/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries

The term “NFL” has seen steady search volume growth since 2004:


With no pre-season games and other sports competing for attention, the phrase “NFL” underperformed last month when compared to September 2019. We’re wondering if we are seeing a shift in search behavior this year. We’re keeping an eye on this trend line to see if October 2020 will outperform September 2020 as fans get more acclimated to this weird season.

On the NBA side of the sports keyword universe, the AMP team felt nostalgic to see the battle between the Celtics and Lakers in the daily top three keywords.

  • Celtics – 9/3/2020 – 500,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/4/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/5/2020 – 200,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/6/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/7/2020 – 500,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/9/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/11/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/17/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/18/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/19/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/22/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/22/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/24/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries
  • Celtics – 9/25/2020 – 500,000+ queries
  • Lakers – 9/26/2020 – 1,000,000+ queries
  • Lakers -9/29/2020 – 2,000,000+ queries

Although they didn’t meet each other on the court during the 2020 NBA playoffs, it was nice to see them competing in Google Trends. (Beat L.A. in 2021!)

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Until next month.

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