Celebrities, Mortgage Rates, Tax Rebates Top Fastest-Moving US Search Terms

February 1, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Financial Services | Media & Entertainment | Paid Search | Real Estate

With the unexpected death of movie star Heath Ledger last week, US Internet users flocked to the web searching for the latest news. The search term “heath ledger” was the fastest moving search term across all search engines by US Internet users for the week ended January 26, according to Hitwise.

“Ledger” was the highest-ranked term for the Entertainment and News and Media categories as well.

The Fast Moving Search Terms report identifies search terms that have undergone significant increases in the percentage of share of search volume over the previous week:


Also according to the report:

  • Other top fast-moving search terms included – “michelle williams,” Ledger’s ex-girlfriend; “the dark knight,” Ledger’s next movie; and “suzanne pleshette,” the actress who recently passed away.
  • “Michelle williams” and “Suzanne pleshette” were also both ranked in the top 10 fast-moving searches for the Entertainment and News and Media industries.
  • Dana Jacobson, an ESPN Anchor who recently returned from suspension, was the highest ranked term for the Sports category and number five among All Categories and number six for the News and Media category.


  • Rounding out the All Categories list, the term “mortgage rates” made the top 10 Fastest Moving Search Terms as the housing market continues to make news.
  • The search terms “tax rebates” and “tax refund tricks” also made the list as we head into tax season.

The uptick in “mortgage rates” (see chart, above) was likely driven by the Fed’s surprise rate cut, according to a post by Paul Kedrosky, who writes that “mortgage rate” has not been on the fast-moving list in recent years.
“[T]he 4x spike in search traffic drives home how anomalous last week was, and how much pressure people are demonstrably feeling,” he concludes.

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