Year in Search: What Kenyans Searched for on Google in 2018

Google yesterday released Year in Search 2018, an overview of the searches and questions that drove Kenyans online throughout the year.

The trending searches in 2018 were mainly dominated by events and personalities. Kenyans’ enthusiasm for football was once again seen in the fact that ‘World Cup 2018’ took the top spot in the trending searches, as people went online to find out more about their favourite country teams and players.

News around Sharon Otieno, the slain Rongo University student, also dominated the lists of trending searches and the most searched local personalities in 2018 as Kenyans followed the unfolding updates surrounding her demise.

“Just as Search can help you explore and discover the world of information, there are many ways to explore the year through the lens of Google Search — from overall local stories to global to hundreds of top 10 lists of trending topics across pop culture, sports, music, politics, news, and more ” said Dorothy Ooko, Africa’s Head of Communications & Public Affairs at Google.

Other trending searches during the 2018 Year in Search include Miguna Miguna, during the deportation incident at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in March 2018. Kenyans also went online to search for results of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams for 2018. Manchester United international, Alexis Sanchez, dominated the top 10 searches, as football fans followed news around his intended departure from Old Trafford and strained relationship with manager, Jose Mourinho. The death of Swedish musician and DJ, Avicii, also featured in the top 10 trending searches by Kenyans. The musician behind the hit, Wake Me Up, was found dead as a result of suicide, which sparked conversations about mental health awareness. Black Panther, ninth on the list as well as the ninth highest grossing film of all time, was the only motion picture to feature in the overall trending searches in Kenya.

The trending events was dominated by FIFA World Cup 2018, followed by the swearing in of Raila Odinga as the People’s President in January 2018. The Lunar Eclipse was the third most searched event, followed by the 78-day lecturers’ strike. In fifth place was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding. Kenyans also went online to find out about the KDF recruitment, followed by theWinter Olympics 2018, which came in seventh place. The Migori by-election was the eighth most searched event followed by the polls in Zimbabwe. The general election in Zimbabwe was held on 30 July 2018, eight months after the coup d’etat that unseated Robert Mugabe’s rule in the nation.

The wedding of well-loved Bongo star, Ali Kiba and his wife Amina Khalef, was the tenth most searched event in Kenya.

In the trending ‘How to’ searches, How to file nil returns topped the list, a marked difference from the usual “how to file returns”. In second place was “how to check KCPE results” followed by “how to write an application letter” and “how to make money online”. The fifth most searched how to query was “how to file KRA returns”. As has happened for the past five years, Kenyans searched for information on how to get pregnant, which featured sixth in the top 10 how to searches. This was followed by how to make pancakes, another favourite “how to” query, in seventh place and how to write a report taking the eighth spot in the top 10 how to searches. Other “how to” searches revolved around careers and entrepreneurship as people tried to know how to write an application letter and how to start a business.

In the “What is” category, the trending query was ‘What is lunar eclipse?’ as Kenyans went online to find out about the so-called blood moon which was visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon lined up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon. ‘What is Samantha?’ was the second most searched item in the trending ‘what is?’ category. Samantha is a sex doll developed by retailer Synthea. The third most searched query was ‘What is the Blue Economy?’ as the conference, which brought many countries was held in Nairobi. Blue Economy is an emerging concept which encourages better stewardship of a country’s marine or ‘blue’ resources. ‘What is sex?’ was the fourth trending query showing the push to online as presumably the safe place to get the answer.‘What is riparian land?’ was the fifth trending query. Kenyans wanted to know what is riparian land, as the National Environment Authority (NEMA) marked a number of public buildings for demolition. The sixth trending query was ‘What is Halloween?’ an event that is fast becoming popular in Kenya. ‘What is ovulation?’ came in at seventh place. Kenyans also searched for the third year running ‘What is bitcoin?’ showing the sustained interest in the cryptocurrency. ‘What is communication?’ and ‘What is management?’ came in ninth and tenth place, respectively.

The global lists will be released on the 12th of December 2018 as well as the Kenyan charts and will be found here.

Below is the overview of the top trending 10 searches by Kenyans in 2018:

Top Trending Searches- Kenya

  1. World Cup 2018
  2. Sharon Otieno
  3. Miguna Miguna
  4. KCPE 2018 results
  5. Alexis Sanchez
  6. Samantha
  7. Avicii
  8. Jackie Maribe
  9. Black Panther
  10. Rose Muhando

Top Trending Events 2018

  1. World Cup 2018
  2. Raila swearing-in
  3. Lunar Eclipse
  4. Lecturers’ strike
  5. Royal Wedding
  6. KDF recruitment 2018
  7. Winter Olympics
  8. Migori by-election
  9. Zimbabwe elections
  10. Ali Kiba wedding

Top Trending Global Personalities

  1. Alexis Sanchez
  2. Avicii
  3. Rose Muhando
  4. Meghan Markle
  5. Bobi Wine
  6. Kofi Annan
  7. Pierre-Emerick Emiliano François Aubameyang
  8. Croatia President
  9. Prince Harry
  10. Billy Graham

Top Trending Local Personalities

  1. Sharon Otieno
  2. Miguna Miguna
  3. Jackie Maribe
  4. Babu Owino
  5. Kanze Dena
  6. Okoth Obado
  7. Kenneth Matiba
  8. Kirinyaga Deputy Governor
  9. Monica Kimani
  10. Joseph Kamaru

Top Trending “How To?”

  1. How to file nil returns?
  2. How to check KCPE results?
  3. How to write an application letter?
  4. How to make money online?
  5. How to file KRA returns?
  6. How to get pregnant?
  7. How to make pancakes?
  8. How to write a report?
  9. How to lose weight faster?
  10. How to start a business?

Top Trending “What is?”

  1. What is lunar eclipse?
  2. What is Samantha?
  3. What is the Blue Economy?
  4. What is sex?
  5. What is riparian land?
  6. What is Halloween?
  7. What is ovulation?
  8. What is bitcoin?
  9. What is communication?
  10. What is management?

Trending Searches: What was hot in 2018? The “trending” queries are the searches that had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2018 as compared to 2017.

Facebook Comments

[TechTrends Podcast] Connectivity in Africa ft Africa Data Centres MD Dan Kwach

TechTrends Media Editorial

We cover Technology and Business trends in Kenya and across Africa. Send tips to

Have anything to add to this article? Leave us a comment below

Back to top button