Search: Tell Them How-To Do It

    August 6, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

People want to know how to tie a necktie and would really like their favorite search engine to give them a hand.

We may be in the midst of the greatest deployment of knowledge to the world. That’s a good thing, because it looks like the little lessons one might expect people to know haven’t followed them through life.

Hitwise general manager of global research Bill Tancer showed up outside his usual blog haunts on his employer’s domain. He is on explaining how four weeks of searches showed a couple of things about Americans:

1) We’re way too comfortable asking a search engine about anything, and;
2) We don’t seem to have a comfortable grasp on some very basic concepts.

Here’s the top ten how-to requests Hitwise found for US searches for the four weeks ended July 21st:

1. How to tie a tie
2. How to have sex
3. How to kiss
4. How to lose weight
5. How to write a resume
6. How to levitate
7. How to draw
8. How to get pregnant
9. How to make out
10. How to make a video

Number six, of course, is quite easy in principle, less so in execution: first, get airborne; second, stay there. On a serious note, there are some things a search engine probably isn’t going to be able to help anyone do.

Quite a few WebProNews readers reside in the U.K. We cherish their visits, and understand they may indulge on occasion in taking a friendly swipe at Americans. Before they do so based on the above list, they need to take a look at what Hitwise analyst Heather Hopkins found when she looked at UK Internet searches for how-to:

1. How to write a cv
2. How to have sex
3. How to
4. How to get a six pack
5. How to kiss
6. How to make money
7. How to draw
8. How to lose weight
9. How to save a life lyrics
10. How to get to

Mock not, lest ye be mocked. ‘How To Save A Life’ lyrics? Ugh.