If any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, at the beginning of 2009, had targeted Michael Jackson as a search term, they may just have won the jacko-pot: Google’s annual Zeitgeist report revealed that "Michael Jackson" was the fastest-rising search conducted on its search engine.

The Zeitgeist report lists both the fastest-rising and fastest-falling search terms, basing the measurement on the disparity between each term’s 2008 and 2009 search numbers. Also making the fast-rising list were Facebook, Twitter, Windows 7 and Lady GaGa. Among the fastest-falling search terms of 2009 were Heath Ledger, Barack Obama, and – unsurprisingly – Beijing 2008 and Euro 2008.

Google released by-nation numbers in addition to global figures. "Susan Boyle" was the top search in the U.K., and "Spotify" – a music streaming service – topped the EU rankings. "Windows 7" was Russia’s most popular search, as well as that of Switzerland.

The term "zeitgeist" literally translates from German as "spirit of the times," and is used in English to describe cultural and social phenomena.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.