Running a Google Popularity Contest

Put two terms, spelling variations, animals, vegetables, or minerals head to head in a Google-based popularity contest.

Which is the most popular word? Which spelling is more commonly used? Who gets more mentions, Fred or Ethel Mertz? These and other equally critical questions are answered by Google Smackdown (

Why would you want to compare search counts? Sometimes finding out which terms appear more often can help you develop your queries better. Why use a particular word if it gets almost no results? Comparing misspellings can provide leads on hard-to-find terms or phrases. And sometimes it’s just fun to run a popularity contest.

If you’re just searching for keywords, Google Smackdown is very simple. Enter one word in each query box, a Google Web API developer’s key [Chapter 1] if you have one, and click the “throw down!” button. Smackdown will return the winner and approximate count of each search.

If you’re planning to use a special syntax, you’ll have to be more careful. Unfortunately the link: syntax doesn’t work. Interestingly, phonebook: does; do more people named Smith or Jones live in Boston, MA?

To use any special syntaxes, enclose the query in quotes: "intitle:windows".

The next tip is a little backwards. If you want to specify a phrase, do not use quotes; Smackdown, by default, searches for a phrase. If you want to search for the two words on one page but not necessarily as a phrase (jolly ...

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