People love "free"! But what type of free stuff are they looking for?

free images
You can find free images on Unsplash

We all know that people love free goodies (who doesn't love "free", right?). But what type of free stuff are we all looking for on the worldwide web? 

To find out in a snap, let's ask Big G, between quotation marks to make sure we're talking about the exact query. You'll find a leaderboard at the end of the article. I have also added a Google Trends report for each search query (spoiler: most curves are moving downwards, with a few exceptions (SVG, PNG, Presets, LUTs,... We can also notice the impact of the first lockdown on the increasing popularity of a few items).

Free Download

On top of all specific formats (images, PNG, GIF, icons, games, music...), we find the "free download" exact query, the mother-of-all-free-queries: 5.4 billion (!) results. FreeDownloadManager.org leads the pack of organic destinations.

Free Download
Free Download Google Trends
Free Download on Google Trends. The peak dates back to 2010.

I knew that logo makers were popular and that logo design was one of the main traffic drivers for Canva and Fiverr, which is confirmed by the exact query results on Google: close to 8M. 

There's quite a lot of PPC competition on the head term, with Canva, Jimdo, SmashingLogo, BrandCrowd, and Tailorbrands among the main advertisers. 

If you want to go niche, "free monogram" (svg, font, maker,...) gets 776,000 results at time of writing.

free logo
Free Logo Google Trends
Free Logo on Google Trends

Free Courses

Elearning / Edtech is a huge market. You can find plenty of affordable courses on Udemy, Skillshare, Khan Academy, Masterclass and a long tail of niche marketplaces but people are still looking for "free courses", as confirmed by the 12.7M results displayed on Google.

Free Courses on Google Trends
Free Courses on Google Trends

Free Music

Even if Spotify, Apple Music or Deezer have made unlimited music streaming very affordable, for a flat monthly fee, there are still people who are looking for "free music", which gets 66.5M results on Google. 

Free Music
Free Music on Google Trends, the clear impact of legal streaming sites
Free Music on Google Trends, the clear impact of legal streaming sites

Free Games

"Free Games" (online or downloadable) is also a very popular search query: 31.9M results. 

free games
Free Games on Google Trends, same curve as for Free Music
Free Games on Google Trends, same curve as for Free Music

Free Video

Here's another popular media format for free stuff hunters: "free video". 117M results on Google. If you dive into specific video-related queries, you'll find "Free Anime" with 20,400,000 results, "Free Cartoon" with 8,300,000 results, "Free Film" with 9,760,000 results and of course "Free Streaming" with 74,300,000 results.

free video
Free Video on Google Trends, same curve as for Free Music and Free Games
Free Video on Google Trends, same curve as for Free Music and Free Games

Free Images

"Free Images" is one of the most popular free-related queries on the web: 104 000 000 results on Google for the exact query. "Free Photos", a bit more restrictive, gets 61,200,000 results. Another type of images, "free illustrations" gets 5.4M results. You can also search for "free textures", a popular category on CreativeMarket, with 400,000 results.

free images
Free Images on Google Trends, decreasing but quite stable over the last 5 years
Free Images on Google Trends, decreasing but quite stable over the last 5 years

Free Printables 

People love to print planners, journal templates, diet programs and all sorts of other PDF they can fill out for various purposes. "free printables" gets c. 22 500 000 results on Google.

Free Printables
Free Printables on Google Trends
Free Printables on Google Trends

Free SVG

People are also looking for "free SVG", for instance to use them with Cricut cutting machines or to create T-Shirts for Print On Demand platforms like RedBubble or TeeSpring. "Free SVG" gets 7.2M results on Google.

Free SVG
Free SVG, hot trend
Free SVG, hot trend

Free PNG

Along with animated GIF, PNG is by far the most popular image format these days, used for scrapbooking, collages, social media images, messaging stickers, etc. "Free PNG" generates 66 million results on Google.

Free PNG
Free PNG, same kind of trending curve as for Free SVG
Free PNG, same kind of trending curve as for Free SVG

Free Clipart

You can find free PNG clipart images or free SVG clipart images. People love those cutout images for scrapbooking, cutting machines and plenty of other creative endeavours. The "free clipart" query gets 8.3M results on Google.

Free Clipart, a dying query even if there are still 8M+ legacy results on Google
Free Clipart, a dying query even if there are still 8M+ legacy results on Google

Free Icons

Free Icons can be PNG or SVG. I love The Noun Project for instance where you can find more than 1M different free icons (and pay a small fee if you want to use them without attribution for commercial purposes). We have 8.5M results on Google for "free icons".

Free Icons
Free Icons, same trajectory as for Free Cliparts
Free Icons, same trajectory as for Free Cliparts

Free Fonts

Fonts have always been an essential component of great design. Which explains why the exact query "free fonts" gets a lot of love on Google, with 10 million results.

free fonts
Free Fonts, same downwards trajectory as for Cliparts and Icons
Free Fonts, same downwards trajectory as for Cliparts and Icons

Free GIF

I would have thought that "free GIF" would have been a more popular query. We "only" see 995,000 results for the exact "free GIF" between quotation marks. "Free Animated Gif" gets 389,000 results. 

Free GIF
Free GIF, losing steam
Free GIF, losing steam

Free Templates

Not everyone can start from a blank page. Most people need a template. "Free templates" gets 7.5M results on Google, with Canva.com ranked #1! They're the Kings of Template Land.

Free Templates
Free Templates on Google Trends
Free Templates on Google Trends

Free Website

Building a website is quite affordable in 2021. But there are people who don't want to pay a dime for their web presence. 79.9M results for "free website" on Google. The most popular associated terms are domain, hosting, Wix, create, WordPress and... templates.

Free Website
Free Website curve on Google Trends
Free Website curve on Google Trends

Free Presets

Adobe Lightroom is a popular software for photographers. If you want to accelerate your workflow, you'll need presets and you can get them for free. 875,000 results on Google.

free presets
Free Presets, going up North, as SVG and PNG
Free Presets, going up North, as SVG and PNG

Free Brushes

"Free Brushes" are another type of popular add-on, both for Procreate and Photoshop. The exact query gets 642,000 results. "Free Procreate Brushes" = 76,400 results and "Free Photoshop Brushes" = 494,000 results. There's a huge secondary market for Adobe products! 

Free Brushes
Free Brushes, the peak was in 2010
Free Brushes, the peak was in 2010

Free LUTs

LUTs (Lookup Tables) are very popular among photographers and film makers, for color grading purposes . They enable you to convert colour values to change the aspect of your photo or video. You can create your own presets or download readymade LUTs... for free (65,300 results on Google, which isn't that competitive). 

Free Luts
Free LUTs, less activity than Free Presets but following a similar trajectory
Free LUTs, less activity than Free Presets but following a similar trajectory

Free Prints

Printing photos can be expensive. So people are looking for "Free Prints" which gets a lot of love on Google, raking in 1.6M results. 

Free Prints

There are tons of other "free stuff" queries typed everyday by Google users. This article could be as long as a book (and I'll probably add more examples in the future). In  the meantime, let's sum up what we've encountered so far, in a neat leaderboard featuring 20 entries.  

Free Prints on Google Trends
Free Prints on Google Trends

"Free Stuff" Queries Leaderboard

  1. Free Download: 5.4B results
  2. Free Video: 117M results
  3. Free Images: 104M results
  4. Free Website: 79.9M results
  5. Free Music: 66.5M results
  6. Free PNG: 66M results
  7. Free Games: 31.9M results
  8. Free Printables: 22.5M results
  9. Free Courses: 12.7M results
  10. Free Fonts: 10M results
  11. Free Icons: 8.5M results
  12. Free Clipart: 8.3M results
  13. Free Logo: 7.9M results
  14. Free Templates: 7.5M results
  15. Free SVG: 7.2M results
  16. Free Prints: 1.6M results
  17. Free GIF: 995K results
  18. Free Presets: 875K results
  19. Free Brushes: 642K results
  20. Free LUTs: 65K results

If you have other ideas for free-related queries, just leave them in the comments below.





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