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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Games" (online or downloadable) is also a very popular search query: 31.9M results.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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).
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.
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 Stuff" Queries Leaderboard
- Free Download: 5.4B results
- Free Video: 117M results
- Free Images: 104M results
- Free Website: 79.9M results
- Free Music: 66.5M results
- Free PNG: 66M results
- Free Games: 31.9M results
- Free Printables: 22.5M results
- Free Courses: 12.7M results
- Free Fonts: 10M results
- Free Icons: 8.5M results
- Free Clipart: 8.3M results
- Free Logo: 7.9M results
- Free Templates: 7.5M results
- Free SVG: 7.2M results
- Free Prints: 1.6M results
- Free GIF: 995K results
- Free Presets: 875K results
- Free Brushes: 642K results
- Free LUTs: 65K results
If you have other ideas for free-related queries, just leave them in the comments below.