Words and phrases related to the economic slowdown are being looked for online a "dramatic" amount more than one year ago, according to new search engine optimisation research.

Analysing Americans’ search behaviour, comScore Marketer discovered terms such as "unemployment benefits" and "coupons" were sought more than double the number of times in December 2008 compared to the same month in 2007.

"Unemployment benefits" searches went up by 247 per cent, "unemployment" increased by 206 per cent and "coupons" by 161 per cent.

Other terms included "bankruptcy", which was looked for 156 per cent more times than in December a year prior.

It was also found that those aged between 45 and 54 were making the biggest share of searches for the word "unemployment", followed by consumers aged 35 to 44.

"Search volume using terms relating to the economy has ballooned over the past year," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Online behaviour has come to reflect the interests or concerns of Americans."

Meanwhile, earlier this month saw the company announce the results of its Core Search Report, which discovered Google sites handled 8.5 billion US searches out of 13.5 billion in total in January 2009.

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