Analysis of top-100 customer queries by traffic on Shutterstock

June 30, 2021 / by Taras Kushnir

Have you ever wondered what is the most searched content by customers? If yes, you came to the right place, since we just finished analyzing top 100 queries to Shutterstock. Of course, lots of them have hundreds of thousands or even millions of search results, but did you know there are golden nuggets in there?

What is Shutterstock

Shutterstock is one the top-tier microstock websites that even despite recent earnings restructuring is staying in the 3 top-earners for fellow microstock contributors.

You can read more about Shutterstock here.

How to use the data

This is an example of data presented in the newsletters: (1K = 1,000; 456K = 456,000)

# Search Shutterstock Traffic Existing Results Google Volume
1 example query 123 456k 789k

green - highlighted as “better” option
red - highlighted as “worse” option
neutral - not highlighted
- good potential

Search: What customer enters into the search field.

Shutterstock Traffic: (Higher number is better) Estimate of average organic search traffic per month generated by this page on Shutterstock. Calculated as estimated search volume of Search multiplied by the Click-through Rate (CTR) of the URL/website with search results. This allows to estimate how many customers are truly interested in the topic.

Existing Results: (Lower number is better) Amount of results of Search on Shutterstock (already created content) also known as “existing competition” or “niche saturation”. The more results - the harder for new content to get noticed.

Google Volume: (Higher number is better) Estimate of monthly search volume of the same Search phrase in Google. This shows total public interest in the Search (for example, on other microstocks too).

Note: data presented in the queries is not the exact data (which is available only inside Shutterstock or other microstocks), but an estimate received after analyzing ClickStream databases. While it does not show exact number, it is very useful for relative comparison inside each niche.

List of top 100 Shutterstock searches by Traffic

# Query Shutterstock Traffic Existing Results
1 2019 2020 2021 calendar 84.4K 8.5K
2 blue background 43.1K 45.9M
3 islamic background 35.2K 1.6M
4 old granny 29.4K 40.7K
5 thank you 28.9K 334.7K
6 3d wallpaper 27.6K 2.4M
7 green screen background 22.9K 286.5K
8 large question mark 22.7K 2.2K
9 instagram logo 22.2K 14.6K
10 good morning 21.0K 299.8K
11 black background 18.6K 43.1M
12 facebook logo 18.5K 15.2K
13 red background 17.7K 36.7M
14 hd wallpapers 17.0K 78.7K
15 background png 16.5K 229.2K
16 nature background 16.0K 79.7M
17 free background 15.3K 2.1M
18 older women fun 15.2K 31.0K
19 cute baby 15.1K 4.3M
20 eid mubarak 14.7K 303.9K
21 gold background 14.3K 9.5M
22 plain background 13.9K 1.2M
23 fathers day 13.7K 469.9K
24 beige color 13.4K 1.3M
25 shiva 13.0K 92.0K
26 esports gaming logo 12.9K 26.9K
27 diwali 12.7K 249.1K
28 glitter background 12.6K 4.6M
29 png 12.6K 279.5K
30 plain white backgrounds 12.6K 583.6K
31 merry christmas 12.4K 4.4M
32 background 11.8K 222.4M
33 green plus sign 11.3K 30.6K
34 yellow background 11.1K 28.1M
35 bmi chart 10.9K 528.0
36 royal blue background 10.3K 256.3K
37 solid black background 10.3K 812.2K
38 nature wallpaper 10.3K 13.1M
39 smoke png 10.2K 7.8K
40 red black background 9.9K 6.9M
41 black background presentation 9.9K 946.5K
42 attractive chubby girl 9.8K 15.1K
43 light background 9.7K 40.5M
44 peach color 9.7K 290.6K
45 ugly woman 9.5K 25.4K
46 whatsapp logo 9.2K 4.2K
47 smiley face 9.1K 214.3K
48 happy easter 9.1K 979.6K
49 human leg 9.1K 430.8K
50 pink dino 9.0K 3.4K
51 rainbow background 9.0K 2.6M
52 s logo 8.9K 382.0K
53 fire background 8.8K 2.7M
54 motivational quotes 8.8K 621.3K
55 birthday background 8.7K 4.6M
56 cute baby girl 8.7K 1.6M
57 happy birthday 8.6K 2.5M
58 wallpaper 8.6K 46.9M
59 orange background 8.6K 15.3M
60 galaxy 8.5K 1.4M
61 anime background 8.5K 85.6K
62 camera logo 8.4K 171.6K
63 white background 8.4K 106.2M
64 mom and son 8.3K 380.3K
65 15 year old girls 7.7K 4.3K
66 gamer logo 7.7K 28.9K
67 light blue background 7.7K 13.2M
68 wood texture 7.6K 6.4M
69 thanksgiving 7.5K 808.5K
70 easter background 7.5K 2.2M
71 dragon 7.4K 738.9K
72 photography logo 7.4K 116.7K
73 female pooping 7.3K 1.7K
74 transparent 7.3K 5.7M
75 happy new year 2020 7.2K 251.9K
76 radha krishna 7.2K 4.6K
77 scary face 7.1K 433.2K
78 christmas 7.1K 14.8M
79 happy thanksgiving 7.1K 157.9K
80 unicorn 7.0K 216.9K
81 fire png 6.9K 9.9K
82 curly braces 6.8K 3.4K
83 tree silhouette 6.8K 1.9M
84 hindu god 6.7K 242.9K
85 gamer background 6.6K 97.0K
86 indian independence day 6.5K 54.1K
87 background design 6.4K 97.7M
88 black cat silhouette 6.4K 129.6K
89 ugly man 6.4K 44.8K
90 golden background 6.4K 8.3M
91 red arrow 6.4K 496.4K
92 esport logo 6.3K 31.4K
93 kiss 6.3K 903.2K
94 nike logo 6.3K 20.6K
95 krishna 6.2K 42.3K
96 religious easter 6.2K 191.3K
97 green background hd 6.1K 25.2K
98 twitter logo 5.9K 6.5K
99 pink background 5.8K 17.1M
100 hanuman 5.8K 19.4K


There are not 1 or 2, but whooping 12 great content opportunities only within these first hundred most popular queries! Those are queries that are used by customers most of the times and still have relatively low competition. Out of these 12, there are few outstanding ones:

  • large question mark, 2.2K existing results
  • bmi chart, 528 existing results having 11K traffic
  • whatsapp logo, 4K existing results
  • pink dino, 3.4K existing results with 9K traffic
  • twitter logo, 6.5K existing results and 5.9K traffic
  • radha krishna, 4.6K existing results
  • female pooping, 1.7K existing results
  • curly braces, 3.4K existing results

Except of those, it’s interesting to see what customers are searching in general.

Color backgrounds

Backgrounds on Shutterstock
Backgrounds on Shutterstock

Apparently very many customers need backgrounds. Mainly blue (also light blue, royal blue), but also black (also solid black), red, white, yellow, green, orange and golden backgrounds. Sad though that there are millions of already created black backgrounds, with barely any room for creativity over there.

Non-color backgrounds

Non-color backgrounds
Non-color backgrounds

Also customers search for non-color backgrounds like:

  • islamic
  • nature
  • plain
  • glitter
  • rainbow
  • fire
  • birthday
  • anime
  • easter
  • gamer

All queries scoring hundreds of thousands existing results. As a special mention, query transparent with 5.7 million results.


Logos on Shutterstock

There are multiple popular queries with regards to logos:

  • instagram
  • whatsapp
  • facebook
  • esports gaming
  • camera
  • nike
  • twitter


Thanksgiving images on Shutterstock

There are few popular queries with regards to holidays:

  • christmas
  • thanksgiving
  • new year
  • diwali
  • eid mubarak


[Old granny] images on Shutterstock

There are different popular queries with regards to people:

  • old granny
  • cute baby
  • ugly woman
  • smiley face
  • mom and son
  • ugly man
  • kiss
  • human leg
  • scary face

Creatures and gods

Pink dino
[Pink dino] images on Shutterstock

Customers need images of various mythological creatures and gods:

  • pink dino
  • shiva
  • dragon
  • unicorn
  • hindu god
  • krishna
  • hanuman


Question mark
[Large question mark] images on Shutterstock

There’s a lack of content here, which is being searched by customers:

  • large question mark
  • curly braces
  • red arrow

First page of results of these queries

There’s a second stage of this research published on PetaPixel. There we investigate the portfolios that rank on first page of these queries.


Even though we looked at only the first hundred of most popular queries, we have found lots of opportunities for high-demand and low competition content creation. This is simply nuts, given the amount of traffic that these pages receive. Now that this information is public, you might need to hurry up to fill in those gaps!

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