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Each month the statistics for search engine usage are published for the world to digest and reflect upon. Whilst the numbers may only marginally fluctuate from month to month, the outright leader always remains the same – Google.
Internationally Google dominates search. According to the latest figures, supplied by ComScore, they have secured almost two thirds of the US market, weighing in with 65.4% of the combined 13.8 billion unique searches. Yahoo achieved only a quarter of that, with a diminished share of 18% whilst a resurgent Bing fell just short of double figures with 9.9%. The rest, which includes AOL and Ask, account for the remaining 6.70%.
In the UK the story is much the same; however the numbers are very different. The Google stranglehold is even stronger, with the search titan gaining 88.74% of all traffic (this is according to the latest Hitwise statistics). In a very distant second place is Yahoo, which has a mere 5.51%, and Bing, with just 2.89%.
There has always been a gap between the search engine usage of UK users and their American counterparts, which is perfectly evidenced by a post we did two years ago – Top Search Engine Share. Even in that relatively short timeframe Google has gained 12% of the UK market share and 6% in the US, whilst all the while their rivals have slowly slipped back. All the while though, US searchers have still apportioned a good deal of attention to the major competitors (notably Microsoft and Yahoo), far more so than their UK equivalents.
So if ever there was an incentive to get your website ranking on Google, these statistics certainly provide it. Yahoo only account for one in every 18 searches on this side of the pond, that’s a full 15 times less than Google. Bing, despite the gains it has made since replacing the woeful Livesearch, lags even further behind and is almost half as popular again.
Of course there is only so much information you can glean from these statistics. For example they don’t tell us which search engines people use when looking to make a purchase, find news or to do research – the real nuts and bolts of consumer research. What they do highlight though is the importance of getting noticed in the right place. With almost 89% market share, Google is the obvious search engine to target your SEO efforts towards, but Bing and Yahoo – particularly with a merger still in the pipeline – shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Internet is a changeable arena. Companies come and go, whilst consumer habits are subject to instantaneous change. We will be keeping you informed of the latest search engine facts and figures, highlighting the most important changes and how they could affect your SEO and PPC focus.
Arguably the most interesting area to monitor in the coming months and years will be whether the UK ever starts to emulate the more diverse US search pattern. Perhaps the reverse may be true and Google will increase its market share in the US and further diminish the share for Microsoft and Yahoo (if they continue in search). As Bing continues to update [see: Bing to Ring the Changes] and will be incorporated into Yahoo (again, assuming this deal is ratified in 2010), can it provide a more purposeful opponent to Google in the US and UK markets. Keep watching this space for the latest analysis.