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Google have become well accustomed to breaking every record on the Internet. Whilst Facebook have provided sturdy competition in recent times, it is the search engine that continues to tear up the book when it comes to the level of income and searches achieved.
This time though it is the number of unique visitors that is grabbing the headlines. It has been reported that, for the first time, Google managed to attract one billion unique visitors to its various online properties during May – a year on year increase of 8.4%. That’s around 15% of the world’s entire population all clicking through to the search engine, YouTube and Gmail.
It’s a staggering figure and one that clearly puts Facebook in the shade – albeit for now. In many ways the number of unique visitors is arguably more important to a website like Google than say individual searches and overall visits. This is simply because it reflects a growing awareness of their brand and services, which should be more beneficial as time goes on. For instance, one user could carry out 100 searches each and every day; it may make the overall statistics look, but it’s unlikely to provide any added value –
In second place was Microsoft, who managed to increase their visits by 15% when compared to the same period in 2010, attracting around 905 million unique visitors. Facebook were up by 30%, with around 714 million whilst Yahoo gained 10.8% during May ending up with 689 million visitors.
Whilst the ComScore results aren’t 100% accurate, they are perhaps the clearest indication available of worldwide trends and figures – particularly when you’re dealing with huge sites and hundreds of millions of visitors. They use a system, which is very similar to most television viewing figures, whereby they survey a cross-section of society; in this case, it’s around two million Internet users.
So what’s the significance of reaching the one billion unique visitors mark? Well, there’s certainly no tangible reward, although the benefits speak for themselves. For all Internet companies, the number of people viewing a site (or group of sites) is extremely important. For instance, if you have a website with an analytics package, you want to keep a close eye on unique visits to get an idea of growth – particularly if you’ve invested in SEO. Well the same is largely true of the online giants.
Even whilst other metrics, including conversions and ROI might stall, a rise in unique visits can point towards future increases – not that this is a problem for Google of course.
Search engine technology is evolving, and so is the digital marketing industry. The more experienced professionals amongst you may remember the days of gleefully stuffing keywords into your copy to boost your rankings, blindly spamming strangers to join your email lists and easily securing media coverage for your thinly veiled advertisements.
Site speed is an important area of website optimisation that people working in the world of Search Engine Optimisation are becoming increasingly concerned about.