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A new year and a new development in the ongoing struggle for search engine market share. Last year we spoke about the turning point when Microsoft’s Bing would overtake Yahoo in terms of US market share; well latest figures reveal they have done so, meaning that 2012 has started off great for Bing, and pretty poorly for Yahoo.
In the UK, the good news for Bing has continued as their share has jumped 0.26% in the last month. All other search engines gained a share of the UK market, with Google being the only one to actually see a drop.
So, starting with the UK search engine market share, the latest statistics from Hitwise (accurate as of 21/01/2012) have revealed that it’s business as usual. Despite Google’s overwhelming majority, the Christmas period and New Year hasn’t been kind to them. Their share has dropped by 0.51% since the end of November 2011 to 90.84% in January 2012, albeit still an incredibly impressive share.
As you can see from the graph and table above, Google still completely dominate the UK search engine market. However the small gains for all other search engines are significant, and actually tell their own stories. For example, Microsoft’s Bing has always been touted as the best search engine to compete with Google, and 2012 has started off well as their share jumped from 3.57% at the end of November to 3.83% in January.
With Google recently introducing ‘Search Plus Your World’ [See: ‘Google Search, Plus Your World’ – An SEO’s Perspective], it could be that changes in terms of market share are reflective of users switching to rival search engines as a result. However we will be able to gauge this more in the coming months. Yahoo, Ask and all other search engines also gained a small share, which is positive all round. Does this mean that the UK market, which has been particularly uncompetitive in recent years, will become a lot more so in 2012? As always we will keep an eye on future developments.
Over in the US, things are heating up nicely in terms of search engine market share. As previously mentioned, the day Bing overtake Yahoo in terms of market share in the US, it will be an incredibly significant moment, as it indicates the rising dominance of one search engine, and the shrinking power of another.
According to figures from comScore, at the end of last year, this is exactly what happened. Yahoo went from having 15.1% of the market compared to Bing’s 15.0% in November 2011 to 14.5% compared to Bing’s 15.1% in December 2011; that’s a small gain of 0.1% for Bing and 0.6% loss for Yahoo. Whilst this doesn’t exactly spell the end of the ailing Internet Company, it does again question what its direction is in 2012 [See: Can Yahoo Turn it Around in 2012?].
Google also experienced a gain of 0.50% this month from 65.40% in November 2011 to 65.90% in December 2011. Ask and AOL stagnated, meaning their shares remain at 2.90% and 1.60% respectively. If January’s Search Engine Market Share is anything to go by, 2012 should be a very interesting time for search engines, so watch this space.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.