All entries for Wednesday 06 September 2006

September 06, 2006

Internet Search Growth and Market Share

Writing about web page

There are two ways of measuring the growth of the search markets, survey panels and web-server log data. Both these have been revealing significant growth.

Neilson//NetRatings Survey Panels report 55% annual growth to Dec ’05 against a 3% growth of US searchers. Hitwise, from their ISP & 500,000 web-site logs data, report Google’s UK searches were up 77% in the year to Nov ’05. Most indicators show Google gaining share with all the competitors holding position as they grow.

The search ranking sites differ as to the absolute market share of Google.

ComScore Networks and Neilson//NetRatings have Google at 43% and 48% respectively in March ’06 using survey methods.

WebSideStory using webserver log data has Google up at 55% in the US and 75% in the UK, Feb ‘06. Hitwise supported the UK figure showing 75% in March ’06 also using webserver data.

Two main differences stand out.

1. That Google is stronger in the UK is clearly shown in WebSideStory’s comparative data.
“Even more so in the U.K. than in the U.S., when people think of search, they think of Google,” said WebSideStory, Chief Marketing Officer, Rand Schulman.

2. The web server log file data shows a stronger Google share than the panel based surveys.

There are two possible reasons for the difference between panels and web server logs. Some panel results show unique visitors per day/week/month and underreports search volume. This is not true of Neilsons/NetRatings who project total daily search volumes. The pure server log file results will underreport visits to sites that don’t employ SEO professionals such as news and TV sites. Hitwise also use Internet Service Provider data to fill in this gap.

John Battelle in his book The Search, characterised Yahoo! as taking the human, contemporary, approach to Google’s technical, academic approach. Yahoo! has focussed more on Big Brother and reality TV shows. This supports an underreporting of Yahoo! referrals in server logs.

This analysis confirms that UK engineering companies should concentrate on Google.

This is supported by search engine referrals to

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