It’s Google’s search market. You’re just struggling in it.


"We see little to stop Google from reaching 70 percent of market share eventually. The question really comes down to how long it could take?"

— RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan,  March. 2006

Not long at all, turns out. Nielsen Netratings released its No
vember search share rankings
Tuesday revealing that, shocker, Google
continues to holds a comfortable lead. The company’s total market share
of searches now stands at 49.5 percent – a little more than double the
24.3 percent attributed to Yahoo and 6 times that of the 8.2 percent
scrapped up by MSN/Windows Live Search. That’s an impressive metric, but
nearly so impressive as the one being bandied about elsewhere in the
search world: 70 percent. That’s the search market share attributed to
Google by CEO Rich Skrenta based on his own analysis on
referral information from Topix and other major sites. "I’m not a
professional analyst, and my approach here is pretty
back-of-the-napkin," Skrenta wrote in a post to his blog. "Still, it confirms what
those of us in the search industry have known for a long time. The New
York Times, for instance, gets nearly 6x as much traffic from Google as
it does from Yahoo. Tripadvisor gets 8x as much traffic from Google vs.
Yahoo. Even Yahoo’s own sites are no different. While it receives a
greater fraction of Yahoo search traffic than average, Yahoo’s own
flickr service gets 2.4 times as much traffic from Google as it does
from Yahoo."

70 percent – that’s serious market share. And though it might seem a bit
inflated, the truth is it’s probably about right. As most any Web site
operator will tell you, Google is by far
their largest generator of referral traffic.
In the end, that’s the
market measurement that really counts – Nielsen and its ilk be damned –
and that’s ugly news for Yahoo and the picayune MSN and AOL because as
Skrenta notes, that means "Google’s not the competition, Google’s the


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  • JU

    I remember when Altavista was 70% of my search referrals. Google has been doing a bit of shark-jumping with some of their recent products an UI changes, and I’m sure that eventually the costs of maintaining their legacy infrastructure will catch up with them and give competitors an edge.

  • Dr. Diego Rivero

    It should be of interest to know of what value is this traffic? In my usage experience, I avoid Google–not only because of its persistence at planting cookies but also as a result of their indiscrimate jumble of results. It might be of use to the computer illiterate or the habitues of myspace and other such juvenilia, but of what use is mushrooming when utile management of information is absent.

  • Sandybutt

    Yahoo and others were cooked when they were claiming that they wanted to do indexing manually in the beginning! With billions of web pages in the world, this task is like trying to boil the ocean. Not that silly computer scientists haven’t tried before. There was this foolish Phd in Texas that was trying to build a semantic network of ALL knowledge in the world! It’s hard to convince the 70% of the people in this world not to use Google because they might be thought of as illiterate. My guess is that they must be finding what they are looking for!

  • John Robino

    >> but of what use is mushrooming when utile management of information is absent.

    Money, Jim. It’s money.

    But the “utile management” part is up to you.


  • Let us look @ a couple of things related directly to this very fine article…first

    in terms of language GOOGLE has become both a noun and a verb in sentence structure Komrades!!!We use it as a noun when we write:”I used Google as my search engine.” As a verb when we write,”Betty, get Hank to google that section on sexual-harassmentlawsuits.” Thus Google has left behind Yahoo, and AOL with its 70% percent market share of searchs…I rather like their Book Project…kinda like Project Guttenburg but on a much bigger scale…giving fresh homes to MILLIONS of orphan books FOR FREE!!! Awesome…and the Professor in TEXASS who is trying to codify all the knowledge in the world on the net…that is the sort-of-exciting research that is useful…keep on googling me komrades…

  • Some of these posts sound like the old Apple Vs Microsoft folks.

    Who is Google’s Mac? Maybe Microsoft will be Google’s Mac — Gates alluded on the Donny Deutsch show he was going after search in a big way – wonder if he can do it again?

    My server logs have been showing a steady growth of Google search share for the past 5 years (Since I have taken notice). Google has been winning the Search war on my sites. Sites with heavy US traffic (hundreds of search referrals a day) Google commands a 63% to 85% share.