The Google.com domain continues to distance itself from the competition and has reached an all-time high in U.S. search referral market share.
A study by WebSideStory reports that as of March 23, 2004, Google.com posted a U.S. search referral percentage of nearly 41 percent, up from 35.99 percent on the same day last year. Second place competitor and former leading search referral domain, Yahoo.com, posted a referral percentage of 27.40 percent, down from 30.95 percent on the same day last year. MSN.com placed third at 19.57 percent.
Search referral percentage measures the proportion of visitor traffic a search site sends to other sites on the Web. This can include referrals resulting from paid keywords, unpaid search results, and even banner ads on the search portal’s web site. In compiling the data for this report, WebSideStory relied on a sample size of more than 25 million unique browsers tracked by its network on March 23rd. The Yahoo.com referral percentages do not include referrals from the Overture network recently acquired by Yahoo.
“Google’s share of search referral in the U.S. continues to grow dramatically,” said Geoff Johnston, a WebSideStory analyst who tracks global Internet user trends. “Google finally surpassed Yahoo in late 2002 and the gap is widening. Yahoo has made several strategic moves this year, but it remains to be seen if it can regain the ground it has lost.”
The latest numbers are in stark contrast to Yahoo’s dominant share during the Internet boom of the late 1990s, when Google was barely a player. As of just three years ago, Yahoo had a U.S. search referral percentage of 36.86 percent, while Google posted a mark of only 11.93 percent, according to WebSideStory.