Search Engine Usage Comparisons for 2006

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Here’s Compete’s relative ranking of the top search engines for December 2006.

And here’s comScore’s December 2006 US market share data (6.7 billion total searches).


The two sites disagree on Yahoo! and AOL directionally. For Yahoo! comScore shows a gain; Compete shows a loss of share. Regarding AOL, Compete shows a bit of a recovery while comScore shows further erosion.

To throw in a bit of local search perspective: the local products of the majors are capturing about 1% of the traffic of general search. comScore says local search is 13% of all search but it’s a much bigger number when you consider (per WebVisible-Nielsen research) that as much as 51% of local search queries don’t carry a geographic modifier.

Related: Danny Sullivan’s extensive discussion of Microsoft’s challenge to build share in search. And a long, traffic trend analysis.

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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  • Mike

    Only a guess about the ASK traffic drop. ASK was pushing their search hard on U.S. television up to December as I think back.
    Might suggest the ads worked to bump traffic but the site failed to hold the new users?

  • Loren

    Good point Mike, perhaps non-association with as a shopping engine (as opposed to a resource), vacations and IAC usage had something to do with the drop, unless the stats are inaccurate or off a bit.

  • Jon

    Who does similar tracking of the UK market? I would epxect hitwise or Nielsen to have interesting data. Thoughts?

  • Dan L

    I have adjusted my paid search spend using this data. Do you think it would be wise to put 99% of my paid search budget into the GGL basket?

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Dan, No I don’t think you should put 99% of your budget into the Google basket… not if they only serve 57% of the major paid search results.

    I just posted my thoughts on this at:

    Don’t Put All of Your Search Marketing Budget in the Google Basket

  • Eva Graburn

    Thank you for sharing. Do you have more up to date information about internet usage?