Best Search Engine In Canada? Hitwise Says It’s Bing

In a detailed report about the Canadian search landscape, Hitwise says Bing is the best search engine at producing “successful searches,” beating out both Google and Yahoo, as well as their Canada-specific search engines.


The chart above, provided specifically to Search Engine Land, shows that Bing is the 6th most popular search engine in Canada, but has the best success rate at 78.61%. That’s about 2% better than Yahoo Canada (, and more than 6% better than Google Canada (

It’s important to understand how Hitwise defines a “successful search”:

“A successful search is defined as one where the consumer leaves the search engine after performing a search.”

You could make the argument that some searches are successful even if the user doesn’t leave the search engine, especially considering the availability of search shortcuts and “instant answers” that sometimes show up on a search results page. But without knowing how many queries lead to shortcuts and answers, there’s no way to gauge their impact on these Hitwise numbers. Plus, it’s quite possible that searchers still leave the search engine even when a shortcut appears, which would further minimize their impact on the definition of a successful search.

Overall, Hitwise says an average of 70% of searches across all search engines in Canada were successful in the 12 weeks leading up to June 27, 2009. As you’d expect, though, when Canadian searchers add a geographic modifier to a query — such as “wedding dresses canada” instead of just “wedding dresses” — the percent of successful searches goes way up.

Oddly, though, Canadian searchers seem to lag behind U.S. searchers when it comes to the complexity of their search queries. Hitwise says more than half of Canadian search terms contain only one or two words.


The chart above shows that Canadian searchers use one- or two-word queries 51% of the time. That’s less than UK searchers, where the number is close to 60%, and more than the U.S., where 43% of searches had only one or two words.

Other interesting pieces of data from the Hitwise Canada Search Report:

  • When you combine the .com, .ca, and other domains, Google powers 80% of searches in Canada. MSN is second with 9% (combining Bing and, and Yahoo third with 8%.
  • The top 17 search terms used in those four weeks leading up to June 27th were all navigational — searchers looking for specific web sites like Facebook and YouTube.
  • Canadians are bigtime gamers. The top non-navigational English search term was “games” and the top French search term was “jeux,” which also means “games.”
  • Search engines are the largest traffic source for web sites in Canada: 33% of all web site visits in June came from a search engine.

Back to the headline of this article … it’s worth remembering Greg Sterling’s article yesterday about how U.S. searchers say Google is the best search engine. The Hitwise data reported here isn’t based on a consumer survey, but on measuring searcher behavior. You can’t help but wonder what Canadian searchers would say if they were surveyed about search satisfaction. Would the results match what we’re reporting here?

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Google: Web Search | Microsoft: Bing | Stats: Hitwise | Stats: Relevancy | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Stupidscript

    It’s hard to give these statistics any consideration when they fail to acknowledge that Bing powered Live and MSN during the reporting period, and now Yahoo as well … treating them as separate search entities. It’s more of an illustration of portal user data than search engine user data.

    Secondly, when people abandon a search engine, it’s not necessarily because they found what they wanted … it could easily be that they switched over to a different engine because they were NOT finding what they wanted.

    Finally, what’s the error rate? + or – 3% would pull Google and Bing dead even.

    Lies, damned lies and statistics … still unreliable after all these years.

  • nickstamoulis

    This is a great win for Bing, it should be interesting to see if this trend continues for Bing CA…

  • jacklaros

    Habits are stronger than anyone would admit. Even if google gives me “bad” results, I’m gonna do 2 things:
    1. Refine my search
    2. Go the search results inner pages.

    what I wouldn’t do:
    1. Change search engine. I mean, google needs to be DOWN or fill with junk to convince me doing that.

    In addition – Bing lacks so many websites and inner pages that I’m not even trying to use it more than I have to.

  • Smith Bill

      Google is best.Google is a search engine that makes heavy use of link
    popularity as a primary way to rank web sites. Users across the web have
    in essence voted for good sites by linking to them.Please visit 2ezasia Website.

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