Chitika: We Got Google’s Local Search Number Wrong

Last week I wrote an article with the headline: Study: 43 Percent Of Total Google Search Queries Are Local. This was based on Chitika network data. The article was widely cited and linked to. Unfortunately it was wrong.

Earlier today Chitika contacted me with the correction. The original methodology used to determine the percentage of local searches and local-mobile searches on each of the major engines had the impact of inflating these figures for Google in particular. Chitika said the numbers for Yahoo and Bing were more accurate upon review. However the Google numbers have been revised substantially downward.

The chart immediately below reflects Chitika’s new local traffic (PC + mobile) calculation from each engine. The chart at the bottom of the page shows the new breakdown of local traffic coming from the PC vs. mobile devices.

Here’s the company’s explanation of what happened:

Over the weekend, following Greg Sterling’s article on Chitika Insights’ local search traffic study published on 10/5, we noticed some inaccuracies regarding the data used for this report. Namely, local traffic on Google was determined to be 19% lower than was originally represented, putting it on par with the figures seen from Yahoo! and Bing. Additionally, the mobile vs. non-mobile breakdown shows Google more in line with the other search engines, as seen in the updated graphs below. This error occurred due to a data pipeline issue for our mobile sector, which has since been corrected with additional safe guards being put in place to ensure accuracy in future studies. As with all of our reports, Chitika Insights employs a rigorous set of technical checks to ensure these types of inaccuracies do not occur, and we apologize for the error.

The previously published chart showed 74 percent of Google’s local traffic coming from mobile devices. The corrected chart (above) shows that number to be only 16.37 percent. To be clear this isn’t saying that 16 percent of Google’s overall mobile traffic is local. Rather it’s saying that the 16+ percent figure represents the overall local traffic on Google attributable to mobile devices.

Google itself previously indicated that 40 to 50 percent of mobile search traffic carries a local intent.

If you have any questions or comments Chitika is happy to receive them at press[at]

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Scott Ensign

    Not to nitpick here, but they weren’t off by 19%. They were off by 19 percentage points. The original number was actually inflated by almost 80%. That’s a pretty big oops.

  • fred funk

    nice job of fact checking before publishing such a significant number.

  • Clayburn Griffin

    Need to revoke all the backlinks they got.

  • Greg Sterling

    Us or them?

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