Chrome’s Market Share Drops In January; Was It Due To Google’s Penalty?

google-chrome-logoAfter 17 straight months of gains in market share, Google’s Chrome web browser dropped 0.17 percent in January, and the company that tracks browser market share suggests that it’s because Google penalized Chrome after a botched sponsored blog post campaign.

The figures come from Net Applications, which says it tracks about 160 million unique visits per month to a worldwide network of more than 40,000 sites.

According to Net Applications, Firefox and Safari also saw market share losses in January. While they were declining, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer gained 1.09%, its biggest monthly gain in at least two years.

One possible explanation is that a lot of people bought new PC computers over the holidays, and Internet Explorer’s market share grew in January because it’s the default browser there. But that didn’t happen a year ago; in January 2011, Explorer’s market share declined nearly a full percent. (IE did gain in February, 2011, as shown above.)

Net Applications ties Explorer’s gain and Chrome’s decline to the Google penalty which removed Chrome from search results for a number of browser-related search terms. Google penalized Chrome in early January after the company’s own botched sponsored blog post campaign ran afoul of Google’s search/webmaster guidelines.

In my searches this morning, the main Chrome page doesn’t appear on page one for “browser,” “web browser,” “download web browser,” “chrome,” “google chrome” nor “chrome browser.” I’m not sure that’s why Chrome’s market share dropped in January, but it’s an interesting theory to consider at minimum.

(tip via Computerworld)

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Chrome | Google: SEO | SEO: Spamming | Stats: Popularity | 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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  • Aaron Wall

    Ahead of the Firefox deal Google was likely advertising Chrome so aggressively that they were losing money on the ads, so that they would show a higher growth rate and have greater leverage over Firefox when re-negotiating a search deal. After that deal went through for another 3 years Google lost some incentive to aggressively market Chrome (since they are spending nearly a million Dollars a day on the Firefox deal).

  • M. Edward Borasky

    I don’t normally run Windows, and when I do, I almost always run Chrome. But I’m a bit surprised that Firefox is losing share to IE. Firefox has nearly erased the gap with Chrome, and in some cases it’s actually better.

  • D.C.

    Interesting theory.. I guess we will have to wait and see if an actual trend develops. I’m guessing a one time blip on the screen.

  • Jonatha

    Another way to look at this is that Google penalized Chrome for a REASON…meaning that the previous numbers were artifically inflated and the current ones more accurately reflect usage.

  • Glenn Cameron

    Old people use IE and they are looking to vote. I bet you it drops after the election.

  • Sarah

    I was surprised when I initially read that Google was going to limit Chrome, one of its own services. It does promote good rapport for Google as a company – treating its own products and services the same as its competitors. What could have been a PR disaster for Google was well handled, keeping with its “Don’t be evil” mantra.


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