• http://www.enquisite.com Richard Zwicky

    Hi Danny,

    We’ve noticed a similar Google drop. In our numbers we’ve seen a drop in overall %, and in overall volume of searches.

    However, while Yahoo, MSN, ASK have also all dropped in overall search volume, their drops have been proportionately less marked than Google; hence Google’s drop appears more significant, as an overall percentage of search traffic.

    In our data Yahoo and MSN both appear up based on overall percentage of searches, although their actual overall volumes are down. Hence the MSN uptick in the Compete chart you’re looking at.

    In some industries, sites appealing to the edu sector in particular, we don’t see much movement for MSN, but we see a dramatic rise in Yahoo’s percentage of traffic.

    The reason for this change in traffic patterns is actually quite simple, and not altogether surprising: students. We actually see Google have drop-offs at all major holidays, and in certain categories of sites, we even see it every weekend.

    Students go offline for summer in June; while Universities and Colleges let out in April and May, secondary and primary schools finish in June. What happens is this deographic of user gets a lot less active online, and a lot more active offline. They still use their Yahoo mail, Facebook, MySpace accounts, but spend less time on everything. Spending less time online means less searching.

    Google’s so dominant in the student population, when students go online less (they’re working, playing sports, etc…), Google search traffic is the most impacted.

    Please let me know if you would like any additional information.



    Richard Zwicky

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/wordpress/ Michael Martinez

    This is the second month in a row that major search statistics providers have indicated a drop in Google query traffic. It’s too soon to know what these drops mean, as Google’s Queries-To-Visitors ratio has typically been about 3 times higher than for Yahoo!, Live, and Ask.

    Still, gains in query share when compared to Google’s loss in query share may signify a peak event for Google’s search performance. We’ll have to keep our eyes on the numbers for a few more months before we can be sure of anything.

  • http://www.onthetiles.blogspot.com Johnny T

    Danny – speaking of trend lines, I would LOVE Google Analytics to add trend lines to their graphical interface. A simple toggle on/off to show trends over time would be sweet.
    I think this would be useful in reporting to my management team in showing site performance over time – because I’ve been in meetings when some have freaked over a ‘sudden’ drop in traffic from one month over the previous, etc…

  • joe

    Could it also be indicating that Yahoo and Live are indeed catching up? I rate Yahoo just as good as Google (if not better) in the entire search experience, while Live might be a tad behind in the relevancy part, but they have improved leaps and bounds indeed in the page load time as well as relevancy compared to what they were about 6 months back.

    Anybody else notice this?

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Two quick thoughts:
    – Is Compete’s graph measuring overall traffic, or search traffic? Regarding the drop in Yahoo traffic, I wrote a post about this last year:
    My guess was that Yahoo switching to AJAX webmail meant that pageviews dropped a lot according to metrics. As long as users are happy, pageviews don’t matter much at all.

    – Rather than showing percentages, it would be nice if Compete would estimate the queries on each engine separately. It could be that the Club Giveaway is generating a ton of additional queries to Live but queries to other engines aren’t affected much. I tried the Chicktionary game, and it essentially gives you letters like a Scrabble tile, and you type in any words that you see. The version on Live essentially does a search on Live every time you type anything, so playing the game for 2 minutes might generate >50 searches. I’m not knocking on MSN–I think it’s a fun idea, and maybe it will generate some follow-on search loyalty. But Google could modify the Google Image Labeler game to run a search for every label you typed in, for example. That would generate a lot of searches to Google and an uptick in Compete’s metrics, but wouldn’t mean much else.

    If Compete offered (say) a bar chart with the estimated searches for each engine, that would make it easy to tell if Live was generating a ton of additional searches, and how the absolute number of queries to any engine was changing over time.

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Just fyi, Compete has posted a new graph that tries to exclude the searches from the Live Search Club:

    I still wish that Compete would try to give absolute estimates instead of just search share percentages, but that’s their call, I guess.