comScore Nov. 2007: Google Tops Search Share; Yahoo Holds Steady In Number Of Searches

Continuing on from my earlier post about Nielsen Online’s latest search popularity stats, I’m now moving to those from comScore. For November 2007 — as with Nielsen — it’s the same-old, same-old. Google’s on top, followed by Yahoo and Microsoft. But in terms of raw searches, while Google still shows gains, at least Yahoo can point to six months’ worth of holding steady.

The comScore stats are here, showing the share of all searches handled by the five "core" search engines, as comScore calls them:

  • Google: 58.6%
  • Yahoo: 22.4%
  • Microsoft: 9.8%
  • Ask: 4.6%
  • AOL: 4.5%

Here are the numbers in pie chart format:

comScore Nov. 2007 Search Share

How about the trend over time? Unfortunately, I can’t show a full year. That’s because comScore significantly changed its ratings methodology back in July 2007, making figures they’ve reported in the past not comparable to those from that month forward. But I can show you the last six months:

comScore July-Nov. 2007 Searches Share

The stats show Google continuing to gain share against its two major competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft. However (and per my standard caveats below), in terms of number of searches (rather than the share of the overall pie), Yahoo’s pretty much held its own over the past six months, staying in the 2.3 billion range. Number of searches handled by each search engine, shown in billions:

comScore July-Nov 2007 Searches Trend

Notice in particular the large Google spike in number of searches as of October 2007 (from 5.4 billion to 6.2 billion), which continued into November 2007 (5.9 billion). The best guess (and it is a guess) I have for this change is likely down to heavy Google users returning to school. Of course, other search engines also have school users. But it might be that Google has significantly more of them, enough to register a half-billion searches gain.

Also keep in mind that the total number of searches used for the charts above represent searches only at the "core" search engines, which comScore defines as:

Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.

In total, core searches totaled 10.5 billion in November 2007. In contrast, "expanded" searches that reflect anywhere search activity happens (such as eBay or Craigslist) totaled 13.9 billion searches.

Caveat Time!

As a reminder, my general rules when evaluating popularity stats:

  • Avoid drawing conclusions based on month-to-month comparisons. Lots of things can cause one month’s figures to be incomparable to another month. It’s better to see the trend across multiple months in a row.
     
  • Avoid drawing conclusions based on one ratings service’s figures. Each service has a unique methodology used to create popularity estimates. This means that ratings will rarely be the same between services. However, a trend that you see reflected across two or more services may give you faith in trusting that trend.
     
  • Consider Actual Number Of Searches: While share for a particular search engine might drop, the raw number of searches might still be going up (and thus they might be earning more money, despite a share drop). This is because the "pie" of searches keeps growing, so even a smaller slice of the pie might be more than a bigger slice in the past. See Nielsen NetRatings: August 2007 Search Share Puts Google On Top, Microsoft Holding Gains for a further explanation of this.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: comScore | Stats: Popularity

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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