Hitwise: Slight Google Rise In February 2007

Search popularity stats for last month are coming out once again, and I’m diving in with the latest figures from Hitwise. They show Google had a slight rise over the previous month, mainly at the loss of Microsoft Live. The month-to-month figures are below, along with the long term trend for all the major players.

The stats below are for January 2007 and February 2007, showing the percentage of searches each service handled, based on all the searches estimated to have happened within the United States:

Search Engine Jan.
2007
Feb.
2007
Change
Google 63.1% 63.9% 0.8%
Yahoo 21.4% 21.5% 0.1%
Live 10.0% 8.8% -1.1%
Ask 3.5% 3.5% 0.0%
AOL 0.5% 0.5% -0.1%
Others 1.5% 1.8% 0.3%

As you can see, Google had the greatest gain — almost a full percentage. Most of that came off share that Live.com gave up.

Hitwise stats come from data it purchases from ISPs (yes, your ISP does sell traffic data — see here and here for more).

Rival ratings firm Compete also uses ISP traffic data for its ratings. And earlier this month, it reported a somewhat opposite story. Microsoft’s Live was said to have "increased a full point" in February 2007 its share of searches in the United States. Google also was said to have gone up.

Ratings services rarely agree perfectly, and I’m still waiting until we get February figures from NetRatings and comScore before trying to decide if Microsoft was up or down. However, Compete seems to overstate the Microsoft gain.

If you go back to the January 2007 figures from Compete, shares were given to one decimal point, like this:

  • Google: 61.7%
  • Yahoo: 23.1%
  • Live: 8.5%
  • Ask: 3.6%
  • AOL: 1.7%

In Compete’s latest report, the figures for January 2007 were rounded to the nearest decimal point. For Live, that caused it to be rounded DOWN to 8.0 percent in January 2007. As a result, it jumped much higher compared to February 2007. Consider the chart below:

Month

1/07

2/07

Diff

Live: Not Rounded

8.5%

9.0%

0.5%

Live Rounded

8.0%

9.0%

1.0%

You can see the unrounded figure shows Live having a half percent rise. Actually, it might be less than this, since the 9.0 percent figure in February 2007 almost certainly is rounded UP. If it was rounded up from something like 8.6 percent, then the gain is much less than a full percentage point.

Month-to-month changes are interesting, but here’s again my standard caveat:

Look for long-term trends. You want to view stats for several months in a row, not two isolated months compared to each other. Stats can and will plunge from one month to the next for all types of reasons, not the least due to a ratings service itself having some counting glitch. Similarly, comparing back from one month to the same time the previous year might not reflect counting changes that may have happened or been refined over that time. I want a trend line — and a long one.

So how about that long-term trend? According to Hitwise, it’s Google continuing to rise, Yahoo holding steady and Microsoft continuing its slow losses:

Hitwise February 2007 Search Ratings

As I said, figures from Hitwise and comScore should be along soon. When they are, I’ll report on those and then take an across the board review.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: Hitwise | 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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  • http://searchtheweb2.blogspot.com/2007/03/global-search-market-shares-as-of.html Search The Web 2

    Yahoo, Msn and others should improve their search performance soon, otherwise we will end up one and only one search engine. See our illustration here.

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