Nielsen: Google Hits New Search Share High

April 2008 Nielsen US Search Share

Another ratings service shows Google hitting an all-time high for search share in the United States. This is according to April 2008 search share stats from Nielsen Online that were released (PDF) today. Last week, Hitwise also reported Google hitting a new record. Microsoft also dips below the 10 percent mark for the first time.

Here are the percentage shares for the top five search engines shown in the pie chart above:

  • Google: 62.0%
  • Yahoo: 17.5%
  • Microsoft: 9.7%
  • AOL: 4.3%
  • Ask: 2.1%

Note that in the chart above, traffic from Ask.com-owned My Web Search is not combined by Nielsen with the Ask figure. If it were, the Ask figure would rise to 2.8 percent.

The trend over time? Here’s data going back to November 2007 (data from previous periods doesn’t compare because Nielsen changed its methodology):

April 2008 Nielsen US Search Share Trend

Google hit a new high, up from its previous high last month. Both Yahoo and Microsoft hit new lows after previous lows last month, but Microsoft’s was more dramatic.

How about number of searches versus market share?

  • Google: 5.1 billion
  • Yahoo: 1.5 billion
  • Microsoft: 796 million
    AOL: 352 million
  • Ask: 172 million

The trend:

April 2008 Nielsen US Search Share

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: NetRatings | 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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