It’s search popularity stats time, now that the figures are in from all the major ratings services. I’m starting off with those from Nielsen Online, the former Nielsen NetRatings. For November 2007, they show the usual picture — Google leading the pack, followed by Yahoo and Microsoft.
You’ll find the press release here (PDF format), showing the top ten most popular services. Here are the top five:
- Google: 57.7%
- Yahoo: 17.9%
- Microsoft: 12.0%
- AOL: 4.5%
- Ask: 2.7%
The figures above are the percentage of all US searches handled by the leading search engines. Here are the numbers in pie chart format:
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 3.8 percent.
Normally, I do a trend chart showing changes over the past year. However, Nielsen changed (PDF file) how ratings are compiled as of October 2007. That means figures from before that month are not comparable with those afterward. I also don’t do month-to-month trends for the reasons covered in my caveats, below. So, after a few months, trends for Nielsen will return when there is enough to compile a proper trend.
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.