Search Stats You Need to Know & The Bible of the Search Industry

In The Trenches is a weekly spotlight of tips, tricks, and news about the tools search engine marketing professionals use to give them a leg up on the competition. Today: news from the search engines, today’s in-depth look: search stats you need to know (August 2008), not-so-light reading: the bible of the search industry, and this week’s free tips and tools.

News from the search engines

Google AdWords: Happy 10th Birthday, Google

So, you’re turning ten, eh? Well, let me say a few words starting with “thank you”. Google, for all of the fussing and complaining I may do at times, I’m glad you and I met. Not just for the amazing search engine that has certainly impacted the internet in a tremendously positive way, but for leading the charge on privacy, data driven marketing, transparency, etc. Without you, my job wouldn’t be as interesting as it is. So thanks again for that. Oh yeah, and thanks for my Google mini-fridge, too. It doesn’t get drinks that cold but it is the best vendor perk I have when you consider all of the useless mugs, notepads, and heavy pens out there. Now, about that Google Labs t-shirt…

In recognition of reaching ten years, Google has launched a microsite which features a timeline of Google’s of happenings over the last decade. Here’s a sample of the (almost useless) trivia you will learn when you visit:

Happy 10th! Your card and five dollar bill are in the mail.

Microsoft: now four ads above organic listings

As reported on the adCenter Community site by my favorite MSNer, Carolyn Miller, Microsoft will now be showing a fourth ad in what they call the mainline area which is above the organic listings (I’ve heard it called premium space). If you’ve ever seen a heat map for a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), is a really high exposure area…i.e. good real estate. Ms. Miller explains in her post:

With this update we’re increasing the ads shown from up to 8 per page to up to 9 per page, which means there is an additional ad placement opportunity for you to vie for in the adCenter auction. In addition, the top two mainline ads will continue to receive essentially a two-for-one ad placement, since they will also display at the bottom of the page in the U.S. Check out the new addition on Live Search.

We’ve made this change in response to your feedback asking for more clicks for your ads – our test results show that displaying a fourth mainline ad, and also displaying the top two mainline ads again at the bottom of the page, increases clicks to these ads. Over the last several months we’ve been optimizing our paid search ad layouts to help drive increased revenue for your ads, and provide a positive search experience for users.

Can’t say this really “pushing the envelope”, but it probably will move the meter for Microsoft a bit as being in fourth place isn’t that bad anymore so advertisers will bid up to take advantage of that position.

In depth: search stats you need to know – August 2008

This column, In The Trenches, is for the search engine marketing pro. Yes, I do cover the basics on occasion, but even hardened veterans have admitted to finding some good nuggets here so I’m hoping new and intermediate level search marketers find it helpful. To further this goal, in this post, I wanted to highlight what I consider to be some of the most important data for our industry that all SEM pros should know. You may not know exactly what today’s gas prices at your local station, but you know that it would be high if I told you they were five dollars a gallon, and you also know if I said three dollars that it would be a bargain. I’m hoping to raise the familiarity of these search statistics in the same way. I don’t expect you to list them off verbatim, but at least you know the ballpark figures.

These stats are right from some of the top sources in the industry such as Hitwise, comScore, eMarketer, etc so please click their links and check out everything they have to offer.

August 2008 U.S. search engine rankings By comScore qSearch 2.0

In August 2008, Americans conducted 11.7 billion core searches, virtually unchanged from July, as Google Sites extended its lead in core search market share by 1.1 percentage points.

August 2008 U.S. search engine rankings By comScore qSearch 2.0

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations Share of Searches (Aug 08) Google Sites – 63% Yahoo! Sites – 19.6% Microsoft Sites – 8.3% Ask network – 4.8% AOL LLC – 4.3%

Search: online advertising spending in the United States, 2007 – 2013 (in billions) Forecast by eMarketer, August 2008

Includes paid listings, contextual text links and paid inclusion; eMarketer benchmarks its US online advertising spending projections against the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)/PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) data, for which the last full year measured was 2007.

Search spending 2007 $8.8 2008 $10.4 2009 $11.9 2010 $13.9 2011 $16.6 2012 $20.4 2013 $23.8

Search % of total online ad spending 2007 41.5% 2008 41.8% 2009 41.7% 2010 41.4% 2011 41% 2012 40.8% 2013 40.3%

Top 10 industry search terms – August, 2008 By Hitwise US

The terms listed below are ranked by volume of searches that successfully drove traffic to websites in the Hitwise All Categories category for the 4 weeks ending August 30, 2008, based on US Internet usage.

1. myspace – .78% 2. craigslist – .42% 3. ebay – .36% 4. – .29% 5. youtube – .26% 6. facebook – .20% 7. mapquest – .18% 8. yahoo – .18% 9. – .12% 10. craigs list – .09%

Top 10 fast moving search terms – August, 2008 by Hitwise

This list features the search terms for the industry All Categories, ranked by largest relative increase for the week ending August 30, 2008, compared with the week ending August 23, 2008.

1. sarah palin 2. hurricane gustav 3. dancing with the stars 4. how to get a tax refund 5. sarah palin vogue magazine 6. palin 7. democratic national convention 8. gustav 9. for sale 1972 plymouth satellite 10. michelle obama

Average search CPC data by category for Q2 2008 Reported by ClickZ based on an Efficient Frontier study

A look at the average cost-per-click in search by vertical in the U.S. for August 2008, compared to prior months. Data and research are provided by Efficient Frontier. (“Total finance” includes auto finance, banking, credit, financial information, insurance, lending, and mortgage.) Each vertical contains data from multiple advertisers.

Total Finance – $2.66 Mortgage – $2.68 Auto Finance – $1.60 Insurance – $12.13 Travel – $0.72 Automotive – $0.57 Retail – $0.44 Dating – $0.43

Search engine use Pew Internet & American Life Project

The percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one-half (49%). With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day.

Free read of the week: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Written by Google co-Founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, I consider this document one of the books of the search marketer’s bible. It outlines their idea which would eventual become Google. So, I thought, with the company turning ten, I’d like to share this with those who haven’t read it or haven’t read it in a while. It’s not a light read, but it’s written to be read easily. It’s not the most exciting page-turner, but if you’re a SEM pro, I hope you’ll at least find it interesting. If anything, it captures the spirit and passion of these two guys when they were just regular people like you and I. Stanford University, where the two future Googlers met, hosts this “definitive paper by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page describing PageRank, the algorithm that was later incorporated into the Google search engine.”

Here is the first part of the paper, the abstract, so enjoy:

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page {sergey, page} Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305


In this paper, we present Google, a prototype of a large-scale search engine which makes heavy use of the structure present in hypertext. Google is designed to crawl and index the Web efficiently and produce much more satisfying search results than existing systems. The prototype with a full text and hyperlink database of at least 24 million pages is available at To engineer a search engine is a challenging task. Search engines index tens to hundreds of millions of web pages involving a comparable number of distinct terms. They answer tens of millions of queries every day. Despite the importance of large-scale search engines on the web, very little academic research has been done on them. Furthermore, due to rapid advance in technology and web proliferation, creating a web search engine today is very different from three years ago. This paper provides an in-depth description of our large-scale web search engine — the first such detailed public description we know of to date. Apart from the problems of scaling traditional search techniques to data of this magnitude, there are new technical challenges involved with using the additional information present in hypertext to produce better search results. This paper addresses this question of how to build a practical large-scale system which can exploit the additional information present in hypertext. Also we look at the problem of how to effectively deal with uncontrolled hypertext collections where anyone can publish anything they want. Keywords: World Wide Web, Search Engines, Information Retrieval, PageRank, Google

Continue reading on the page where it is still hosted at Stanford.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Josh Dreller is the Director of Media Technology for Fuor Digital, an agency concentrated in the research, planning, buying and stewardship of digital media marketing campaigns. Josh can be reached at The In The Trenches column appears Fridays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Search Marketing Toolbox


About The Author: has been a search marketer since 2003 with a focus on SEM technology. As a media technologist fluent in the use of leading industry systems, Josh stays abreast of cutting edge digital marketing and measurement tools to maximize the effect of digital media on business goals. He has a deep passion to monitor the constantly evolving intersection between marketing and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @mediatechguy.

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