Google, Yahoo Maintain Consistent Growth

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With the proliferation of the search engine industry into everyday life, a number of institutions now measure the growth of search, much like you would test for television ratings.

The prominent company when it comes to studying industries like these is Nielsen//NetRatings, who just released a study of search engine growth (PDF) during the first two quarters of 2005 and the results were not surprising… at least from Google and Yahoo’s perspective. To arrive at its conclusions, the study measured the amount of searches each engine in question conducted during the two quarters.

The Nielsen report reveals what many who follow the industry expected: Google and Yahoo continuing to experience consistent growth and remain the industry leaders. MSN Search on the other hand actually experienced a 4% loss between the two quarters in question, losing 60,000 searches during this period. Surprisingly, AOL and Ask Jeeves (read the interview with the Jeeves butler) experienced a healthy amount of search increase, giving them an impressive growth rate between the time period studied by N//N.

The study also indicates both Ask and AOL experienced double digit growth between the quarters, with AOL growing by 15%. Ask Jeeves also saw an increase of searches, giving the resilient engine a growth rate of 16%. However, of these 5, Ask’s volume of searches was the lowest, conducting 467,525 queries out of 25,112,886 (the total amount of searches conducted during Q1 and Q2). Commenting about the study, Ken Cassar, director of strategic analysis, Nielsen//NetRatings, offered:

“While growth in searches was modest among the Big Three’ search engines, the fourth and fifth biggest search engines, AOL and Ask Jeeves, grew three times as fast. While it’s far too early to say that Google needs to watch its back, a resurgent AOL makes the game a lot more interesting.”

Nielsen’s study also highlighted the search vertical responsible for these levels of growth, image search. According to the study, between quarters 1 and 2, image search was main vertical responsible for the growth for four of the five engines. The biggest beneficiary of the image search increase is MSN who experienced a 90% increase between the two quarters.

In case you are wondering, Google was once again at the top of the mountain with the most total searches during the Q 1 and 2 (11,825,440, which represents almost half of the 25 million cumulative searches). Google has also gained a 47% share (2,032,227) of the total searches conducted during June 2005. What follows are tabled representations of the study’s findings:

Table 1. Search Growth for Top 5 Search Engines, Q1-Q2 2005:

Search Engine Q1 2005 Searches
Q2 2005 Searches
Percent Change
Google 5,737,097 6,088,343 6%
Yahoo! 2,576,473 2,798,123 9%
MSN 1,659,235 1,590,049 -4%
AOL 562,816 646,641 15%
Ask Jeeves 216,656 250,869 16%
Overall Total 12,263,765 12,849,121 5%

Table 2. Top Search Engines by Share of Searches, June 2005 (U.S., Home & Work):

Search Engine Searches (000) Share of Searches
Google Search 2,032,227 47%
Yahoo! Search 965,644 22%
MSN Search 540,687 12%
AOL Search 237,408 5%
My Way Search 78,821 2%

Table 3. Main Drivers of Search Growth for Top 5 Search Engines, Q1-Q2 2005:

Provider/Vertical Q1 2005 Searches (000) Q2 2005 Searches (000) Percent Change
MSN Image Search 9,305 17,694 90%
AOL Image Search 5,718 9,935 74%
Yahoo! Image Search 92,403 143,643 55%
Ask Jeeves News Search 450 637 42%
Google Image Search 482,629 541,843 12%

To learn more, please read Nielsen//NetRatings’ thorough breakdown. (PDF)

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

Google, Yahoo Maintain Consistent Growth
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    It’s odd to see that other search engines are experiencing growth. Not to say I’m conducting any experiments but almost everyone I know at work, university, etc using google or yahoo exclusively. I think that more tech savvy people would use these two search engines as apposed to the others.


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