Googles Exciting Ride

    June 28, 2005

Apparently, today is confirmation day for Google. After an impressively product week, results from two studies that were released today indicated what most people all ready know: Google is still king of the search engine heap.

But first, a little recap:

Google’s Exciting Ride

Beginning with Google Earth and going backwards, the search engine introduced the aforementioned Google Earth, a thorough satellite image index of the entire planet for free; been confirmed as the dominant search engine when it comes to traffic generation; awarded “the most visited search engine by US traffic” label from Hitwise

Had their stock break the $300-a-share price barrier; launched a very competitive, browser-based, open source, free video player that some feel may threaten the likes of Microsoft; and last but not least, had information about an online payment system that some felt would challenge PayPal come out.

And this is all in about a week’s time. What’s next on the agenda?

When you look at the numbers of the two reports (Hitwise and WebSideStory), it is quite apparent Google has a firm grip on the search engine industry, and it doesn’t appear to be loosening anytime soon. However, Danny Sullivan points out these numbers may not be as impressive as they seem.

Danny feels the WebSide study illustrates why we shouldn’t get too excited over monthly fluctuations and that these new numbers indicate a level of consistency and not a great deal of change amongst the rankings of the search engines, in a traffic producing sense.

However, the traffic referral numbers do illustrate that Google has a worldwide rate of 52 percent (thanks in great deal to the 90 percent mark turned in by German Internet users) and that 38% of US Internet users use Google to search; although, even these numbers showed less than a 1 percent cumulative change, which also substantiates Danny’s line of thinking.

When reviewing these numbers, something does become clear: Google has quite a grip on the amount of traffic it sends to web sites. Having a worldwide percentage of 52% and the next ranked engine (Yahoo) receives less than half that amount (25.5%) illustrates this quite clearly.

If you take these numbers and couple them with the utilities and features being introduced on what seems like a daily basis by Google, not to mention the impressive performance of their stock, it certainly seems as if Google is in a position not many can match. However, the question becomes: is this a stable position Google is perched on, or is it uneven ground that will facilitate change? Considering the nature of technology, the latter becomes more likely than former.

However, this certainly doesn’t suggest that Google is without chinks in their amour. On going PPC click-fraud issues continue to pester their advertising service. Perhaps this is why Google is considering CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) bidding as an alternative. Issues with Google AutoLink, Google Print, and their moderately perplexing video search service need to be ironed out.

Of course, the numbers from the two studies do not dissuade the competition either. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was not shy in speculating about the success of MSN Search’s new relevancy algorithm. Ballmer feels Microsoft will catch Google, relevancy-wise, within 6 months. However, thoughts from Andy Beal probably sum up the effect this will have:

Relevancy is dead. All of the top search engines are relevant! What matters now is convincing users that your experience is better than your competitor’s.

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