Search Engines’ News Sites Seeing Growth Spurts

    October 20, 2008

The economy’s problems have, in some corners, elicited comparisons between now and 1929.  Other experts don’t even use the word "recession."  However, it looks like the people in charge of the news sites run by Google and Yahoo are in a good position to visit the completely opposite side of the spectrum and focus on some silver linings.

Hitwise’s Robin Goad studied the matter, and found that the UK versions of Google News and Yahoo News have seen big traffic increases in recent months.  These came despite slides leading up to June or so.  At that point, both sites actually appeared to be in danger of getting overrun by MSN News UK.

Peter Astiz
 News Sites Benefiting From Economic Slide
(Credit: Hitwise)

Now, Google’s got a bit of a lead in more than one sense.  Goad writes, "[H]ow much do their news sites rely on traffic from their own properties?  In each case the answer is: a lot.  Yahoo! News UK is the most reliant on its own properties, which accounted for 84.6% of its upstream traffic during September.  At 81.6% the number was similar for MSN, but Google came in noticeably lower at 67.2%."

This could be taken to mean that the offerings from Yahoo and Microsoft depend on corporate support, while Google News UK is more popular with outside entities.  Google News UK might be able to grow even more through self-promotion, but if not, the situation is still pretty ideal so long as those outside entities don’t change their minds.

One last round of stats Goad provides: "Google News UK sends 54.25 [percent] of its traffic to our News and Media category, but then that is its purpose.  The figures are 8.9% and 8.6% for Yahoo! and MSN respectively, although that should be considered traffic leakage rather than a positive thing."