I recently read in the November/December 2007 issue of Revenue Magazine (pg. 32) that “Hitwise announced that Google accounted for 63.98 percent of all U.S. searches in the four weeks ending September 1, 2007.” Yahoo Search was second with 22.87%, MSN with 7.98% and Ask.com fourth with 3.49%. The Hitwise report was taken from a sample size of 10 million U.S. Internet users.
The significance of Google’s continuing domination of search is evident. More consumers using Google means more competition not only in AdWords but also natural search optimization. The sheer visitor volumes available through the Google channel cannot be ignored. I haven’t seen any new demographic figures lately on the make-up of Google users. A few years ago the user composition was mostly male, professional, and technology-savvy yet I sense that this composition is breaking down with the increase of the overall user base. I think Google represented 35% or so of the search market at the time I gathered the demographic figures so now that it has almost doubled surely the demographic make-up has been altered.
Either way, if you don’t have a firm grasp on how to compete profitably using AdWords and if you’re not sure what’s the difference between the black, grey and white hats of SEO – then I recommend scaling the learning curve quickly. With greater visitor volumes viewing ads you can lose a lot of pay-per-click money quickly and being banned from Google for some bad SEO tactics will not only hurt but could seriously jeopardize your future growth opportunities. With Google representing over 60% of searches, they have a great deal of control over the growth opportunities of many merchants. Handle with care.