May 2010 Search Engine Rankings Show Movement In Search Queries

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Each month comScore puts together search engine ranking information, analyzing the US marketplace using their qSearch methodology and database. It’s a good indicator of not only the intricate dance that the major search engines continue to do overall, but also provides info on the number of search queries plus the number of search queries for 20 or so of the top properties themselves. Although the overall percent rankings don’t usually change that much from month to month for the major search engines, those for specific properties do.

For May, as compared to the figures for April, once again Yahoo! Sites showed the most positive change of the top core search entities, with a 0.6% increase (from 17.7% share of searches to 18.3% share), while Google again lost about as much (64.4% down to 63.7%), Microsoft had a slight increase (11.8% to 12.1%), and both Ask and AOL again each dropped 0.1% (3.7% to 3.6% for Ask; 2.4% to 2.3% for AOL).

There’s a little more movement in the figures for number of search queries for specific properties. All of the largest properties showed increases between 3% and 6% over the month, compared to slight drops or stable figures during April. For example, Bing’s search queries rose 4%, and Google (with 0% change in April) was up 3%.

The individual properties followed by comScore were much more stable through this time period than last. Fox Interactive Media, for example, dropped 23% in April, but in May only dropped 1%, from 312 million to 310 million searches. MySpace also dropped just 1% (versus 23% in April). Amazon Sites continued their overall increase at 14% from 245 million searches in April to 280 million in May. Although Amazon deals in many items other than ebooks, it’s interesting that the debut of the iPad hasn’t appeared to have an immediate negative impact on searches to their sites. Facebook took a slight hit, down 2% from 624 million searches to 609 million, perhaps as a result of fallout from the controversial privacy changes.

As I’ve said before, with all statistics, caution is warranted. There is always a margin of error lurking in the background that can change things if it applies. Plus, over time, many of the properties seem to just trade the same percentage points back and forth. But, the comScore stats are one that you should make a habit of keeping an eye on, given that they are an ongoing analysis of the state of the internet (at least in the US) and, since they are based on the same set of research points each month, they are an excellent source whose data can safely be compared from month to month. Here’s a link to their Press Releases area of their site where you can check out the results of their latest studies (you can even sign up for an RSS feed of their press releases if you want to receive notice when the results of such items as their monthly search ranking report is released).

About the Author

Frances Krug has worked in market research since graduating from UCLA with an MA and CPhil in Latin American history. As an editor and online content provider for the last 7 years, she currently is Associate Editor at iNET Interactive, where she also directs Search Marketing Standard's email marketing program.

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