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Jan. 2005 Nielsen NetRatings Search Engine Ratings

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The Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Search reporting service measures the search behavior of more than a million people worldwide. These web surfers have real-time meters on their computers which monitor the sites they visit. This metered information is compiled to produce NetRatings results. Below are statistics about searching from NetRatings provided to Search Engine Watch:

Share Of Searches: January 2005

The table below shows the percentage of online searches done by US home and work web surfers in January 2004 that were performed at a particular search engine. Internal site searches, such as those to find material within a particular web site, are not counted in these totals. The activity at more than 60 search sites makes up the total search volume upon which percentages are based.

Search
Engine

Searches
(Millions)

Percent Of All Searches

Google

1,923

47.1%

Yahoo

868

21.2%

MSN

523

12.8%

AOL

194

4.7%

Netscape

75

1.8%

Ask

73

1.8%

My Way

58

1.4%

iWon

43

1.0%

EarthLink

37

0.9%

My Search

34

0.8%

Others

258

6.3%

Total

4,086

100.0%

Note that the figures are search-specific but probably not necessarily web-search specific. More about this is explained on the comScore search engine ratings page. Also note that some companies own more than one search site. This means searches at different sites may be combined into one overall figure for the company's entire network. I'm confirming what's included in the figures above, but below are my current assumptions. Remember, in all cases, only activity by those in the US is measured, even if those in the US go to a site run by a company outside the US, such as Google UK.

  • Google: Shows searches at any Google-branded web site such as Google.com or Google Images.
  • Yahoo: Shows searches at any Yahoo-branded web site such as Yahoo.com or Yahoo Local. Probably does NOT include searches at the Yahoo-owned sites of AltaVista, AllTheWeb and Overture.
  • MSN: Shows searches at any MSN-branded web site such as MSN Search.
  • AOL: Shows searches at any AOL-branded web site such as AOL Search. Does NOT include searches at AOL-owned Netscape Search (this is on the chart separately) or probably other AOL-owned sites.
  • Ask: Shows searches at Ask Jeeves but probably not Ask Jeeves-owned Teoma. Does NOT show searches at the Ask Jeeves-owned sites of MyWay.com, iWon and My Search. These are shown on the chart separately.
  • Earthlink: Shows searches at Earthlink.
  • Other: Shows searches that occur at other search sites not named on the chart. Any site not listed on the chart can be assumed to have a share that is less than the smallest named site (IE, My Search is the lowest named search site with a 0.8% share. Other sites will have shares less than this).

Company View

The chart above shows the share of searches received by particular search engines that share the same brand name. However, some companies run multiple search engines under different brands. The chart below consolidates these multiple brands under individual companies, as much as possible.

Company

Searches
(Millions)

Percent Of All Searches

Google

1,923

47.1%

Yahoo

868

21.2%

MSN

523

12.8%

AOL

269

6.6%

Ask

208

5.1%

EarthLink

37

0.9%

Others

258

6.3%

Total

4,086

100.0%

Important notes on the consolidation above:

Search Provider View

Not all search engines use their own technology. Instead, they may outsource to others for search listings, both editorial and paid. The chart below shows the share of searches on a search provider basis.

Search Networks

Searches (Millions)

Percent Of Edit Listings

Percent Of Paid Listings

Google

2,228

55%

60%

Yahoo

868

21%

34%

MSN

523

13%

0%

Ask

208

5%

0%

Others

258

6%

6%

Total

4,086

100%

100%

Important notes on the consolidation above:

  • Google: Provides both editorial and paid listings to AOL & Earthlink. Provides paid listings to Ask Jeeves, other than a relatively minor amount Ask sells directly.
  • Yahoo: Provides most of MSN's paid listings, other than a relatively minor amount MSN sells directly.
  • Ask: Provides all the editorial results on Ask Jeeves itself. Editorial results on other sites may come from Ask and other providers.
  • Others: The majority of both types of listings come from either Google or Yahoo, but it's impossible to break this out further based on the limited top ten list provided.

More Resources

Past NetRatings Search Engine Ratings
Available to Search Engine Watch members, this shows popularity fluctuations in NetRatings data for major search engines stretching back to June 1998. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Who Powers Whom? Search Providers Chart
A page within Search Engine Watch summarizing how the major search engines get their results from major search providers.

Search Topics: Stats
This category of the Search Topics area available to Search Engine Watch members provides a listing of articles stretching back for years relating to search engine statistics. The Stats: Popularity subcategory specifically lists stories about how search engines are ranked. The Stats: NetRatings subcategory provides a rundown on news specifically about NetRatings statistics. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.


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