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With One Link, Google Book Search Becomes Google's 5th Most Popular Service

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Google Print Is Google's Ninth Most Popular Service here on the blog last month covered how according to Hitwise, Google Print -- since renamed Google Book Search -- made the top ten of most used Google services, though usage was only by a tiny 0.4 percent of Google visitors. Since then, a small change by Google has dramatically increased the visits to Google Book search and pushed it into being the fifth most popular service it offers.

Bill Tancer of Hitwise, who loves nothing more than to play with the stats his competitive analysis service has on user behavior, dropped me an update yesterday showing how the Google top ten line up had changed from the last time I wrote about it. Here's the rundown:

Service

Week Ending Nov. 5

Week Ending Dec. 10

Point Change

Percent Change

Google Web Search

79.9%

79.1%

-0.9%

-1.1%

Google Image Search

9.2%

9.3%

0.1%

1.2%

Google Mail/Gmail

5.6%

5.4%

-0.3%

-4.5%

Google News

1.6%

1.5%

-0.1%

-4.4%

Google Book Search

0.4%

1.5%

1.1%

322.9%

Froogle

0.7%

0.9%

0.2%

33.3%

Google Maps

0.8%

0.7%

-0.1%

-13.3%

Google Earth

0.3%

0.5%

0.2%

69.0%

Google Groups/
Groups 2 Beta

0.5%

0.5%

-0.1%

-9.4%

Google Directory

0.2%

0.2%

0.0%

6.3%

As you can see, Google Web Search remains the most used service by far. Google Book Search, which had been the ninth most popular service, moved up to position five.

Notice the point change and percent change columns. The first shows the raw percentage point change between the two time periods. Google Web Search had a dip of less than 1 percent, so no major change. Google Book Search had a point change of just over 1 percent. In the case of that service, this was a big deal.

Why? The percentage change column tells the story. That 1 percent point increase for Google Book Search means relatively speaking, it went up over 300 percent in traffic -- more than three times the number that used it a month ago are now turning to the service. In contrast, a 1 percent change either way with Google Web Search is a drop in the bucket.

So what gives? What happened? Cast your mind back to mid-November, when Google started putting at the bottom of regular search results pages this message:

Try your search again on Google Book Search

For more on that change, see Google SERPs pushing Google Books at our SEW Forums, When Will Google Do An Amazon at Smart Keywords and Google Book Search Within SERPs at Search Engine Roundtable.

Was the change responsible for the increase? And what about Google Groups, which has had somewhat similar promotion on the bottom of results? The chart tells the tale:

051220-booksearch.gif

You can see that just after Google Book Search links were added, traffic to Google Book Search skyrocketed. Being on the first page of search results is clearly powerful, as search marketers obviously know. As for Google Groups, it didn't change. This may be because Google Groups links never always appeared, in contrast to Google Book Search links, which seem to always show up. It could also be that more people find the Google Book Search link more relevant.


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