Yandex Just Passed Bing to Become 4th Largest Global Search Engine

Yandex surpassed Microsoft on the number of monthly search queries worldwide in November and December 2012, according to a recently released comScore qSearch report. Microsoft sites processed 4.477 billion queries and Yandex did 4.844 billion.

As you’d expect, Google still reigned supreme with 114.73 billion search queries and a 65.2 percent market share. China search giant Baidu was second globally with 14.5 billion (8.2 percent), and Yahoo came in third with 8.63 billion (4.9 percent).

How Embarrassing: Did Yandex Just Run Over Bing?

Microsoft sites, includes Bing (which processes 92 percent of all queries to Microsoft sites according to comScore), plus other Microsoft properties recognized as search sites by comScore, including MSN, Windows Live (i.e., Hotmail) and others. Yandex doesn’t sell software – all it has is Yandex search with some verticals (its creative e-tailers street prices search, real-estate search and others).

Now that is embarrassing! You would think with all of the money, might and power of Microsoft, they’d be higher in total search volume. So either Yandex is kicking some serious butt or Bing is slowing down.

Inside the Search Numbers: What’s Happening Globally?

Lets take a look at global search trends:


As you can see in the graph (Google purposely removed for context), Yandex began passing Microsoft in November, but the difference was tiny and initially it could have perceived looking like a statistical error.

There are only two out of Top-5 search entities which grew higher last year: Baidu (13 percent) and Yandex (27.8 percent) while the total number of search queries worldwide decreased by 4.6 percent since December 2011.

Exploring this deeper, reveals a few interesting data points. The audience growth continues to evolve and grow in Russia, however, global growth in Western markets where Microsoft has most of their share has slowed down.

The following eMarketer graph shows the comparative growth of Internet user penetration in Russia:


Looking at U.S. only comScore qSearch reports shows a decline in the volume of search queries.



You can speculate all day about what’s happening here. Do Russians just search more? Are Russians searching more because they don’t like the results? Are they gaining market share in countries like Turkey or the Ukraine? Who wins with unique users?

Regardless of all that, I wasn’t expecting to see Yandex, which doesn’t have nearly the marketing budgets of Microsoft, surpass them in global search queries by the end of 2012. Nothing better then seeing incredibly talented underdogs race past one of the biggies.

About the author

Michael Bonfils is the International Managing Director of SEM International, a division of International Media Management Corp.

Since 1996, Michael was one of the early pioneers in the search engine industry, working in-house for a multinational firm prior to being in charge of Search Engine Strategy at in 2000-01.

In 2001, his International passion led him to opening up his own firm and an office in Asia after recognizing the need for U.S.-based online marketing agencies requiring an outsourced solution to provide services to their clients outside of the United States.

As the demand for his company's services expanded into other countries, he spread out further into Asia, Europe and eventually Latin America. Today, SEM International is a global network of in-country search engine marketing agencies providing a one stop, centralized solution for Intl search engine marketing management.