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Archive for June, 2006

Case studies, blog postings, research papers, tools info and eBook notes

Google Image Search is 5% of all Google Searches

Reminder of the importance of Google Images: According to the latest statistics from Hitwise, Google Image Search receives around 5% of all downstream visits from Google UK (it is the same for the .com site too). Let me say that again; 5% of all visitors to Google UK look next at Google Images! Given that Google is the biggest UK web site, 5% is a lot of people.

(Filed in Blog, June 19th, 2006)

Google Dominates UK Market – Hitwise Report

Hitwise.co.uk today released one of their regular PR reports on the state of the UK search marketplace. The key findings from a Google optimisation point of view are related to Google’s continuing growth in the UK market for web searches. Here are a few of the key statistics demonstrating Google’s market share growth:

  • Google UK is the most visited website in the UK, receiving more than twice the share of visits compared with MSN Hotmail, the number 2 ranked site in all categories.
  • Google UK, MSN.co.uk Search, Yahoo! UK & Ireland Search and Ask.com UK Search together powered 82% of all UK internet searches in the four weeks ending 20th May 2006.
  • Combining the UK and com properties for these search engines that number climbs to 96%.
  • Google UK continues to dominate the search engine market in the UK, powering more than three-quarters, some 77%, of UK internet searches (combined UK and com properties).
  • Hitwise data indicate that visitors to Google are performing multiple searches and using the search engine as a point from which to navigate the web.
  • Comparing share of visits with share of executed searches, it is evident that Google powers a much larger share of searches relative to the share of visits the site receives. It is worth noting that within a single session, a user can perform a search, visit results pages, and return to Google to perform another search, so long as the user returns within 30 minutes of the initial visit.
  • Visitors to Google UK spent an average of 13 minutes and 30 seconds on the site in the week ending 20th May 2006; this is 2 minutes and 46 seconds longer than visitors spent on Yahoo! UK and Ireland Search, the search engine among the leading four with the second longest session duration.
  • As with all search engines, the highest volume search terms on Google UK are navigational. In the four weeks ending 20th May 2006, the highest volume searches on Google UK were “ebay”, “hotmail”, “bebo”, “yahoo” and “argos”.
  • Whilst Google dominates, the battle for second place is heated with MSN and Yahoo!’s search properties neck-and-neck in share of executed searches. MSN Search powered 7.37% of UK searches and Yahoo! Search powered 7.41% of searches (combined UK and .com) in the four-week period ending 20th May 2006.
  • In the US, Yahoo! Search is a stronger competitor. Amongst US internet users, Google.com powered 59% of all searches, compared to Yahoo! Search at 22% in the four-week period ending 20th May 2006. MSN Search powered 12% and Ask.com, 4% in that same four-week period.

Google’s continued dominance of the UK search market – in fact it is fast becoming a web location that users start at, even if they know where they are going, because it is easier to ask Google to find the right web address than it is to type it into the address bar – makes your optimisation strategy more and more commercially critical.

(Filed in Blog, June 8th, 2006)

Google Trends and Phrases

Google Trends doesn’t assume phrases. I know that Google Search doesn’t either, but the way in which Google Trends is presented on its home page, you can be forgiven for thinking that it is assuming that you are interested in phrases. Assuming it is using phrases can promote some fundamental errors in its use as a keyword prediction tool, which I am starting to use it as.

A key example is looking for help on a ‘London hotels’ search. Optimising a page for such a search could hinge on whether searchers look for singular or plural ‘hotels’. Google Trends suggests that the singular search is much more important (some 40%, perhaps) than the plural; if you leave the quotation marks out of the search expression.

UK only Google Trends: London hotel, London hotels

If you place the quotation marks in the search expression, looking then for the incidence of these expressions as phrases, not individual words, then the answer is fundamentally different, with the plural search coming in at over 100% more search volume.

UK only Google Trends: “London hotel”, “London hotels”

So, the moral of the story is clearly to take care to ask Google the actual question you need the answer for.

Those of you who are really paying attention may be wondering whether I am asking for the incidence of people who actually put quote marks around their search expressions, or whether I am isolating only those searches that have the words in that order. Hmmm… So am I. I fear it is the former. This wont invalidate the findings, as the patterns should repeat themselves if the sample is big enough, but this will rather make it an incomplete tool, shucks!

(Filed in Blog, June 5th, 2006)