While Google remained the dominant US search engine in December 2010, it experienced declines in year-over-year market share, query volume and unique visitors, according to new data from Compete. Most significantly, Google’s unique search visitor total dropped 16.6%, from 184 million in December 2009 to 154 million in December 2010.
In addition, Google saw its year-over-year query volume decline 0.6%, from 10.52 billion to 10.47 billion; and its year-over-year market share drop 11%, from 73.9% to 65.7%. On a month-over-month basis, Google actually experienced a 4.8% rise in unique visitors and 0.2% increase in query volume, although market share declined 1%.
Search activity across the five engines saw more activity in December, with an 11.8% increase in overall query volume from December 2009 and 1.3% increase from November 2010.
Microsoft Search Grows Dramatically YOY
Microsoft search, primarily reflecting usage of the Bing search engine, has dramatically grown year-over-year. Unique visitors increased 35.2%, from 62 million to 84 million, query volume grew 69.4%, from 1.4 billion to 2.37 billion, and market share grew 52%, from 9.8% to 14.9%. Month-over-month growth was healthy but much smaller, likely indicating Bing is reaching maturity now it has been generally available since June 2009.
Yahoo Query Volume Skyrockets YOY
Interestingly, Yahoo’s search query volume dramatically rose 22.7% year-over-year, from 1.94 billion to 2.38 billion, but its year-over-year growth in market share was much more modest (a still healthy 9.5%), and its unique visitor total dropped 3.1%, from 89 million to 86 million. On a month-over-month basis, Yahoo showed modest growth in all three areas.
Bing-powered Search Grows 4.1% MOM
Bing Powered engines (including both Bing and Yahoo) as a whole grew 4.1% month-over-month in query volume, driving its total market share up almost 3%. Bing-powered engines took a combined 29.8% of the total search market. Compete does not compile year-over-year or unique visitor statistics for Bing-powered search engines.
Ask.com Query Volume Doubles YOY
While Ask.com’s query volume total in December 2010 was a comparatively low 595 million, this was 100.3% more than 297 million a year earlier. Unique visitors grew 79.5 % in that time frame, from 47 million to 85 million.
AOL recorded a 34.4% increase in search query volume between December 2009 and December 2010, jumping from 84 million to 113 million queries. Neither Ask.com nor AOL reported any other exceptional month-over-month or year-over-year growth figures.
comScore: Microsoft Core Search Volume Rebounds
Microsoft, which saw its total core search engine query volume drop 4% month-over-month in November 2010, rebounded strongly in December 2010 with a 9% gain, according to recent comScore qSearch data. As tabulated by comScore, Microsoft’s core search queries grew from about 2.01 billion to 2.18 billion, placing it third overall.