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Google accounted for 71.08% of all US searches conducted in the four weeks ending Oct. 3, 2009, while Yahoo Search, Bing and Ask.com received 16.38%, 8.96% and 2.56%, respectively, according to an analysis by Experian Hitwise.

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Despite a significant challenge from Bing since the alternative search engine’s introduction in June, Google’s share of search increased 1% over August 2009, when it stood at 70.24%.? And while both Yahoo and Bing together account for? 25% of US search share, Yahoo saw a decline of 3% vs. September, while Bing’s share slid 5%.

The remaining 52 search engines in the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis Tool accounted for 1.04% of all US searches.

Google as Traffic Funnel

The analysis also found that Google – and other search engines – continue to play an increasing role in driving traffic to key US industries. Comparing September 2009 with September 2008, automotive, business and finance, entertainment, news and media, online video and sports categories showed double-digit increases in their share of traffic coming directly from search engines.

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The large increase in sports traffic from search engines is likely related to the commencement of the NFL football season in the US.? Football sites were among the top-gaining properties as the season ramped up.

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