Posted January 9, 2008 5:28 pm by with 8 comments

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According to Hitwise, Google Maps is growing in popularity rapidly. While they have a long way to go to overtake the leader in the maps sector, Google Maps is the only major map site to see an increase in traffic over the last year.

Traffic to map websites, via Hitwise

While MapQuest still dominates the sector with just over half of the traffic, Google Maps is growing, and has captured more than 20% of the traffic.

Hitwise also looked into the sources of this traffic—unsurprisingly, Google is sending much of its map searches to Google Maps through organic, plus box and paid results:

Google sends more of its own traffic to Google Maps than to Mapquest, a change that occurred last March. This can’t really be attributed to an increase in consumers looking for Google Maps. We can measure this through Internet searches. Searches for “google maps” have increased but the term “mapquest” receives nearly 10x the search volume.

The change is that Google is sending more traffic to Google Maps for high volume generic terms and for variations on the MapQuest brand name. Google sent more traffic to Google Maps for searches for “maps” this year compared with the same week last year. The same is true for “driving directions”, “map” and “directions” as well as variations on the MapQuest brand name including “mapquest driving directions” and “map quest”.

Hm . . . do you think MapQuest has filed for trademark protection of bidding on their name?