Posted June 24, 2009 5:28 pm by with 8 comments

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Seeing the hard numbers of how social media search queries on sites like Facebook has gained in popularity is not a surprise to most. After all, many think that real time search could be the wave of the future and could eventually provide the revenue model that a social medium like Twitter needs to be a real player.

What was a bit of a shock, however, in the comScore numbers reported by Search Engine Watch was the slight step backwards that Google took by recording 2% less search queries in May vs. April of this year.

Taking a look at the big chart full of numbers, at least from a traditional search perspective Google can take some solace in that they were not alone. The slip that occurred was still smaller than their biggest competitors, Microsoft and Yahoo.

comScore Search Queries

So is a 2% decrease in search queries a sign of real trouble for Google? As is always the case you have to be careful as to where you get your data and how much faith you have in it. Recently Nielsen reported that only Microsoft decreased year over year in May in search queries. What the difference in the year over year numbers v. the month to month numbers truly means is anyone’s guess. One thing is for certain though; social media search is getting more traction.

So it’s up to the research consumer again to decide who’s telling the truth or which statistic you want to use as the truth. If there ever was a place where there are no absolutes it’s in the search engine research and analytics game.

Is this finally a chink in the armor of the mighty Google or just a blip in the search/space continuum? Should you start dumping Google shares just yet? What would be the best (or at least the most fun) way to overreact to this information? Chime in please because you may have some other ‘research’ that could set us all straight.

  • I think if you look at Yahoo (drop), Microsoft (drop), Ask (drop) and AOL (drop) which are all greater than Google’s relatively insignificant decline, you’re likely seeing a month-to-month seasonal pattern (Memorial Day, remember), that screams not even blip.

  • I still use Google search engine for my work. So far, I feel comfortable using Google to search whatever information I need. For some other needs, I use Yahoo! search engine. Meanwhile, when I want to exchange information with my friends, I will open my facebook. There are many reasons that make people choose particular search engine, social media, or whatever through the internet. The sample about the reasons might become another survey which the result can complete the data of search query report.

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  • Something is not jiving here.

    Microsoft is the search engine behind Facebook and it suffered a decline? But Facebook is up 6%? Uhmmm – straw man alert on this one.

    How was this study conducted. This seems to be too speculative.

  • I agree with the summer blues theory and it’s just a blip. What’s up with craiglist getting a 12% bump? I checked compete ( and see it had a 5-6% decline March to April — but what buzz did I miss about craigslist?

  • @Steven – Research that looks dicey?! Never! 😉 I suspect that I have become almost too cynical around the numbers of search because every provider of data has to sell their angle and how they are better than their competitors. At that point, the research waters muddy so quickly that you have to pull bits and pieces from sources and go with your industry knowledge and gut feel.

    @Scott – Maybe craig’s list has found new ways to promote the ‘skin trade’ thus the bump in numbers? Sorry, that was uncalled for 😉

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  • Jill HowardAllen

    I have used a Firefox plugin to incorporate Twitter search results in Google. While not always relevant, I do find the Twitter results worthy of a look.

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  • I think it’ll take a lot more than an occasional drop to take Google out of the picture for some time to come. Very interesting stats though. Keep it up.

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