Posted January 14, 2011 2:06 pm by with 5 comments

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Experian Hitwise has just released their December report which shows that Google overwhelmingly accounts for most of the searches conducted on the web in the US. 69.97% to be exact with the nearest competitor, Bing, coming in at only 25.77%.

But while Google is still the chosen search engine of the masses, it’s not the most accurate. According to Experian’s numbers, 81% of the searches on Bing and Yahoo! Search resulted in a trip to a web address. Google only showed a 65% success rate.

Now this is interesting. My purely unscientific explanation for this discrepancy is the way people use Google versus Bing. Bing is a simple, one-shot search engine. I put in what I want, I get a response. It’s the lowest common denominator. Google offers more opportunities right upfront to refine the search by time, type of result, even result locations. Because of this, I’d bet many people take a second or third try at finding exactly what they want before they start clicking through.

Because of the options, I don’t think Google is less accurate, as long as you put in the right parameters to start with. I also think that Google is like a game. Ever just waste time typing in things to see what you get? There are even a variety of Google based guessing games you can play like Gwigle,which shows you results with the keywords removed and you have to figure out the word that was searched.

No matter which engine we prefer, the way we search for things is definitely changing. Experian’s report noted that two-word searches accounted for 24% of all queries with a rise in shorter queries and a 4% decrease in those over five words. This is likely due to the factors like Google’s Instant Results feature which returns fairly accurate results as you’re typing. Sorry, but does anyone actually type fully phrased questions into search engines anymore? Apparently not.

Finally, the report also showed Amazon claiming 51% of all paid retail site clicks for December. Fandango had the highest month-over-month growth which probably goes along with December being a much bigger month for movies than November.

If you’d like to see all the well organized charts, click here for the Experian Hitwise press release.

  • Given how much more expensive it is to buy clicks from Adwords (Google) than from Adcenter (Bing and Yahoo), it would be nice to see Bing powered search grow their share. But the methodology of using trips to a website to determine accuracy seems a bit flawed. It does not take into account search queries that are answered by reading the snippet from the search engine results. Oh well, any research that indicates Bing is providing serious competition is welcome news.

  • In China, Baidu is first,Google is second, but I like Google, because baidu is bad.

  • What a statistics!!! Just too good.

  • It is always interesting to watch someone try and overtake a company that has such a strong grip on a market. I wonder how much Bing would have to out-perform Google before people would make the effort to change their routine?


  • Hi Cynthia-

    Since you asked, we actually do see lots of people pose fully-phrased questions to search engines – on, 44% of all queries in our search box are in the form of a fully phrased question. This behavior is a key reason behind’s recent shift to a Q&A model, which combines answers from real people with answers mined from search to address a broader question set. Interestingly, since launching our Q&A beta this past summer, we’ve seen the number of queries in the form of a question rise about 50% on the site.

    Valerie from