US Search Behavior in April 2009

The core search query volume of Americans in April 2009 reached 14.8 billion, according to comScore. Google leads this vast search query volume, in terms of search market share, with Yahoo following it. Americans have increased using lengthy search queries, over the past year. Search engines play an important role in navigation of the business websites of key industry categories.

Google accounts for 73% of total US online searches
A recent report from Hitwise, says that the share of Google in US search queries has reached 73% in April 2009.  This is 7% YOY growth from April 2008. Yahoo Search is in second place with 16.27%, but reported a sharp 20% YOY decline in US search market share. Search shares of other major search engines are MSN search – 5.68% and – 3.95%. The US online population seems to be comfortable with the search monopoly of Google.

Increase in usage of lengthy search queries over the past year
The length of search queries used by US online population has increased during the period April 2008 – 2009.  Searches with 8 or more words reported a significant 18% increase over the past year. Overall growth in search queries averaging five to more than eight words in length is reported as 7 percent during this period. However, search queries with 2 words are still leading with 22.95% share of overall searches, followed by 3-word queries with 21.84%.

Search engines – the primary way for navigating key industry categories
Search engines play an important role in navigation of US online population into websites of all the key industry categories. Moreover, traffic to the websites of all industry categories through search engines over the past year reported a significant double-digit growth in major categories like business and finance, sports, online video, etc. Health and medical category websites are major gainers of search traffic with 46.29% of share followed by travel websites 36.82%.

The growing search query volume represents the increase in more specific search queries by search engine visitors.  Search engine marketers must continue to focus on the specific keywords rather than very generic keywords to appear to the specific target markets. Though the usage of lengthy search queries has increased, a majority of search share is still dominated by keywords with an average of 1 – 3 words. The growth in search traffic of almost all key industry categories shows the importance of businesses to focus more on search engine marketing.

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