Google keeps gaining UK market share

Ammon Johns

Recent figures from HitWise show that Google is continuing to make dramatic gains in the market share of UK search traffic, and has accounted for a an incredible 78% of searches in the UK during the four weeks leading up to 21st October 2006. This is a full ten times the market share of nearest rival, Yahoo, which accounted for just 7.7% of searches in the same period.

Of course, as if to illustrate my usual warning about "lies, damned lies, and (other people's) statistics", the press release then made some rather questionable analysis of the Paid Search figures, in noting that top sites such as MySpace, Bebo and the BBC recieve a very low proportion of thier referrals from PPC or sponsored results listings.

I guess HitWise have not heard of "the long tail", and the millions of unique searches made each day that are far too individually phrased to ever show in most paid search unless some very risky 'broad match' strategy is taken. Google have reported in the past that 50% of searches in any given period may be five words or more, and so individually phrased or specific that the exact same phrasing doesn't occur twice in the data.

The bigger the site, the more search traffic will come based on unusual phrases, often ones which no right-minded marketer would have wanted to target, never mind have gone to the lengths as to actually research, enter, and bid for the terms.

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