– Sourced from Search Engine Watch & WebSideStory

As we reported last month, Yahoo! recently ended its search results agreement with Google in favour of its own technology. But is it better than the new look Google? And what is MSN doing? Well, new stats from web analytics firm WebSideStory, highlight the news often heard before: Google’s most popular, when it comes to search. But dig into the figures, and you discover that MSN is doing better than you might think.

And Yahoo’s new results do seem to be as good as the old with no apparent loss of visitors post changeover. On Tuesday, March 23, 2004, WebSideStory examined a sample of over 25 million visits and found that Google had the top share of search referrals, 40.9 percent. It was followed by Yahoo at 27.4 percent, then MSN at 19.6 percent:

Trend data shows how all three search sites performed for the corresponding Tuesday over four years. Not surprisingly, Google appears as a giant success gaining dissatisfied users from Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite and Infoseek:

While MSN’s share remains tiny, it’s noteworthy that the service has shown recent growth that matches Google on a proportional basis. Below is a look at the figures for the past two years. It shows how much referral traffic has risen or dropped over the previous year, on a percentage basis. In other words, you get a proportional look at gains or losses.

MSN has kept relatively close pace with Google in terms of growth. And while Yahoo is in negative territory, it has at least eased the proportional drop over the past year. Search remains very competitive inside the US which may be an indication of how other markets will change. Until then though, Google remains the market leader for search queries internationally: Source: WebSideStory China – Google 73%, Yahoo 13% Germany – Google 81%, Yahoo 6% UK – Google 66%, Yahoo 11% Source: Hitwise Australia – Google 38%, Yahoo 25%, MSN 9% New Zealand – Google 35%, Yahoo 20%, MSN 9% So now you know which engines are the most popular, how do you secure a place in their listings? Well search engine optimisation is the basis of a good marketing campaign. Search engine advertising can also guarantee a position for certain keywords in the sponsored section of listings. There are two main players – Google Adwords who distribute across Google’s own network of sites and Overture, who distribute to Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista and other regional engines. Talk to First Rate if you’re interested in this form of advertising for your campaign.