November a Cool Month For Search Traffic

With only minor fluctuations in market share atop the leader board, four of the five major search engines saw the total number of searches conducted on their core properties decline in November, according to research from online metrics firm comScore.

Americans conducted 5 percent fewer Web searches in November than in October, comScore found, attributing the decline in part to an expected seasonal slackening due to one fewer day in the month.

Even accounting for the shorter month, core searches were still down. Crunching the numbers, the 10 billion searches conducted in November equates to 334.3 million searches per day, down from 339.6 million in October.

Bucking the trend was the Time Warner’s AOL, which saw its total searches increase by 2.4 percent last month. Time Warner ranked fifth in market share (4.5 percent) behind Google (58.6 percent), Yahoo (22.4 percent), Microsoft (9.8 percent) and Ask (4.6 percent).

With a 0.2 percent increase in market share, Google built on its already monumental advantage, inching closer to a threefold lead over its nearest competitor, Yahoo. Google handled nearly 5.9 billion search queries in November, compared with the 2.2 billion recorded on Yahoo.

The other three major search engines were all in single digits when ranked by market share.

As it turned out, Yahoo was the biggest loser in both measures of the analysis, forfeiting 0.4 percent of its market share due to a 6.5 percent drop in the total number of search queries performed.

In terms of market share, Microsoft held steady at 9.8 percent, while its volume of search queries fell 5.1 percent, consistent with the overall decline in core search.

IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Ask search engine saw its market share drop just slightly (0.1 percent), while total queries fell 5.8 percent.

Time Warner posted the biggest jump in market share, gaining a modest 0.3 percent.

In evaluating search volume and market share of the core Web properties of the big five, comScore excluded from consideration mapping queries, as well as searches on local-directory sites and user-generated video sites.

Expanding the rankings to include all of the top 50 Web properties, Google looks even stronger. Search queries on YouTube and all other Google properties (aside from its core search sites) were up 9.3 percent.

Buoyed by the onset of the holiday shopping season were Amazon sites, which saw 22 percent more searches in November than October, and eBay, where searches rose 3.5 percent.

Search queries conducted on Facebook fell 21.7 percent from October to November; searches on MySpace dropped 10 percent.

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