Google Passes Yahoo in Web Traffic

Online metrics firm ComScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) reported yesterday that in April traffic to Google’s Web sites topped Yahoo’s monthly visitor count for the first time.

Propelled by continued increases in its popular video site YouTube, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) saw 141.1 million monthly unique visitors to its sites, beating out Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), which checked in at 140.6 million uniques.

Yahoo had topped ComScore’s (NASDAQ: SCOR) monthly listings every month since November 2003. That month, Google had 58.9 million visitors.

Google’s meteoric rise has been due in part to its efforts to build out a suite of content and services such as news and maps that compete with the traditional portals. Its search engine also now handles nearly 60 percent of all Web searches.

The YouTube acquisition came in October 2006, and Google has recently been talking loudly about generating more ad dollars from the video site.

YouTube, which serves nearly 40 percent of all videos on the Web, saw its traffic increase 2 percent from March to 66.2 million unique visitors. Compared with April 2007, YouTube’s traffic last month was up 77 percent.

Behind Google and Yahoo, the top 10 Web destinations were, in descending order, the Web sites of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), AOL, Fox Interactive Media, eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Wikipedia, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), the Ask network and Time Warner (excluding AOL).

Total Web traffic was up 1 percent in April, driven in part by taxpayers racing to get their returns filed by the mid-month deadline.

“The significant traffic growth at tax sites, which began in January, reached a crescendo by the tax filing deadline on April 15 as taxpayers sought information, forms and online filing facilities,” Jack Flanagan, ComScore’s executive vice president, said in the report.

Traffic to IRS.gov spiked 35 percent, making it one of the top-gaining sites in terms of unique visitors.

The beginning of the baseball season also helped drive traffic to the Web, as the visitor count to MLB.com jumped 36 percent.

Looking at the ad networks — the primary means of revenue for the Web giants — AOL’s Platform A still has the largest audience, with its placements reaching 89 percent of U.S. Internet users.

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