I think the answer is that Yahoo and Bing have a much higher rate of navigational queries - queries like [facebook] or [twitter.com] that are just the name of a site. This class of queries does indeed send a much higher proportion of their traffic to a small number of sites.
The available public statistics seem to confirm this. One example is here: http://blog.alessiosignorini.com/2010/02/average-query-lengt...
I'm sure they're not perfect, but let's assume these numbers are reasonable. Single-word queries are a decent proxy for navigational queries. 27% of Google's searches are one word, but 54% of Yahoo's searches are one word. So if you were measuring on any site that didn't get one-word traffic, you would see Google's searches overrepresented by 1.5X already.
This makes sense if you think about it. The sort of person that searches on non-Google search engines is very different than the sort of person that searches on Google. People who search on non-Google are much more likely to generally not understand the internet. They are likely to just use the search engine that was preinstalled when they got the computer. They are likely to not understand the difference between a URL bar and a search box. And they are likely to only use search for typing in the name of a site and directly going there.
> This makes sense if you think about it. The sort of person that searches on non-Google search engines is very different than the sort of person that searches on Google. People who search on non-Google are much more likely to generally not understand the internet. They are likely to just use the search engine that was preinstalled when they got the computer. They are likely to not understand the difference between a URL bar and a search box. And they are likely to only use search for typing in the name of a site and directly going there.
From observing non-tech savvy people using the internet, what I've found is that a lot of times, they know about Google and use it when they want to consciously make a search. But when they just want to access a site, they will type just the name of the site into the URL bar, which with modern browsers increasingly results in a search.
This method of searching uses the default search engine, which is often altered from Google even in browsers like Chrome due to these non-tech savvy people installing various software that changes the default search engine. But when these people want to do an "actual" search, they literally go to http://www.google.com/ and type in the search query there.
What's interesting is that a lot of times, they'll accidentally search with the default browser search instead, and they don't even realize that they're not using Google, which leads me to believe that they don't realize that there are different search engines, or that depending on whether they use their browser's default search or go to http://www.google.com/, they will get different search results.
I would be really interested to understand what goes through the minds of these people when they use the internet, because these sorts of things just scream out at me when I watch them browsing the web, but they seem to be completely oblivious to it. I just don't understand how they can miss the completely different site layout and URL.
I could imagine a similar analogy would be someone who is a professional racecar driver or just really into cars would be driving on a road thinking "I'm going to ease into this turn, and stay close to the inside" whereas most other people would be thinking "I have to remember to buy milk at the store after I pick up Jimmy from daycare".
Do you wonder how DNS resolves? Do you wonder how the certificates are validated? Do you know what's in your .pem file? Who cares? It works, right?
Maybe you could make it more efficient, with some launcher program. But tasks that are memorized are easy to do (from a cognitive perspective), so you don't bother trying to improve them.
The human brain can be the laziest organ in the body. Well, it can be hard working, but in many cases it gets crazy blind spots, and gets stuck at a locally optimum point.
I think a more accurate analogy would be taking a different route to work and not even realizing it.
Also compelling is the data AJ007 presents on number of days/month used. Bing at 8.9 trailing Google(21.5) and Yahoo (18) significantly. To me this clearly suggests that Bing users are the relatively unsavvy searcher of the Bing/Yahoo bunch. Does anyone have any recent demo data on the search engines? My guess is that Bing has a relatively older mix.
-Comparison of average number of visits a month per unique user: Google-21.5, Yahoo-18, Bing-8.9
-From what I have seen with my companies own internal numbers, Yahoo & Bing users may be more inclined to click on search ads. Unless a webmaster is running a big ad campaign, they aren't going to see huge volume from these two search engines.
-What percentage of Yahoo's 140m monthly users are visiting the site to use Yahoo Mail verse to search?
I recommend using compete.com for traffic intelligence. It fairly accurately reflects my own site's data. I've been paying $500 a month for their lower premium tier for a good 2 years with no complaints for anything other than idiotic salespeople.
Another comment, as a webmaster comparing your percentage of traffic from one search engine verse the other is meaningless unless your rankings are exactly the same in all of them. A real test would have to be done with a PPC campaign strictly receiving traffic from google.com, bing.com, and yahoo.com
I did a debunk of Hitwise's "success rate" metric back in February: https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/posts/A7d5joZ3...
In essence, I don't think Hitwise can tell a the difference between a click on a search result vs. just going to a different site. So doing a search and then leaving looks just like a success to them. For example, yahoo.com has a "Trending" box in the top-right of the page, and clicking on Rose McGowan will do a Yahoo search. If the user goes anywhere after that search, I believe Hitwise will call that a successful search. Likewise on msn.com, if you click many of the links, e.g. "Pencil skirts that will turn heads" that actually does a search on Bing. I believe going anywhere else on the web afterwards will again look like a successful search to Hitwise. I think a large amount of casual browsing on Yahoo/MSN is counted as "successful searches" by Hitwise.
My math blog: 92.91%
OK, those are technical or for a tech savvy crowd. How about my wife's vintage blog which attracts mainly a non-technical female demographic? 84.08%. Or her Girl Guides' blog? 78.74%.
My father in law's local renovation site: 81.48%.
Not a single site out of a couple of dozen I've access to, shows anything less than 75%.
With these numbers at hand, I have a really hard time believing that Google's market share is anything below 75-80%.
Google represents at least 90% of search engine references coming in to that site.
I say the stat is what the stat it says it is. Wikipedia visitors tend to use Google more than other search engines to get there. I personally Google something with "wiki" thrown in as a keyword at the end so I can get to the correct Wikipedia article.
If you're really interested, I'd reach out to sandvine. They are on net at several majors and they gather tons of information and are allowed to share it. They might take some time out from writing breathless press releases about netflix traffic to kick you some numbers, all good publicity. I think volume on a large national ISP is likely to be a much better metric than trackers.
But yeah, this is just my guess...
Wouldn't the people that Gabriel Weinberg talks to be people who run websites much more likely to be frequented by the highly tech literate? Seems like a fantastically biased data set.
Edit: best I could find was from 2009 which puts yahoo at 51% over google at 39%. However, google seems to be partnering with yahoojp to help them improve their search technology.
in other western markets (i.e. germany) google has a market share of 98% plus and we are fine with it.
said that, one of my sites only gets 28% of its search traffic in the us market via google, but it has a penalty on most of its pages (everything but the startpage and its blog is banned from google and with good reason) so its an outlier.
And it's not like Google's product is that much better than Bing...the difference is really miniscule...but that's the problem...Google is good enough so to beat them you really need to bring something truly revolutionary to the table
This also explains why MS search revenue is lower than expected. People don't click ads in navigational searches.
site a: 110m page views past 30 days, 51% Search engine traffic, google is 95%+
site b: 90m page views past 30 days, 77% Search engine traffic, google is 95%+
I'm doing 98.3% Google here. (ignoring the mysterious search engine called 'search')
my blog about R, bash, and whatever crosses my mind: http://blog.earlh.com : [1.4k, 9, 9]
my gf's blog about her life and our dog: http://danceswithcorgis.com : [877, 37, 14]
edit: see also acangiano's blogs: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2881340