September Search Market Share: Back to School Lifts Search Volume

I have mixed feelings when September rolls around every year. On the one hand, New England weather in September simply can’t be beat. On the other hand, every year in September I get these weird butterflies feeling in my stomach and a mild depression. I haven’t "gone back to school" in a long time (let’s just say my 10 year college reunion isn’t even in the rear view mirror anymore). I don’t know about you, but I spent the bulk of my formative years dreading the arrival of September at the end of every summer. Of course when I was in school we didn’t have search engines or the internet to help do that report on ancient Greece, so maybe September isn’t quite so bad these days. I kind of doubt it though.

With the kids back in school banging away on book reports and the like, September 2007 turned out to be a record month for search. Overall search volume in the US reached the highest level with nearly 7.8 billion search queries. That represents an increase of roughly 4.4% over August 2007.

So how did all this growth pan out for the top-4 engines?

The law of big numbers hasn’t caught up with Google yet. Google search volume reached its highest level ever. With over 5.2 billion search queries fielded on Google alone. Google’s share increased a little over half a point month-over-month to 67% and was up 51% from September of last year.

Yahoo! remained essentially flat on a query volume basis, but lost nearly a point on a market share basis. Next month it will be interesting to see if Yahoo! gains any market share after adding search assist and reworking their results page in October.

It appears that Club Live may have stopped the bleeding with Live Search more or less holding steady. Year-over-year, search queries on MSN/Live were up nearly 27%.

Ask stepped it up in September with search volume on the engine increasing over 21% month-over-month. Perhaps the Ask 3D efforts are starting to pay off? Unfortunately for Ask they have a bit more work to do to get back to last year’s 4.4% market share.

In a nutshell "¦

  • Google volume and market share increased to record levels
  • Yahoo! lost market share on flat volume
  • MSN/Live market share more or less stable despite small volume gains
  • Ask market share increased on substantial volume gains
  • Children still mourn the arrival of September every year

* Search market share includes web search only and is calculated based on unique queries within each session during the given month.

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