Is Yahoo catching up in search?

September 28, 2007

Okay, so Google are still miles ahead on market share in the search world. Below is the latest graph from Compete.com showing just how commanding a lead they have.
However, Compete have some interesting insight into quality rather than reach. Quality in search is rarely discussed and whenever it has been Google has always been assumed to be in the lead there as well due to their massive research and development capabilities.

That may be the wrong assumption though!

Compete have looked at a metric they call search fulfillment. They came up with this because even though there are many searches taking place on the major engines, not all result in a click on a result and a referral. In fact, according to their data out of approx 7.5 billion monthly searches only 5 billion result in a referral.

So, if Google looks like the leader from a search volume point of view, how about from a fulfillment point of view. The graph below shows an interesting picture…
So Google is not getting the referrals the volume suggests it should.

Yahoo seems to do really well from this which I find strange as the relevancy of results in Yahoo never seems as good to me as Google. Of course there are many other possible reasons for this, a couple being that the figures may exclude clicks on paid links and that Google returns much more useful snippets in the results than any other engine often negating the need to click through.

Of course Google’s figures could be vastly inflated by all the agency types, SEO’s and webmasters out there who perform daily searches to check their sites rankings without ever clicking on anything. It would be really interesting to understand those volumes!

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