Comparing Traffic From The Big Three Search Engines

by Donna Fontenot December 23rd, 2007 

It's not often that I can truly compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges when looking at search engine stats. It's also not often that I rank #1 for a major keyword phrase for all 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Live). I've got quite a few major phrases that aren't #1 across the board, but are scattered about at #2, #3, etc. But even one ranking down means you are no longer comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. And sure, I've got lots of long-tail phrases that are #1 across all three - everyone has that. But the traffic is so minimal for each of those phrases, that comparing stats isn't very trustworthy at that point. But if a phrase sends a million users/month, and it is #1 across all 3 search engines, I'd say the stats associated with that phrase will be pretty darn accurate.

Since I hit #1 for that kind of phrase across all three search engines this month, I thought it would be a great time to see just what percentage of traffic the search engines sent me. The results are glaring.

Google - 83.33%
Yahoo - 11.26%
Live/MSN - 5.40%

Lets look at that graphically.

bar chart

pie chart

This is when you realize that no matter how hard you might want to break away from Google, you see just how ridiculous that concept is. Unless you get lots of traffic from places other than search (which is always nice), Google has to play a large part in your traffic strategy - like it or not.

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18 Responses to “Comparing Traffic From The Big Three Search Engines”

  1. Pierre Far says:

    Surely that depends on the market the phrases target?

    Also, what about earnings or conversion rate?


  2. Dave Dugdale says:

    Congrats on being #1 across all three!

    And have a merry Christmas.

  3. g1smd says:

    Is the conversion rate the same across all three?

    I'll bet that perhaps Google isn't the highest precentage for that.

  4. earlpearl says:


    Congrats on the rankings. Really interesting data.

    ….and I hope it is a $ phrase 😉

    ….and Merry Christmas

  5. w.rOY says:

    As a Culture Auditor, I compared three engines on 708 culture critical variables in March 2007. Microsoft produced a 1900's master-slave cultural profile. Yahoo showed a 1950's cultural profile, while Google showed a 2000's profile. Non came anywhere near a 2010 or 2050's profile.

    So, while the net is new technology, the cultures of control have not progressed beyond the share-compare-compete abuses of the land-realities.

  6. […] post over at SEO Scoop offers a little data crunching in her comparison by looking at a search phrase that ranks at the […]

  7. john andrews says:

    Thanks for sharing. I've been telling clients that Google is sending >80% of practical search traffic for almost a year, based on my own experiences. Snippet quality and competitive neighbors have an impact on click through, but your 83% is right in line with my observations.

  8. Dave says:

    @w.rOY can you provide a link to more information about being a "Culture Auditor" and what "culture critical variables" are? Anyone have more info about this?

  9. […] I came across a post on Seo Scoop about Comparing Traffic From Google, Yahoo and MSN when ranking #1 in all of them for the same keyword. Google of course has a big lead. Share and […]

  10. Donna,

    Great post, its good to bring this forward every once in awhile to remind people, its a big swimming pool, but google controls the deep end, which has the diving board – and everyone loves the diving board.

    I would be interested to see demographics of who is using each search engine. If that info was released it would be a great way to target campaigns or organic for the engine that has the majority of users for your product or service.

  11. Mike says:

    I have a couple of terms all across all 3 and my results are about the same as yours.

  12. Steve Nickse says:

    Wow. Google is king .Who knew? I just wish ClosetMaster was a more recognized professional title ,but until later we thank google for all the recognition and accolades. Steve Nickse ..ClosetMaster.

  13. I think that tech and SEO sites tend to skew more towards Google than other topic areas so you're probably seeing some of that effect.

    Also, MSN tends to prefer local and regional sites in my experience.

  14. DazzlinDonna says:

    No, Robert, the site is neither tech nor seo-related.

  15. Luis L. Montecillo says:

    Hi. I like the color of your blog. It's not often that one gets to a blog that's oozing with warmth and welcome.
    I'll be visiting often.

    I'm new on the Internet. Like everyone else, I also wish to earn a little extra off the Internet. I'm trying to figure out what to do best. Right now, the quickest way seems to be the advice of Internet gurus. I have a shortlist: Jack Lan of Singapore and James Brausch of the U.S.

    I thought maybe you can run a comparison on various experts to help wet-in-the-gills wannabes like me.

  16. 5ubliminal says:

    So you used to think there are other search engines besides Google??? Funny!

  17. Lance Quagmire says:

    Wait, MSN has a search?
    Wait, it has a website?
    Why doesn't anyone tell me these things???

  18. Tom R. says:

    Those stats seem about right, but keep in mind that a lot of it has to do with audience and what they are looking for.

    For example, someone searching for sneakers might be more of a yahoo user, but someone searching for technology information might be more of a google user.

    Get the idea? I'd say that overall, your stats probably represent all of search, within a margin of several percentage points – in favor of yahoo and msn.