The Most Popular Search Engines

Over the past few years competition between the major search engines Google, Yahoo and MSN has resulted in improved search engine user experiences. And with Internet users expectations always growing higher, these search engine companies are forced to continuously improve upon their search engine features and technologies. As a web site owner you should understand that optimizing your web site doesn't guarantee positioning in any search engine, but by reading through the next few paragraphs you will gain an understanding of the traffic potential search engine optimization could give your web site.

Google Search Engine

Of the major search engines Google is currently the most popular for searching the web. Part of this is because of Google's continuous strive to provide the most relevant information to searchers. But Google's efforts to be the top search engine doesn't stop at web site listings. Google offers numerous features such as image search, news search, dictionary definitions, street maps, telephone numbers and spell checking. And because Google has so many users it is capable of generating very high volumes of traffic. And it is because of this high traffic that most webmasters strive to get their web sites listed in Google. In a 2005 Nielsen NetRatings study of over one million Internet users, over 47.3% of searches were conducted at Google.

Yahoo Search Engine

Yahoo started out in 1994 as a directory. A directory is a search web site that has humans organizing the information into categories rather than search engine crawlers. A few years ago Yahoo switched over to the search engine crawler listings but pulled their information from Google. More recently, Yahoo has dropped Google as their search listing provider and has adopted their own crawler technology. Yahoo has been and still is one of the most popular search engines because, like Google, Yahoo offers their own unique services such as their own pay per click program, Yahoo Shopping directory, email and many different variations on search features. In the 2005 Nielsen NetRatings study 20.9% of the searches were conducted at Yahoo.

MSN Search Engine

MSN Search is still one of the leading search engines but lately has fallen behind Google and Yahoo in terms of available search features, but because of it's prior popularity many Internet users still conduct searches on the search engine. Currently MSN is attempting a comeback, and although it has a long way to catch up with Google and Yahoo, it will remain a major search engine that is capable of generating traffic. In the 2005 Nielsen NetRatings study 13.6% of the searches were conducted at MSN Search.

The Bottom Line

Google, Yahoo, and MSN were used in 80% of the searches conducted by the Internet users in this study. Other search engines such as Netscape, My Way, AOL, Ask Jeeves, iWon and Earthlink were responsible for the other 20% of searches.