Google’s Traffic Distribution: All Search

Hitwise’s Bill Tancer recently posted about the distribution of Google’s traffic across its many properties. As you might expect and has been historically true, that distribution is dominated by search.

google properties 113006v2.PNG

Right now, Google owns the “brand” in search. But Yahoo and Microsoft have more “diversified” traffic across multiple properties.

Without some more effort and — dare I say it? — marketing on Google’s part it’s not going to be able to do much to change that distribution: significantly boost the usage of its other properties.

But, despite some of its behavior and continuing to launch non-search products, Google is ambivalent about being a “portal” ultimately.

On the local front, let’s use these Hitwise traffic distribution data and comScore search volume data to look at Google Maps’ and local search volume:

  • comScore says that Google captured 3.1 billion US searches in October.
  • 78% of that volume (Google.com) is 2.42 billion searches.
  • .79% of that total search volume (Google Maps) is about 25 million searches in October

That would suggest comparatively small volumes for Google local search (although comparable to other top local search sites). But consider that the overwhelming majority of local searches are coming through the main sites of the engines (i.e., Google.com).

Back to the Nielsen-WebVisible data . . . most local searches the survey respondents performed (51%) didn’t contain a geographic modifier. That means most of those queries are not being well served (unless by ads via IP targeting).

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Note the comScore data probably doesn’t reflect all of Google’s traffic (represented in the Hitwise chart) so there’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison here. But proportionately the argument is the same.

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9 Responses to “Google’s Traffic Distribution: All Search”

  1. earlpearl Says:

    Greg: I’ve maintained strong serps on my bus site that have included high serps for my bus w/out geo terms and high serps w/geo terms. That includes #1 w/out geo terms for both Y and MSN for long periods and a highest G ranking of #4.

    I also use ppc on a local basis for the generic business terms.

    Over the long term I’ve seen hits to the site roughly equal between non-geo and geo related terms.

    I’ve let my non-geo terms lapse somewhat but have continued with PPC with a lot of #1’s.

    A PPC purchase on a local or regional basis is very critical, certainly on my limited experience but far more critically from this information that points that customers very often search for terms/businesses/products/services with non-geo terms.

    Dave

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes, that was the striking finding of this research for me — most local search is happening w/o geo modifiers.

  3. earlpearl Says:

    Greg: I’d add one other element. I oversee several other loca business sites, but none of them had the high generic listings that my bus site.

    When the serps for generic listings were at their highest in organic search the geo specific queries turned up about 4-5 times as many conversions as the generic terms.

    As my G generic terms have slipped I’ve relied more on locally focused PPC for the generic terms. The ratio of conversions still favors geo related queries but the difference is not as pronounced.

    Locally focused PPC buys are very valuable in my experience both in terms of capturing all logical searchers but especially that 1/2 of searchers that don’t iniitally search with a geo terms.

    The difference between 51 and 49% is minimal. My instinct in speaking with buyers (who convert offline for my business) is that they’ll migrate to geo oriented terms in the future.

    The other interesting fact is how minimally G maps is used. My long term experience is that G Maps, and Y and MSN Local are similarly minimally used by searchers.

    Yet G is incorporating more and more elements from G Maps into G Serps for local queries. Bill Slawski, is of course, a great source for all of the patent applications relating to local and all types of SE patents.

    I see progressively more imbedding of references to G Maps w/in G long tail geo oriented searches. I’d bet G sees terrific click throughs via G Maps and is trying to increase traffic in that direction, as it is a terrific venue to monetize traffic.

    But at less than !% of total G traffic it looks like they have a long way to go. LOL

    Dave

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    For that reason there’s the “plus box”: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/new-google-ui-feature-plus-box/

    Also in the WebVisible study, younger users were more likely to add modifiers.

  5. earlpearl Says:

    The anecdotal evidence today!!!

    I just got off the phone w/someone who checked on the web for our service. She described her query; the #2 term for the industry (plural version) without geo description. She used Google.

    She didn’t see us but got referred into us via her phone calls.

    We used to be #4 for the term (non-geo) and are now 8. We have a geo buy for the term into the area where she lives and are #1 in PPC…but who knows the address of her IP.

    Even at #8 we are the first site with a reference to a map as all competitors above us are chains.

    So many different ways to be found….and so many ways to not be found.

    All you can do is try! LOL

    Dave

  6. earlpearl Says:

    The anecdotal evidence today!!!

    I just got off the phone w/someone who checked on the web for our service. She described her query; the #2 term for the industry (plural version) without geo description. She used Google.

    She didn’t see us but got referred into us via her phone calls.

    We used to be #4 for the term (non-geo) and are now 8. We have a geo buy for the term into the area where she lives and are #1 in PPC…but who knows the address of her IP.

    Even at #8 we are the first site with a reference to a map as all competitors above us are chains.

    So many different ways to be found….and so many ways to not be found.

    All you can do is try! LOL (BTW; she described her age and she is young!)

    Dave

  7. AhmedF Says:

    What other image searches are there besides G and Y and MSN ?

  8. Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local » The prodigal son of a search engine comes home Says:

    [...] Obviously Google Maps gets many fewer visits than the Google search page (in fact only 1/100 of the visits, about 25 million searches a month). For now local data is also being pushed out to cell phones (via directory assistance, SMS, Mobile Maps) but that too is not having a very significant impact. [...]

  9. earlpearl Says:

    MORE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE.

    I don’t know if anyone reads through this dated information but here is a follow up on the person that contacted us on 12/11 even though she didn’t hit our website w/high serps and visibility.

    She purchased from us on 12/28. She spent a lot of time on the phone w/us on two conversations. She was clearly a motivated buyer.

    As a local business we speak w/virtually everyone who is a contact. Our job is to ascertain who is motivated or not and to highlight our business/services.

    She ended up buying direct over the phone subsequent to her first contact, exactly as many have described how the local buying process works off the web. That is our experience with many buyers.

    Dave

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