Search Engine Watch receives regular statistics on search engine usage from Neilson Net Ratings. Neilson Net Ratings gathers data from over one million Internet users in the United States with Neilson software installed on their home and work computers that records every site visited. Measuring three unique metrics, these stats provide a present and historic view of search engine usage.

The first series of stats shows the approximate number of searches at a particular search engine each month and the percentage of overall usage that number represents. These numbers represent the total number of times a search engine user searched directly at each engine.

Google still rules with 47.1% of all searches conducted at (1.923-billion searches in Jan2005). That number is down from a May 2004 survey which showed 56.4% of users going to first.

Next comes Yahoo with 21.2% of all search activity conducted at (868-million searches in Jan2005). This number is consistant with May 2004 figures.

Third comes MSN with 12.8% (523-million), up from 9.2% in May 2004.

Rounding out the Top10 come:
AOL: 4.7%,
Netscape: 1.8%,
Ask Jeeves: 1.8%,
MyWay: 1.4%,
iWon: 1%,
EarthLink: 0.9% and
My Search: 0.8%

Next, SEW lists stats on the number of times searches are conducted over engines that own multiple brands. For instance, Yahoo owns AltaVista, Overture and AlltheWeb, while Ask Jeeves owns iWon, MyWay, Teoma and My Search.

Google: 47.1%
Yahoo: 21.2%
MSN: 12.8%
AOL: 6.6%
Ask: 5.1%
EarthLink: 0.9%

The last series of stats is called the Search Provider View. These figures measure which search engine actually powers which percentage of results. Not every search tool generates results from their own database. AOL for instance, purchases results from Google, as does Netscape, iWon and Excite.

Google continues to drive the most search results with 55% of organic listings and 60% of paid-listings.

Yahoo comes in a distant second with 21% of organic listings and 34% of paid-listings.

MSN is third in organic results at about 13% but currently does not have a paid-listing program.

Ask comes in fourth with just over 5% of all organic search results generated from the Ask/Teoma database.

For more information, please visit the full Danny Sullivan article at: Search Engine Watch