New York (NY) – Nielsen Netratings today released updated numbers of the U.S. search market. Google still leads the ranking with a comfortable lead, but Yahoo is not giving up easily.
The numbers released by the analysis firm hint towards a increasingly heated battle between the two largest search providers about their core business fields. Both firms outgrew every other search engine multiple times over the past year and were able to increase their market share by a couple percentage points.
Google has been approaching the 50% mark over the past year, but can’t quite reach it yet. In November 2005, Google held a 47.7%, which has grown to 49.5% this year. Google.com ran almost 3.1 billion searches in November 2005, according to Nielsen Netratings.
The company has been hovering around the 49.5% mark for several months and while it is up significantly from 2005, its is slightly down from 49.6% last month. Partially responsible for an apparently slowing trend of market share gains appears to be Yahoo, which increased its market share from 21.8% in November 2005 to 24.3% (1.5 billion searches) in November 2006. Year-over-year growth at Yahoo amounted to 27%; Google grew the number of its searches by 31%.
Behind the top-2, there is little change. At least until now, Windows Live Search is having a small impact on the market. Searches declined year over year by 12% to about 515 million and the market share has now settled at 8.2%, down from more than 11% a year ago. According to Nielsen Netratings, AOL was able to gain some ground last month with searches increasing to 389 million (6.2% market share) and Ask.com increased its rapid growth with a 33% jump to 160 million searches (2.6%).