Yahoo and Microsoft Creep Up on Search Leader Google

Even as Yahoo tries to reinvent itself and Microsoft’s Bing tries to define itself, Google remains the clear search champ. That’s the takeaway from the new monthly survey by comScore, which puts Google’s market share at 65.8 percent in July, with Yahoo remaining in second place at 17.1 percent and Bing third at 11 percent.

The numbers were virtually the same as in June, with Google dropping .4 percent, Yahoo rising .4 percent, and Microsoft remaining even. Ask Network was fourth, at the same 3.8 percent in July as in the preceding month, and AOL is fifth at 2.3 percent, about .1 percent less than the previous month.

Explicit Core Search

Those figures are part of comScore’s Explicit Core Search Share Report, which it will now report every month along with its Total Core Search.

The company defines Explicit Core Search as “user engagement with a search service with the intent to retrieve search results,” which means that contextual links and slideshows are excluded. Slideshows in response to a search query results in multiple web pages, and each slide can be counted as a search. Contextual links can count even when the user is simply hovering over a link and not clicking.

Slideshows and contextual links were recently added by Bing and Yahoo, and some search-engine observers have described these additions as ways that the two companies “inflate” their search volume. Explicit Core Search, as defined by comScore, reflects the “traditional” view of searches, in which a user conducts a search, sees results, and can refine the search if desired.

Some analysts have indicated that slideshows and contextual links constituted a significant amount of the reported search results from Yahoo and Bing in June.

comScore’s Cameron Meierhoefer told news media that his company noticed “a significant spike” in nontraditional searches and, as a result, comScore is now classifying contextually driven searches as a different kind of search.

Yahoo-Microsoft Alliance

In comScore’s separate Total Core Search Share Report, which includes slideshows and contextual links, Google still leads, but with 61.6 percent. Yahoo, again number two, has 20.1 percent, and Microsoft takes 12.6 percent, with Ask and AOL again fourth and fifth.

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