The European Commission Makes Google Change Search Results

When you have the influence Google has in the virtual world, you expect to receive serious complaints against you from different lobby groups and even government. One such complaint was served by several lobby groups, including Microsoft, to the European Competition Commission. This was three years ago and was followed by an ongoing investigation into Google.

The complaint concerned Google abusing its power in the search world. It was alleged that Google favored its own products in the search results, rather than competitors’ products. Following this three-year investigation, it seems that Google has succumbed to the European Competition’s pressure. To appease the competition, they have adjusted their search results according to an agreement reached with the Commissioner – Joaquin Almunia.

In their Statement on the Google investigation, The EU Competition Commission stated that Google is planning to add an ‘Alternatives’ section of a specialized search service like maps, products, hotels, restaurants etc. Google promises to present three objectively chosen competitors which are also relevant for the user’s search term.

In light of this promised action, we’ve decided to run a check into the overall traffic state of search engines to see how much of this traffic share Google dominates. This data is based on desktop activity during January 2014.

It’s not only big companies such as Microsoft and TripAdvisor that are complaining about Google’s excessive power, SMB owners have also raised concerns. These groups have struggled to get their website ranked, or keep existing rankings, due to all the algorithm changes Google has made in the past few years.

All these recent publications made us eager to get an idea of just how dominant Google is. We ran our check using SimilarWeb PRO – ‘Top Sites’ and ‘Industry Analysis’. The data is from January 2014 and concerns desktop users only.

Top Search Referrals Worldwide, for All Industries:

Going over the statistics for all industries, worldwide, we ran a check on the list of top referring search engines and found the following: Google holds almost 22% of the search traffic share, with Yahoo coming next with only 1.01%, Bing with 0.99% and Yandex with 0.83%.

referring-search-engines

Top Referring Search Engines to All Industries & Countries – By SimilarWeb PRO

Audience Interests via Top Referring Keywords:

When investigating the top search terms for all industries, worldwide, it became clear that Google is not only the top search engine, but also the third top search term. Only YouTube (owned by Google) and Facebook (another internet giant that gets frequently investigated) ranked above it. It seems people are actively searching for Google, including different services related to it:

  • Facebook – 9.26%
  • YouTube (which is owned by Google) – with 8.39%
  • Google – with 4.34%
  • Gmail – with 0.61%
  • Yahoo – with 0.38%
  • Bing – with 0.25%

Website Rank – Top 100 Sites:

According to SimilarWeb’s Top 100 Websites Rank; Google Rank is 2, Yahoo Rank is 4, Live Rank is 5 and Bing Rank is 8. It’s interesting to find not only Google in the top ranks, but also YouTube, which is owned by Google as well:

top-ranked-websites

Top Search Engines by SimilarWeb Global Rank

 

Industry Analysis – Search Engines Traffic Comparison Worldwide:

The Industry analysis feature in SimilarWeb PRO helps you analyze any industry with overall statistics and statistics per traffic source. When checking the overall statistics under the category leaders in the ‘Search Engine’ category, I found the following:

search-engines-traffic-share

Search Engines Traffic Share in January 2014 – By SimilarWeb PRO

 

*To get a clear picture of all TLDs for each of these search engines, I suggest downloading the data shown in the Category Leaders’ table to Excel. Here you can analyze the stats using filters and pivot tables.

search-engines-category leaders

Leading Search Engines Worldwide – By SimilarWeb PRO

 

Going over different traffic metrics, it’s clear that Google is indeed a dominant player in the search engine arena. However, it’s also clear that people are actively searching Google’s tools and services, which indicates they have satisfied customers. Microsoft, and friends, will tell you that this preference is artificial, since Google is making sure its users are directed to its own products. However, I’m not sure if a company like Microsoft can bring up such a claim with a clear conscience, since some people would point to their own behavior in the operating-system and software market.

About the Author -

Natalie Halimi is the Head of Marketing Communications & Education at SimilarWeb. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Natalie has promoted services and products in the B2C and B2B arenas, in various industries.

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