Posts

yahoo_logo_detail

It’s that time of year again. The ‘best of’ and ‘year in review’ lists are rolling out as we near the new year. The first search engine to get in on the fun is Yahoo, who revealed its year in review for 2016, including search data from sister companies Polyvore, Tumblr, and Flickr.

As you can expect, the election and other major current events dominated much of the search results for the year. But, you can also see other trends that show exactly what people were interested in, like the top companies and lifestyle searches for 2016.

Yahoo’s overall top searches include:

  1. 2016 Election
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Roblox
  4. Gwen Stefani
  5. 2016 Olympics
  6. Khloe Kardashian
  7. Megyn Kelly
  8. Jodie Sweetin
  9. Kim Kardashian-West
  10. Hillary Clinton

Yahoo’s top news stories, according to Yahoo News, include:

  1. Election Day
  2. Prince Dies
  3. Pulse Nightclub Massacre
  4. Deadly Attack in Istanbul
  5. Hurricane Matthew
  6. Baton Rouge Police Shooting
  7. EgyptAir Flight 804 Located
  8. Trump Protests
  9. Clinton Emails
  10. Presidential Debates

Perhaps the most surprising part of Yahoo’s list isn’t who appears, but who is omitted. Google is conspicuously absent in the list of top companies from Yahoo Finance. Considering the list is based on the top-read stories rather than top searches, it is rather strange to see Google entirely absent.

Yahoo’s list of top companies, according to Yahoo Finance, include:

  1. Apple
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Bank of America
  5. Amazon
  6. Tesla
  7. Alibaba
  8. Valeant Pharmaceuticals
  9. Ford
  10. Wells Fargo

Is Google a search engine? The answer might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to find out that Google is in fact not a search engine. At least, according to a recent piece of legislation adopted by the European Union it isn’t. The same goes for Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other site currently in existence.

After two years of negotiation, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed upon the final text of the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive in December 2015. The goal of the legislation was to lay out the first set of EU-wide cyber security rules, but the initiative has received strong criticism already from many industries.

While digital technologies, social network platforms, and financial institutions have plenty of reason to take grievance over the legislation, search engines have the biggest bone to pick. The directive establishes a firm and specific definition for ‘online search engines,’ however that definition rules out any currently existing site. In fact, to be within the terms set by the EU, a website would have to break several other laws set by the European Union.

Here is the definition of a search engine according to the new directive:

“‘Online search engine’ is a digital service that allows users to perform searches of in principle all websites in a particular language, on the basis of a query on any subject in the form of a keyword, phrase or other input; and returns links in which information related to the requested content can be found.”

The primary issue with the definition is the key phase ‘in principle all websites’. Google, as well as Bing, Yahoo, and others, all index the vast majority of websites online, but they have a few boundaries. Google refuses to index any websites from the dark web or Tor websites, follows directions from robots.txt files to not be indexed, and complies with the European Right to be Forgotten ruling.

The Right to be Forgotten ruling allows users to request outdated, irrelevant, or embarrassing content be removing from Google’s listings. By following the orders of this ruling, as well as removing revenge porn and other objectionable content, Google and all other existing websites are ruled out as ‘search engines’ according to the new definition.

So what does this mean for Google and other sites which would be described by anyone other than politicians as ‘search engines’? Probably not much. Everyone will continue to call them search engines and any attempts from the EU to legally restrict Google from calling itself a search engine would most likely backfire.

If anything, it just goes to show that politicians aren’t the most in touch with modern technologies and platforms.

yahoo_logo_detail

Want to know what everyone will be searching for this spring ahead of time? Yahoo claims to have the answers in their newly revealed list of top search trends for this spring. Using search data from last year and recent months, Yahoo uncovered the top trends in search to keep an eye on this season.

These are the top search trends for spring 2016, according to Yahoo:

  • DIY: Spring is the season of house improvement projects, which means people are searching for “how to” tips for their new venture. January, March, and April are the peak months for “how to build” searches, especially in the Southeast. In particular, Yahoo says sheds, tree houses, decks, and raised garden beds are especially popular this year.
  • Painting: Along with DIY projects, searches for phrases like “what paint colors go with…” are going up. Putting a new paint of coat on living rooms and kitchens are the most popular projects for many searchers this year, according to Yahoo.
  • Organization: As people are making the switch from their winter clothes to their warm-weather wardrobe, there’s going to be a big increase searches for closet organization.
  • Outdoors: Searchers are also getting ready for the warm weather by searching for outdoor equipment and furniture like patio furniture, outdoor furniture, lawn mowers, and spring sets.
  • BBQs: Unsurprisingly, searches for “grills” go way, way up from March to May.
  • Chairs: Adirondack chairs are a big item this year, looking to peak in April. Interestingly, Yahoo says people searching for this style of chair are also 98% more likely to drive a luxury SUV.
  • Allergies: Allergy season is just getting started, but clearly people are already ready for it to be over. From February to June there is a large increase in searches asking “when do seasonal allergies end.”
  • Taxes: Up until Tax Day, this is going to be a popular topic for searchers every year. However, this year has some noteworthy changes from the past. Over a quarter of searches for “tax prep” are expected to come from mobile devices, and those looking for tax prep advice are skewing younger than 35 years-old with an annual income below $75k.

Yahoo is offering this information to help search marketers and seasonal businesses refine their content strategies and get ahead of the trends this year. If you act now, you can take advantage of the insight to make yourself the first choice as this year’s hot searches heat up.

BingLogo

As of January 1st, Bing is officially powering AOL’s search results as the result of a long-term deal made by the two companies in June of last year. Rick van der Kooi, Corporate VP of Microsoft Search Advertising announced the change, saying:

“Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.”

Van der Kooi also shared some interesting bits of information to help illustrate the scale of the partnership, including:

  • 1 in 5 searches happen on Bing.com
  • Bing also powers search results for the third largest search provider in the US (Yahoo)
  • With Bing now powering AOL searches, the engine now powers close to one-third of all US PC web searches.

The company looks to gain even more ground by acquiring the built-in audience from AOL, which is responsible for generating billions of search queries a year.

Unlike Bing’s deal with Yahoo, Bing’s will be powering 100% of AOL’s search results across all devices. In the Yahoo agreement, only 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search results are powered by Bing, with no support for mobile.

Bing is swinging back at critics with new data that shows Bing Ads is successfully serving Yahoo search ad click volume.

According to a new Bing Ads blog post, Bing Ads delivered ad clicks against more than 99 percent of Yahoo desktop traffic and approximately 90 percent of traffic from mobile devices over the last month. The click volume continues to average 99 percent of Yahoo’s April baseline click volume as well.

The post also says that a 1 percent deviation month-over-month is a normal reflection of seasonal queries.

 yahoo-click-volume

In April, Yahoo and Microsoft renegotiated their search partnership after six years, which led to rumors that Bing Ads would not be successfully serving Yahoo search ad click volume, but the data disputes those claims.

Under the old deal, Bing Ads delivered all the desktop search ads across Yahoo properties, but the new deal allows Yahoo to serve up to 49 percent of that traffic from its own Gemini ad system. Additionally, both companies can now sell their own ads, which previously only Yahoo could do.

Firefox Yahoo

Google has been heavy-handed in trying to woo Firefox users back to their search engine since Yahoo became the default search engine for the browser. It also appears to be working.

ComScore released the latest US search market share numbers for February and it seems Yahoo is gradually losing the gains they have made since they made a deal to become the default search engine for the browser and Google is reaping the benefits.

Screen-Shot-2015-03-18-at-10.47.35-AM-600x278

Since the switch over lost Google a small portion of users, Google has been practically begging users to make switch back. While there hasn’t been a mass exodus back to the motherland of Google, Yahoo is seemingly losing a slow but steady stream of users back to Google.

According to comScore’s report, Yahoo lost approximately 10 percent of its search volume from January to February, while Google recouped a tenth of a point along with Bing. This lines up with another recent report from StatCounter which also indicated a loss by Yahoo between January and February.

Screen-Shot-2015-03-18-at-10.57.59-AM-600x379

From the time Yahoo became the primary search engine to January, Yahoo had gained 1.2 points. Now Yahoo is still above their previous levels, but it has list .2 percent of those gains. The question is whether the trend continues.

It is important to note comScore’s numbers don’t include data from mobile searches, where Google is even more dominant.

For years, Google has had a strong hold on the search industry, maintaining over a 75% market share for the desktop search market. If recent months are any indication however, that grip appears to be loosening.

According to the latest data from StatCounter, Google’s desktop search market share dipped below 75% for the first time since July 2008, continuing a downward trend that started in November.

US Search Share Jan

In November, Mozilla replaced Google with Yahoo as the default search engine on its Firefox web browser. Initially Google didn’t seem to be concerned, but a three month drop in search share seems to be finally getting their attention.

In mid-January Firefox users who visited the Google homepage were greeted with a banner encouraging them to set the search engine as their default. At the same time, Google also began tweeting instructions for how to replace the search engine.

US Search Share Jan Firefox

Since the five-year agreement was made between Yahoo and Mozilla, Yahoo has been consistently gaining ground, already replacing Bing as the second most popular desktop search engine. In total, Yahoo has nearly tripled its share of the desktop search market on Firefox, climbing to over 28% from less than 10% in November.

In the long run, it is still unclear whether Yahoo is going to be able to continue its ascent. While the changes are substantial, Firefox is also the least popular major desktop browser available. The change is search share is also limited to desktop, suggesting users aren’t so much choosing a new search engine but accepting what they are being given.

Despite these challenges, Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, says Yahoo is already beating the odds:

“Some analysts expected Yahoo to fall in January as a result of Firefox users switching back to Google. In fact Yahoo has increased US search share by half a percentage point. It will be fascinating to see if these gains continue.”

It will be interesting to see if the trend continues and how Google might try to persuade more users to actively choose their search engine over the default.

yahoo-search-appAccording to new data from web traffic analytics provider StatCounter, Yahoo has reached its highest share of the U.S. search market in more than five years thanks to a recent agreement with Mozilla.

In December, Yahoo’s search share jumped to 10.4 percent, up from 8.6 percent in November. The new share of the search market came at the expense of Google, who was previously the default search engine for Mozilla’s web browser Firefox.

In late November, Mozilla agreed to a five-year partnership with Yahoo, breaking a 10 year partnership with Google. December marked the first full month during which Yahoo was the primary search engine on Firefox.

The drop brought Google to its lowest share ever recorded by the analytics firm, falling from 77.3 percent to 75.2 percent.

SearchShareDec2014

“The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on U.S. search,” says Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter. “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”

Bing also saw an increase in their share of the search market last month, though not nearly as significant of an increase as Yahoo. From November to December, Bing’s share rose from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent. The “other” category stayed practically the same, fluctuating from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.

Google has had a strong grip on the vast majority of web traffic, but a new report suggests they are losing their grasp. In just two weeks since Yahoo replaced Google as the default search engine in Firefox’s latest version, the search engine has experienced a 29.4 percent growth in usage, while Google has experienced a significant drop.

Analytics firm StatCounter said that “Yahoo search was used three times more on Firefox 34 than on Firefox 33.”

It should be noted, the user base of Firefox 24 is relatively low as many users haven’t upgraded yet and Firefox’s US market share overall is only about 15 percent. However, StatCounter still showed that Yahoo has benefited a fair amount from this deal, growing from 9.6 percent to 29.4 percent. In comparison, Google usage in the latest version of Firefox fell from 82.1 percent to 63.5 percent.

Screen-Shot-2014-12-03-at-3.38.35-PM-800x494

In the big picture it is clear that Google still has a massive lead on other search engines, but that lead doesn’t seem near as solid as it once did. This report shows that “default” search engines still hold a lot of influence over how users interact with the web. With Google’s agreement with Safari also coming to an end in the near future, there is a large chance that Yahoo or Bing could continue to make significant gains.

For the longest time, online marketing was all about making yourself visible on search engines, with a heavy emphasis on Google. But, social media, smartphones, and the wide array of apps with their own search capabilities are beginning to take a chunk out of search engine traffic and marketers are going to have to expand their focus if they want to continue to be successful.

A new report from Shareaholic shows that all of the top five search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, and AOL – have all seen a significant decline in search traffic since December of 2013.

The report used data from December 2013 through May 2014 to evaluate aggregate organic search traffic numbers from more than 300,000 publishers reaching an audience of more than 400 million monthly unique visitors. From that data, Shareaholic saw that Google’s search traffic fell 17 percent between last December and May of this year.

Shareaholic-Google-search-traffic-trends-600x356

Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, and AOL saw even larger drops in traffic compared to Google, with Bing and Yahoo both experiencing 31 percent declines.

Shareaholic-search-engine-traffic-trends-600x357

Shareaholic also looked at engagement from each search engine and found that although Google accounts for 17 times more traffic than Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, and AOL combined, their users are often less engaged. This suggests that while Google may still control the vast majority of search traffic, it’s users may not be as valuable as the other more engaged searchers from across other search engines.

Shareaholic-User-engagement-by-search-engine