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Popular Search Engines
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Getting your site ranked at the top of a search engine listing can be daunting, but that is only part of the equation. To maximize your reach, you need to know which search engines are the most popular, and which search engines best reach your target audiences.

Webmasters know that major search engines are the most important places to be listed because of their potential to generate tremendous amounts of traffic. Salient Marketing takes this to the next level by ensuring your web site is well ranked and generates targeted traffic.

Searchers generally first go to well-known, commercially-backed search engines because they see them as guaranteeing dependable results. These search engines tend to be backed by large organizations, capable of proper maintenance, frequent hardware and software upgrades and continually scaled to stay just ahead of the Web’s frantic growth pace.

Knowledge of the biggest, best and most popular search engine sites has become a valuable commodity. Services handling traditional ratings such as Nielsen, (i.e. television/entertainment, consumer habits) have added the Internet and the Web to their services. Nielsen’s NetRatings service now conducts global web site ratings in 26 countries with 250,000 users being monitored with real-time meters as they surf the Web.

US Digital Media Universe Audience Reach
Home & Work Users, January 2003

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings

The popularity of search engines in general is undeniable. No other invention has become so globally ubiquitous. Imagine – available free to anyone, in a variety of flavors. It is the first stop for virtually everyone as the Internet’s gateway to the world.

A recent survey of U.S. web users identified five search engine sites, each with a market penetration of greater than 5 percent and the top three with a reach of more than a quarter of all web users. This showed increasing migration of users to top-tier web sites as previous surveys had shown at least 10 sites with a greater than 5 percent penetration.

Average Minutes Spent Searching Per Visitor
Home & Work Users, January 2003

  • AOL with 38 minutes
  • Google with 28.5 minutes
  • InfoSpace with 11.1 minutes
  • Yahoo with 11 minutes
  • Ask Jeeves with 10.2 minutes

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings

Then there is the quantity vs. quality argument for determining search engine popularity. Are users who spend more time surfing a particular site doing so because they are serious surfers looking for detailed information? Are they simply taking longer to find something on one site that may take a fraction of the time to find on another search site? Are they “career” surfers who wander aimlessly for hours in cyberspace?

Whatever the reason, a survey of popularity based on time spent by individuals searching on particular search engine sites produces a dramatically different set of results. Now the top three based on average minutes spent searching per visitor is AOL (38 minutes) Google (28.5 minutes) and InfoSpace (11.1 minutes). Yahoo! (11 minutes) and AskJeeves (10.2 minutes) round out the top five.

Here’s a quick look at the top Internet search engines:

Search Engines

Additional Search Engine Resources

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