Microsoft Bing and Yahoo both posted gains in the U.S. search market in March, lifting their combined market share to more than 30 percent, according to the latest numbers from the Experian Hitwise market research firm. Meanwhile, Google slipped 3 percentage points, to less than 65 percent of the market, according to the firm’s data.

It’s good news for Microsoft, which powers the Yahoo search results under a partnership between the companies.

Experian Hitwise also cited another metric suggesting that Bing and Yahoo are delivering more relevant results than their larger rival, with more than 80 percent of searches on their sites resulting in a visit to a website, compared with 66 percent for Google.

The separate monthly search numbers from comScore Networks are used as the official measure of the market the Yahoo-Microsoft search agreement. They have yet to be released for the month of March.

Update: Responding to Isaac’s request in the comments, here’s how Hitwise counted the market a year ago …

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  • Isaac Alexander

    Is it possible to add the numbers from 2010?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, good idea, I’ve added those numbers above.

  • Michael Martinez

    This may be more due to Google’s Panda algorithm update. If searchers are finding what they’re looking for more easily and quickly on Google, then Google should be experiencing fewer page views than previously.

    Search fatigue (where users keep searching until they give up) is a real issue and is just one of several reasons why measuring page views is an obsolete practice for determining search market share.

    The numbers in these reports are truly meaningless fluff that provide no insight into what is actually happening in the search sphere.

    • GV

      Michael that would make sense unless you read the part that says “with more than 80 percent of searches on their sites resulting in a visit to a website, compared with 66 percent for Google”. So Bing is not only gaining ground but giving out better results…

      • Michael Martinez

        You’re injecting Hitwise’s Success Rate estimate into a discussion of Page Views, which is a non sequitur. Google’s Success Rate actually INCREASED in the same period, which could reflect the improvements that they claim the Panda algorithm brought about.

        Hitwise certainly improved the usefulness of its reporting by estimating Success Rates but clearly people haven’t grasped how significant that kind of market share estimate is — there is no mention of it in Todd’s article. He’s just parroting useless data like people have been for years.

        Please don’t take that as an insult, Todd — even Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land continues to hang on to and defend using Page Views as a metric for measuring search market share, even though he himself has denounced that same metric as a valid measure for SEO success.

        We do NOT have good data to work with, but the Success Rate metric gives us an opportunity to improve the estimates.

        Combining the estimates, we can say that approximately 67.06% of February’s queries sent traffic to Websites, versus approximately 66.69% of March’s queries sending traffic to Websites. But how many queries does this represent? Hitwise doesn’t say.

        Google’s adjusted numbers declined from 43.88% to 42.46%, which would be in line with a Panda adjustment and maybe some other factors. Bing’s adjusted numbers increased from 10.96% to 11.50% — which would be in line with Bing actually serving more traffic. Yahoo’s adjusted numbers also increased from 12.22% to 12.73%.

        However, Google’s adjusted decline was 1.42%, whereas Bing and Yahoo!’s combined adjusted increase was 1.05%. Google lost MORE than Bing/Yahoo! gained.

        So while Google was actively working to REDUCE its page views, if Bing and Yahoo! were actively working to INCREASE their page views, no one actually stole any “market share” from anyone.

        2 unrelated volumes of data (Google verses Bing/Yahoo!) simply changed.

  • Sammy

    Although this is not scientific…….I travel around the states and I see Bing on more and more PCs….at customer locations, hotel business centers, and on colleagues laptops. And more and more people have recommended Bing to me in last 6 months instead of Google. Even when I am in Silicon Valley. Bing is getting out even there. I wonder if these research firms under estimate Bing ! Just saying……

  • Bamyers4adds

    Why do the number not add up? The Total percentage of searches is nearly 125%. Looks like the gains are merely due to some imaginary maths.

  • free printable grocery coupons

    eager to see international comparison b/w google and bing… any pointers to non- US data? thanks.

  • free printable grocery coupons

    eager to see international comparison b/w google and bing… any pointers to non- US data? thanks.

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