Coasting Into January

Ah, the week between Christmas and New Years – most of us have started (or already have been) coasting into January. It’s that magical week of the year when it’s okay that productivity grinds to a halt while we all gather at home (ours or relatives’) to bake cookies, watch football and practice Guitar Hero 3.

Well, amid all of this “coasting” comScore released their November U.S. Search Engine Rankings. Riveting, isn’t it? On the surface, no. Total searches declined from October by about five percent; Google’s share of searches increased by two tenths of a percent while Yahoo lost ground and Microsoft pushed.

Yawn.

Farther down the page is the “Expanded Search Query Report” that contains a few little pearls of delicious, statistical significance. Here’s the meat of this report that would easily be missed during this week’s push to get nothing done:

ComScore reports that while Google properties accounted for nearly 7.4 billion searches this month (over 52% of total queries). The number of searches on Google.com actually fell 4.2% while searches on Google partner sites increased by 9.3%.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not one of those “search is dead” posts that the Chicken Littles of the industry are throwing into the air along with their distressed hands. Search is alive as it ever has been and the future’s paved with hundred dollar bills. Besides, these values can hardly be considered an actionable trend (last month comScore reported a 14.8% jump in Google.com searches in October over September). So, please folks, let’s stop the needless rending of garments & gnashing of teeth – search is fine.

What is interesting, though, is the inversion of values during the throes of the holiday shopping season. There’s no question that Google’s collection of search network & partner sites (YouTube, Blogger, et al) has grown into something of its own juggernaut; besting Microsoft & Time Warner (AOL) search properties in terms of the number of monthly queries. What’s more is the amalgamation of Google partners is swiftly closing in on Yahoo who continues to lose share.

November’s 9.3% increase coupled with a 6.5% increase in October indicates that these partner sites continue to capture a greater share of monthly searches. As social media continues to strengthen its foothold in the online marketplace so too will the presence and might of Google partner sites.

So, when you and the rest of your marketing team get back to the office next week, take some time to talk about how you plan to market your products and/or services not only in the context of search, but also in the brave, new world of social media.

Oh, and if you’d like some assistance with that, let us help.