Vs. Other Rating Services
are pluses and minuses to StatMarket's data, as
it relates to search engines. These are outlined
Statistics from major ratings services such as
Media Metrix and Nielsen NetRatings do not break
out the search-specific traffic from other traffic
to popular sites such as Yahoo, Excite and Go.
For instance, this means someone who is visiting
Excite to get their mail or check their horoscope
is counted right alongside those doing searches.
That makes it difficult to know whether a top
ranked site is really top ranked when it comes
to search-specific activities.
In contrast, StatMarket's data ranks search engines
based on the actual searches that were done to
reach web sites that use the HitBox tracker. Potentially,
this makes it far more accurate than the ratings
services for understanding which sites are popular
from a search-specific perspective.
Unfortunately, StatMarket's data depends on users
installing code on their pages. Many do this to
their home pages but ignore their "inside"
pages. That means some visits to inside pages
may not be recorded. This has a serious impact
on crawler-based search engines, which often bring
users directly inside a web site, not just to
the home page. If there is no tracking code on
the pages they reference, then visits that they
are sending will be missed.
One other concern is that a significant number
of pornographic sites make use of HitBox trackers.
That could possibly skew the data from that an
"average" web site would receive. However,
StatMarket says that it has done studies that
show traffic to porn sites does not produce such
Below is a look at the latest StatMarket ratings
that have been released. This shows what percentage
of all search engine-related traffic came from
each search engine to web pages with HitBox counters
on them. Only the top ten search engines generating
traffic are shown, so the total does not equal
100 percent. The chart reflects traffic measured
on Monday, April 3, 2000.
YH=Yahoo, AV=AltaVista, EX=Excite, GO=Go (Infoseek),
LY=Lycos, SP=Snap, GT=GoTo, MSN=MSN, WC=WebCrawler,
Also use this key for charts
below. See the Major Search Engines page for links
to these services.
Yahoo stands well above the other search engines,
and that fits in with statistics from other ratings
services and reports by webmasters who often find
Yahoo to be their top traffic generator.
concerns that I have about inside pages possibly
being missed and skewing the statistics feel confirmed
when you examine the next services listed: AltaVista
and Excite. Both of these are crawler-based search
engines that favor home pages. All things being
equal, they'll list a home page rather than an
inside page. This is probably giving them an advantage
in StatMarket's system, while some of their competitors
might be penalized.
the presence of WebCrawler in the top ten is a
sure sign of skewing. WebCrawler's listings are
heavily dominated by home pages. Most sites will
not have inside pages listed in WebCrawler. Because
of this, WebCrawler is especially likely to do
unusually well in StatMarket's system. Moreover,
having seen referral data from a variety of web
sites, I simply do not believe WebCrawler sends
traffic to more sites than hugely-popular services
such as AOL Search, MSN Search and Netscape Search.
The chart below shows StatMarket ratings over
time. The company released data in 1999 for these
days: Tuesday, March 30; Sunday, August 29; Sunday,
Dec. 19. In 2000, data for Monday, April 3 has
been released. If a search engine is not shown
for all days, this is because it didn't appear
in the top ten list for that date.
with other rating services, StatMarket ranks Yahoo
far above the rest of the search engines. Here's
a look with Yahoo removed, which makes it easier
to see changes among the other search engines:
latest figures show a huge gain by AltaVista.
The search engine began advertising itself in
Fall 1999, but the rise comes after this. Perhaps
the increase is a delayed reaction to AltaVista's
As for Excite, StatMarket previously explained
its drop from March 1999 to a lower level in August
1999 as due to Excite no longer powering the AOL
search service, then known as AOL NetFind. However,
this only makes sense if StatMarket was previously
counting AOL-related traffic as part of Excite's
totals in March. If so, and this seems the case,
then Excite may have been over-reported and really
didn't have such a dramatic fall.
one last closer look, at those generating 10 percent
or less of search engine-related traffic:
here is the gain by Snap, which doubled its previous
rating from 12/99. Snap made a chance since December
that allowed webmasters to more easily list their
sites. Consequently, this is probably why it shows
an increase in the share of search engine related
traffic that it is driving.
Us for more information about a
customized Search Engine Optimization program
for your website. |