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UK Internet Search Engine Market Grows In January

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Resarch from Hitwise shows Google still dominates the UK Web search market with over 90 percent share

UK Internet users made 2.3 billion visits to search engines in January 2012, a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent.

Google cemented its position at the top of the table, with research from Experian Hitwise showing that it controlled 90.64 percent of the market.

Increasingly Important

Nearly 100 million more visits were made compared to this time last year and search now accounts for 12 percent of all Internet visits in the UK.

Google suffered a slight decrease from December and although nearest rivals Yahoo and Microsoft Bing made minor gains, their share was smaller than it was last year. Yahoo is currently used for 4.16 percent of searches while Microsoft sites control 2.98 percent of the market.

Searches for entertainment topics were the most popular, accounting for 14 percent of traffic, closely followed by social media with 13 percent and search engines themselves were third with 12 percent.

As the volume of searches increases, Websites are increasingly depending on search engines to deliver traffic. According to the report, 35 percent of all visits online originated from a search engine in January 2012, an increase from 11 percent on last year.

“Search is one of the most crucial elements of online marketing and our data shows that search is growing, with nearly 100 million more visits going to search engines this January than last January,” commented James Murray, market research analyst at Experian Hitwise.

Previous research from the company in August 2011 indicated that Bing had cemented itself as the UK’s second most popular search engine. It also noted that social networks such as Facebook and YouTube were playing an increasingly important role in driving traffic to sites.

Google itself appears to have made strides in this sector, with Hitwise revealing last month that Google+ had received 49 million visits in the US through December, an increase of 55 percent from the previous month. Google does not differentiate between the social networking site and other services such as Google Docs and Gmail.