UK search behaviour

Another fascinating piece by Heather Hopkins of Hitwise reveals some truly staggering information. Her blog item today shows that MSN and Yahoo are more or less level in the UK market… unlike in the US, where Yahoo has a significant lead. But I’m more interested in another factlet she drops in:

Google UK, Search, Yahoo! UK & Ireland Search and Search together powered 82% of all UK internet searches in the four weeks ending 20th May 2006. Combining the UK and .com properties for these search engines that number climbs to 96%.

So in other words, UK users use the UK versions of the search engines in very significant numbers. (Near enough six out of every seven searches, if I extrapolate correctly.) And I wonder what impact this might have on those who think they’re being clever by hosting their websites in the US. The site you’re reading now, for example, is located in the US, and doesn’t show up when you restrict your search to UK sites only.

But here’s an even more extraordinary statistic which Heather passed me by email (ta H!). The single most searched-for term on both MSN UK Search and Yahoo UK last week was… Google. According to the Overture numbers, a fraction shy of 8.2 million such searches were carried out on Yahoo UK during April 2006. People are going to a Yahoo search box to find Google. Somebody has got some serious branding work to do.

2 thoughts on “UK search behaviour”

  1. Simon – thanks for your comment about the post. It is amazing to me that people type in “google” to the search box on Yahoo! and MSN Search. But, I must confess… I do the same! I takes more effort to type in than to search for “ebay” and click on the first result. I also just got another comment on the same post that you can also type in “google” into your URL address bar and you will go straight to the site.
    Excellent shortcut! 🙂

  2. When I do that in IE7, it automatically runs a search query for the default search engine, and shows me the full page of results. In Firefox, it seems to take me to the #1 search result, as if I’d clicked on ‘I’m feeling lucky’. Although curiously, it seems to be Google US, despite my interface search box querying Google UK.
    I’ve always been a fan of holding down ‘control’ as you press enter, to automatically add ‘www.’ to the front and ‘.com’ to the end of a word in the address bar – works on both IE and Firefox. (There’s probably a way to set a Firefox keyboard shortcut to add ‘’ on the end, instead.)

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