January 18, 2011, 2:05 PM

Amazon’s paid search traffic leaps more than 50% during the holidays

Yahoo and Bing commanded about a quarter of searches, says Experian Hitwise data.

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Amazon.com claimed 12.03% of paid search traffic during December among the top 500 retail sites tracked by Experian Hitwise, a month-over-month improvement in share of traffic of 51% from November. In November, Amazon claimed 7.98% of paid search traffic. Amazon, the No. 1 e-retailer in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, received the most paid traffic among e-retailers during the holiday season, the report says.

Amazon’s nearest competitors for paid search traffic held steady or declined in terms of share of traffic from November to December. Target’s paid search traffic share declined 27% from 7.13% to 5.19%. Sears saw no change and captured 3.48% of search traffic. JC Penney declined 14% from 3.76% to 3.23%, and Walmart.com declined 39% from 5.01% to 3.04%, according to Experian Hitwise, which monitors online traffic.

Google accounted for two-thirds of searches and Bing powered the about a quarter during the 2010 holiday season. Google commanded 69.67% of all searches in December, while Bing-generated searches, a combination of searches completed at Yahoo and Bing, snagged 25.77%. Seventy other search engines made up the remaining 4.56%, the research firm says. Microsoft’s Bing delivers search results for queries submitted at Yahoo.com and at Bing.com. Individually, Yahoo accounted for 15.17% of search traffic and Bing.com 10.60%.

For the second year in a row, the search queries consumers entered into search engines got shorter from November to December. Longer search queries—those comprised of five or more words—declined 4% from November to December in 2010. Queries of five or more words during the same time frame in 2009 declined 2%. Meanwhile, one- and two-word search queries each went up 2% from November to December 2010, about the same as in 2009.

An Experian Hitwise spokesman says the change in query lengths is a sign of the holiday shopping season beginning earlier each year. “This year, consumers were way out in front and researching their purchases even sooner than last year. Come December they knew what they wanted and could use a shorter search term to get there,” a spokesman says.

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