January 18, 2006, 12:00 AM

Using Google to find Yahoo

November figures from Nielsen/NetRatings show that many web users aren’t loyal to one search engine. Five of the 10 top-searched terms at search engines were other search engine sites.


Web surfers are using search engines to navigate their way to common web sites rather than typing the web site’s URL directly into their browser’s address bar, with 43% of online searchers using the search box much like an address bar, November figures from Nielsen/NetRatings show. The top 10 search terms in November were web site names such as Google and eBay rather than the names of topics or themes.

Topping the list of searched terms in November according to Nielsen/NetRatings’ MegaView Search were “eBay,” with 13.9 million requests; “Google,” with 13.3 million requests, and “yahoo,” with 8.0 million requests. A total of five of the 10 most-searched terms during the month were for sites having search engines themselves, demonstrating that web visitors aren`t necessarily loyal to one search engine. Other popular search terms were for retail sites including WalMart.com, and sites such as Mapquest.com that offer a service.

Chief Nielsen/NetRatings analyst Ken Cassar speculates that there are two type of online searchers that use a search engine’s search box to navigate the web rather that type a URL directly into their browser`s address bar: users inexperienced enough not to recognize the difference between the two, and those so experienced they’ve become accustomed to using a search engine as their portal to the Internet. “Whether this behavior is driven by ignorance or savvy, the end result is the same: the search engine is the focal point of the online experience for Internet users across the spectrum,” Cassar says.



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