Search Engine Usage and Trends in Australia - Statistics & Figures 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I have just come back from the Search Engine Room conference and heard a lot of good things!

All presentations were interesting, but I particularly liked Alan Long's outline of the latest search engine trends in Australia. All the data is from Hitwise, one of the world's largest online data provider. The post below will list some of the key findings for 2009.

Australian Online Usage: Social Media are taking over Search Engines.

In 2009, Australian have spent more and more time on social media websites.The category has grown by 25% compared to 2008. Search engines are still the most visited sites with 12.8% of all site visited, followed by social media with 11.8%, Portal & frontpage with 5.1% and email services with 5.1%

The use of search engines is still growing (+8.6%), but social media are planned to take over especially during the Christmas season.

Australia is one of the nation that use search engines most. US comes ar 10%, UK 12.6% and New Zealand 12.2%.

Search Engines Market Shares in Australia

With no surprise, Google is still dominating the search landscape with over 87.1 % of market share. Bing has grown to 4.7% from 4.1% compared to 2008, while Yahoo remains stable with around 2.3%.

It is interesting to notice that some search engines in Chinese language made it to the top 20 with Baidu at 0.41% and Google China at 0.19%. This trends is also meant to grow next year.

Search Engine Users' Behaviours

User behaviours have slightly changed in 2009. The most significant change is the rise of brand related searches. 14.22% of searches are brand related. Compared to 2006 (8.75%), branded searches have increased by 62.5 %.

Most of the top 20 searches in Google are brand names or brand related phrases.
The most popular brands are social media, followed by online based brands (ebay, seek, hotmail). Only few traditional brands are making it to the top 20 ( ANZ, BOM).

Search engine users have also refined their way of searching. Long tail keyowrds are getting more and more popular.

- 1 word searches: 18.6% have decreased by 5.3% compared to 2008
- 2 words searches: 28.6% have also decreased compared to 2008
- 3 words searches: 24.2% have increased
- 4 words searches: 14.3 % have increased too
- 5 words searches: 14.3 % have increased by 2.2 % compared to 2008

Interestingly Bing is still heavily relying on 1 to 2 words search terms rather than Google tends to generate longer phrases.

One of the most amazing fact is the contribution of paid search against the traffic to all websites in Australia. According to Hitwise's data, paid search contributed to only 4.8% of website traffic. Such figure strongly re-inforce the need to focus on SEO, which should generate most of your traffic.