Yahoo! MSN, Who The Hell Are They?


I was checking my search engine referral stats tonight and I just can’t help staring at the above pie chart, with its sea of Google blue. Nielsen/NetRatings says Google owns 50% of all searches but judging from my search engine traffic stats, the 50% who don’t use Google obviously don’t visit my blog!

This Google dominance extends to my other sites as well. Every other webmasters I have talked to tells me that their biggest search referrer is Google, and by a wide margin. So I am wondering is there anyone out there who has a website or blog, and Google does not represent at least 50% of search traffic? Nielsen/NetRatings says Google only has 50% of the search market. Either their stats are completely off, or my sites (and those of my friends) just don’t attract other search engines.

As I have previously posted, I am really happy with the rise of search engine traffic. Back in August, I received just 269 visitors from search engines. In September, that number jumped to 2,585 search engine visitors. For the 26 days of this month, search engines (well Google) have sent me 9,028 visitors. The numbers look even more impressive when I do a week-by-week break down.

  • September 1 – 7: 72
  • September 8 – 14: 79
  • September 15 – 21: 321
  • September 22 – 28: 1643
  • October 1 – 7: 1,687
  • October 8 – 14: 2,101
  • October 15 – 21: 2,916

So far this week, search engines have sent 2,324 visitors, with still three days left in the week. From beginning to end, Google accounted for over 95% of search traffic. Everyone tries to get search engine traffic because it is the most valuable traffic. A search engine user is 14 times more likely to click on an ad than a user coming from a website link. Traffic equal income, there is no doubt about that. However, search engine traffic is worth the most income. So how do you get it?

Search traffic is directly affected by the amount of websites and blogs linking to you, and this is the reason for the growth in the blog search traffic. On my week 3 update I said there were 89,700 pages outside of John Chow dot Com linking to the blog. A check now shows that number has increased to 96,600. In other words, the blog received 6,900 new backlinks in the past four days. Just three months ago, this blog only had a few hundred links. Now it gets thousands of new links everyday.

I got all those backlinks by producing unique and compelling content that people want to link to. That is really the key to all this. Your content is what is going to make or break your blog. If your content sucks, no one is going to read it, much less link to it. No links equals no search engine ranking, which equals no search traffic. In addition to great content, there are other ways to get more sites linking to you. I covered those methods in The Art Of Link Baiting and The Art Of Link Development. You may want to give them a read if you haven’t already. I’ll give a few other tips in a future blog post.

In the mean time, if Google accounts for 50% or less of your search traffic, please let me know. I’m still looking for that one site where that is the case.

40 thoughts on “Yahoo! MSN, Who The Hell Are They?”

  1. mad4 says:

    You are not using the correct search to find your links. You need to have link: in the query otherwise you are just finding sites that mention your site rather than actually link to it.

    The correct query at Yahoo is

    The correct query at Google shows 190 links:

  2. John Chow says:

    The way I did it is correct. will show links to outside of

    While it is possible that site mentioning may not link it, I find that highly unlikely. Another way to be more sure it’s a link is to use That returns back 86,700 results.

    I see my Yahoo links has gone up as well. The last time I checked I was only at about 7,000. Too bad Yahoo accounts for less than 2% of search traffic.

  3. geek says:

    Well I receive no traffic from google, and the reason is that my blog is not yet added to google search results 🙂 .

  4. Remik says:

    Hello John
    You forgot about non-english, local search engines. For example, in Poland (where I live) we have netsprint – used by second biggest polish portal (, in Russia yandex etc.

    Great blog btw:-)

  5. Carl says:

    Occasionally my blog will receive referrals from MSN and Yahoo’s Hong Kong search engines. It appears that their algorithm puts great importance on the domain you’re using (I use .hk, so a lot of search for HK related stuff comes to me).

    But I think at least 95% of US search referrals come from Google.

  6. Matthew says:

    Google represents 88% of searches hitting my site. It would be interesting to find someone with 50% or lower.

  7. HMTKSteve says:

    I get the most hits from Google. Not as large of a percentage as your pie graph shows but 50%+.

    What I do not understand is why certain keywords send traffic to my site.

    Keywords such as “sexvideo” are near the top of my list yet I host no sex or videos???

    What I have found very interesting is that as my website gets more popular I see it’s name put in the meta tags of other sites in an attempt to sponge off of my popularity!

  8. Ian says:

    From my experience, for most people who don’t get multi-diggs, it can take longer to build up the google traffic than msn or yahoo, and it’s easier to get kicked to the curb.
    I have one site, for which the Google stats look like a big blocks, ie for a month I’ll have lots of google referrals, then all of a sudden google drops it for a while (not completely though, just to about 10% the level of my yahoo/msn referrals), and then just as suddenly picks it up again.
    Another of my sites, is about equal for MSN, Yahoo and Google and has been for a long time, except for a brief period when MSN was much higher.

  9. Derrich says:

    I tried this link:

    I got this response:
    Your search – – did not match any documents.

    I know for sure I’m linked up to at least two sites. =\ And my site comes up when searching for “derrich” or “”. Thoughts?

  10. Gdog says:

    What site are you guys using to track your site stats? Google Analytics? Sitemaps?

  11. Char says:

    Most of my sites get most of their search engine traffic from Google, however, my printables site ( gets 75% of its SE traffic from MSN. Go figure?

  12. Derrich says:

    Gdog…I’m using Google Analytics and Google Webmasters Tools for the sitemaps. Since I’m using WordPress, I’m using this plugin to create my sitemap, which I update each time I make a post on my blog…about everyday.

  13. Google accounts for only 20% of the search engine traffic on my website

    MSN leads the way at nearly 50%

  14. We get less traffic from google viz yahoo. I dont know why but it looks like yahoo is more agressive in indexing new sites.

    We havent got any hit from MSN. Any ideas why ?

  15. vik says:

    Congrats John. You have been Dugg, again 🙂

  16. noodle says:


    young people and web-savvy people use google. we use it a lot more than the unwashed masses. thats why pages like yours get the traffic from google. people who know how to search and know their way around the web find things through google.

    but for the unwashed masses who have no clue about searching or the internet in general, they go to yahoo because of the commercials (i know some old people who call the internet “the yahoo”). they vastly outnumber us, but perform less searches. they use the default MSN search because they type in, for example, “betty crocker” instead of “”.

    or, thats my $0.02.

  17. siong1987 says:

    I have the almost same statistics as you. Your effort on writing quality contents is really good. I found that many blogs normally have higher percentage on getting organic traffic from google.

  18. Dave says:

    Here’s the breakdown for my site:

    56.47% Google
    28.79% Yahoo
    10.69% MSN
    But add another 1.96% for Google CPC

  19. Aran says:

    I have a popular open source template website.

    Google accounts for over 96% of my search traffic.

    On my other web sites, Google averages out at 88%

    Yahoo being the 2nd and msn just doesn’t count at all on all 10 sites (less then 1%)

  20. PaulG says:

    Yahoo search submit enables people to pay for their pages to appear in Yahoo. Though they claim this just influences page inclusion not ranking, yahoo is typically much slower to index and include all a sites pages (to be honest if ever). I suspect this scews the share significantly. If you’re not paying for search submit, then you’ve probably a limited number of pages indexed by yahoo compared to that indexed by google.

  21. Unfortunately, your analogy is flawed.

    The simple reason that your traffic is so heavily skewed to Google is simply because Google attaches a much higher relevance to your site than the other engines do for popular search terms.

    Check the keywords that people are searching when they click through to you. The only fair way to judge fairly is to compare a common keyword when you have similar ranking for different providers.

    For example: If you ranked #1 for the search term “buggles” in all 3 search engines, then the comparison would be fair. If, however, you rank #1 in Google, but #72 in Yahoo, then obviously you will receive much higher traffic from Google.

    Because Google tends to lend higher credence to blogs, and is also harder to manipulate rankings, many popular blogs rank much higher in Google than they do in MSN or Yahoo. That’s why many blogs receive a huge majority of their traffic from Google.

    A truer picture would come from sites that rank #1 for a very common keyword, such as for the keyword Amazon.

    Otherwise, it’s really based exclusively on how well you rank for popular keywords, nothing more.

  22. Ian says:

    Ok, tell the truth John, do you have a secret organization of diggers that team up to digg all your articles?

  23. Sean says:

    I run about 10 different web sites, most of them are tech oriented but a few are much more general interest (for example, one of them is a restaurant guide for mid sized city in Oregon).

    Google absolutely dominates on all of them, more than 90% of search traffic across all my sites is from Google.

    But here’s the thing. If I look at the searches people do on Google that lead to my sites, and I go to Yahoo or MSN or whatever and type in the same search, I will almost always see one of my sites in the very first few results.

    What does that tell me? Not that Google is biased towards my sites, but that those search engines get crap for traffic (relative to Google). I can only conclude that Nielsen is getting money under the table from someone (probably MS) to downplay the absolute domination of Google.

  24. Sean says:

    I forgot to say, some of my sites are blogs, but some are not. I’ve heard, and other people are saying here, that Google gives higher ranking to blogs than other engines. Well, the fact that half my sites aren’t blogs, yet show the exact same domination from Google, throws that out the window in my opinion.

  25. Dave says:

    In response to Roomba, from my earlier post:

    Here’s the breakdown for my site:

    56.47% Google
    28.79% Yahoo
    10.69% MSN
    But add another 1.96% for Google CPC

    Note that my site is an eCommerce site for any sort of relevance of the blog vs. other types of sites and Google ranking them higher.

  26. Shane says:

    Alexa is skewed towards tech sites because their toolbar is mostly used by Webmasters. Digg is skewed towards tech and business sites because their home page is the ‘Technology’ page.

    All ratings systems have some degree of brain fart factor.

  27. forgive me if this is a double post also gets most of our search visitors from Google – over 80%. I theorize that its because of Google’s more tech-savvy userbase, who are also the same people who would be interested in search engine rankings and internet marketing. I suspect that has a similar userbase, and is attracting more of the tech-savvy users that Google appeals to.

    We do have sites, mostly in the consumer shopping area, that get more traffic from Yahoo and MSN than google, though.

  28. Matt says:

    Wow. That’s one hell of a rise. Most of my new sites receive traffic almost exclusively from MSN but this gradually changes as backlinks come in.

  29. bonsai_bob says:

    John Chow is a … Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore Google Whore… Sorry John, couldn’t resist.

  30. Keith says:

    My site is also commonly visited by Google’s bot. It is no different to most other sites.

  31. Kev says:

    My site also has at least 80% of all search referrals from Google, I don’t really find this too surprising as SEO related searches are going to come from more technical users who are more likely to use Google.

  32. Henry says:

    I am too cheap to get a real .com address… yahoo won’t even let me add my blogger account to their search engine. Perhaps they just really dislike blogs and factor that into their rankings. Although since is a .com address it would be hard to distinguish it as a blog. Yahoo perhaps places a lower value on the links to this site causeing its page rank to drop.

  33. Nikolai says:

    more and more I begin to appreciate the value of writing the content yourself…. no duplicate penalty, it gets indexed fast, and most importantly, you get traffic from it…

    Good for you John. My sites do not get too many visitors sent by Google. I will now start writing my own content (so far I was buying the PLR with little success) and see if this will make a difference.

    You are an inspiration 🙂

  34. Andy says:

    Thats intersting – I see most of my traffic from MSN – its very easy to rank at MSN

  35. RDR says:

    I think most people nowadays aren’t even aware that there are other search engines available. In fact the average spooner wouldn’t even know google is a search engine, they just know to type things into it. Is this good? Well ebay used to be good, but they’ve jacked up the fees so high now that it’s hard to make any money there. As they have no real competition they can do what they like though. Not ideal.

    Flat Roofing Contractor Nottingham Derby

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