Bing Searches Rise 7%; Swine Flu, H1N1 Queries Up 100%

November 25, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Paid Search | Pharma & Healthcare | Search Engine Optimization

Google accounted for 70.6% of all US searches conducted in the four weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009, according to monthly search-engine share data from Experian Hitwise.? The rankings put Yahoo Search, Bing and in the second, third and fourth positions, receiving 16.14%, 9.57% and 2.62% shares of the search market, respectively.

Among the top four, Bing increased 7%, while rose 2%. Both Google and Yahoo saw 1% decreases in share vs. September 2009.


The remaining 52 search engines in the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis Tool accounted for 1.10% of US searches during the same time period.

Similar, Not Identical

Hitwise’s October search-share numbers are similar, though not identical, to those reported earlier this month by both comScore and Nielsen, though the companies use different methodologies to collect their data. comScore clocked Google at a 65.4% search share for the month, up slightly from 64.9% in September. comScore also said #2 Yahoo had an 18.0% share, down 0.8 percentage points. Microsoft Sites, including Bing, captured a 9.9% market share, up? 0.5 percentage points.

Nielsen? reported that 66.1% of October 2009 searches took place on Google, 15.4% on Yahoo and 9.7% on Bing. Nielsen could not provide month-over-month growth figures because of methodology changes that took effect this month.

Google Serves US Industries

Search engines continue to be the primary way internet users navigate to key industry categories, Hitwise found.? Comparing October 2009 with October 2008, the automotive, business and finance, entertainment, news and media, online video, social networking and sports categories showed double-digit increases in their share of traffic coming directly from search engines.


H1N1, Swine Flu Searches Increase 100%

In other search news, Hitwise also reported that searches on a portfolio of terms related to H1N1 and the Swine Flu virus have increased 100% for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009, compared with the previous four weeks. Online searches on the term “h1n1” increased 115% while searches on “swine flu” increased 18% for the same time period.

Searches continued to climb heading into November as Americans search for vaccine availability and learn more about the symptoms of the virus. Interestingly, Hitwise found that H1N1 searches tended to focus more on the vaccine, while searches for Swine Flu – which is the commonly used, but not official name of the virus – tend to focus on symptoms.

Top Flu Search Terms

The top search term containing “h1n1” was “h1n1 symptoms,” receiving 15% of the search traffic. Among the top 100 search variations on “h1n1,” 30 included the term “vaccine” in them and 23 included the “symptoms.” The top paid-search terms were “h1n1 symptoms,” “h1n1 vaccine” and “h1n1” for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009. Paid search traffic on the term “h1n1 vaccine” increased 31% for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, compared with the previous four weeks. Paid search traffic on the term “h1n1” increased 4% for the same time period.


CDC Top Website for Flu Info

The US government’s Centers for Disease Control website,,received the most visits from the term “h1n1” for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009. Wikipedia was next, receiving 11.24% of visits, followed by Google News with 4.84%. Among the top 10 Websites,’s visits increased 70%, which was the largest month-over-month increase. Yahoo News, Google News and Facebook all saw double-digit increases month over month.


The CDC’s website also received the most visits from searches for the term “swine flu” for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009. Wikipedia was next, receiving 8.55% of visits, followed by Medicine Net with 8.03%.


Among the top 10 websites,‘s visits increased 161%, which was the largest month-over-month increase. The CDC, Medicine Net and Yahoo News sites all saw month-over-month double-digit increases.

A study earlier this month by Ipsos Public Affairs found that 63% of Americans are now worried that they themselves, someone in their household, or a close friend will fall victim to pandemic H1N1 influenza, commonly known as “Swine Flu.” Corroborating data from Nielsen showed that conversations about the flu continue to be among the most social media media discussion topics.? Nielsen also found that Americans are taking a number of steps they hope will prevent them from catching the flu. Most notable is the use of hand sanitizers, sales of which have skyrocketed in the past six months.

About the data:? The search-engine data for October is based on four-week rolling periods (ending Oct. 31, 2009, and Oct. 3, 2009) from the Hitwise sample of 10 million US internet users. The Microsoft properties in the ranking include executed searches on, and MSN Search but do not include searches on The Swine Flu and H1N1 search data is based on a four-week rolling period.

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