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Most popular search engines – UK, US and Worldwide

Which are the most popular search engines I should target in each country?

Its not often I look at trends data but its good to do every quarter. The popularity of search engines does change and within this blended search like video, images, local search is becoming more important.

My comments below focus on how this data has search implications but the links also show popular social networks & entertainment sites. This data is always useful when justifying time & effort for channels or campaigns. Another tool not mentioned below is Google's Adplanner (& its top 1000 sites report), this is a great tool when you need data / demographics on categories or specific websites.

Data on most popular UK search engines - Hitwise

March 2012 update - Hitwise have just published a simple infographic summarising UK search behaviour. The main insight which prompts questions about how we target through SEO and paid search is the new keyword data. As a rule of thumb around half of search terms are three words or more showing the potential for targeting the long tail. On the other side of the coin, competing on short one and two keyword brand and generic  terms is still very important at 51%. Facebook is now the most searched for term, replacing Google...

May 2011 update - Another Hitwise update on search engine use. This update on search engine and social media popularity shows that Google still accounts for 90% of searches - the key figure - many uses visits across all Microsoft sites which is misleading. I'm often asked whether a focus on Bing is worthwhile. This suggests not unless you are a large brand tapping into demand of many consumers for a mass market product. A search specialist at a phone retailer also mentioned to me that it's worthwhile for brand and brand mispellings since many still use Internet Explorer which is powered by Bing by Default.

Data updated monthly from Data Centre.


Data on US search engine popularity - Hitwise

Hitwise have some useful free data on their "Data Centers" pages which can be useful if you get questions from colleagues like "Should we be doing more on Bing?".


You can also find search engine share from Comscore. For example:

Implications of reviewing search engine popularity

So what do the latest stats show us?

1. dominates in the UK, so search marketing activities must focus here. YouTube is also in most reports on the hitwise report though not counted as a search engine, a large audience to target though!

2. accounts for 10% of UK searches so it's worth checking your rankings on here if you are a large brand

  • If you are a large brand targeting popular products like consumer electricals or mobile phones – here the 10% can drive volume, often at a lower cost of acquisition

3. The US has more Bing+Yahoo! users, roughly 30% of the market share, definitely worth understanding demographic & audience differences if the US is a big market for your business!

4.  Some Eastern European and Asian countries also have their own search engines which are worth considering

Search Engine and Social Network popularity by country

Of particular interest for marketers responsible for international marketing, there is a report from WebCertain helps puts some key data surrounding the use of search & social networks for multiple countries at your fingertips.

Covering 21 countries this report is a great read for some small insights into how the web is used differently in various countries across the globe.

For companies operating in multiple countries this report may help you understand why replicating what you do in the UK is not always the best solution overseas. For example did you know that Brazil is leading social networking with over 86% of Internet users, using social networks. This is clearly a huge number, and you will not find them on Facebook but instead Google owned Orkut!

Download report:

Share your thoughts

  • I have a travel website,particularly selling safari tour packages in Nairobi ,Kenya.My main question is how do i submit these travel site to those search engines based in UK

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  • Thanks for this information.
    It is really a good way to know what engine is prominent in a specific local for our localization tasks in marketing. This is when we can handle researches for a specific engine and so for the specific locals (targets).

    Though google almost dominate the engine land, still some countries are out off it. Instead, some engines are used. that’s the time marketers must follow through.

    Thanks, Chris.

  • As a totally free courtesy , we have unlimited free services, tools, promoters, submitters, ad pages, message boards to grow your traffic. Go to or We have on many of our sites where you can search results on more than one search engine at a time including option to search under countries. SearchBoth contributes 10 cents to charity for every search you do. See details their FaceBook site.

  • SEO Services commented on August 14, 2014

    As with all things it’s about whether the efforts and resources being devoted are being focused on the right things and in the right way. It’s all about quality of effort. Effective SEO is tailored to the client, not a list of bullet points that is the same for every site.

    Thanks for gathering this info Eric; lots of good stuff here. It’s funny how much hype there is around the downfall of SEO and that social media is what really matters. Point number 10 above about search driving more than 300% more traffic than social media shows that the need for high quality SEO is very much alive and well

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  • As a completely free courtesy, we have the best in free search engine, auto-directory, pinging, back links, ad pages, message boards etc submissions. at with links to Submitting to search engines is perhaps the best way to let the world know about who you are and what you do.

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  • bookmysearch commented on October 5, 2013


  • Linda Pearson commented on September 23, 2013

    I know there are many local search engine in a lot of countries and many of them even have bigger searching share than google. And I know a lot of them. But the question is how to target a certain search engine through SEO. Any detailed suggestions about that?

  • daDY commented on September 18, 2013


  • daDY commented on September 18, 2013

    hi people

  • Very good stats and interesting read. Thanks

  • Bing is still second best search engine ever.

  • Very interesting article.This info is so useful, I got great information about search engines.Thanks for the post.

  • coupon4codes commented on June 8, 2012

    Please dont waste money through poor PPC targeting.

  • Very interesting article. Thank you.

  • Bit hard to work out the trends from the infographic. But I note that it specifies that December 2011 saw the largest ever number of visits to search. It would be interesting to see that as a proportion of all traffic though. Traffic growth might have been even bigger.

    I’m wondering whether the rate of growth of search is dropping, and if search might even have hit a plateau because of more varied ways of using online systems and navigating between them.

  • Hi Guy – Thanks – I agree – as my May update to this post states Bing IS still significant for this reason, particularly for large consumer brands.

  • I would like to comment today, because there is another angle to this that is often overlooked and therefore I hope it enhances your article.

    Basically, in the world of web design, we catered for the old 800×600 screen size for years, we also catered for IE6 a lot longer. Nowadays with ever bigger screens some are saying we should have bigger websites than 960px (width). All well and good.

    But aren’t the arguments the same for SEO. If 10% of our users are using 800×600 screens the argument would go, how can we afford to ignore them, if 5% of people used Apple/Safari how can we ignore it, and today most relevant if 10% of users for a website are IE6 users how can we ignore it.

    The numbers state 12% odd users for Bing, that would be criminal to ignore as a user base. And it is an audience that has to be catered for. Personally I’m no supporter of Bing, but the fact is every Windows Machine sold today has Bing as it’s default search provider, most people don’t change.

    So I would say this – it’s not about which search engine is better or should be targeted, this whole debate is about how we should target ALL search engines.

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