In the monthly race for search queries worldwide, Microsoft’s Bing search engine was beaten in November and December by… Yandex. If you’re asking, “What is Yandex?”, you obviously do not live in Russia.
In Mother Russia, Yandex reigns with 60 percent market share and had been known as the fifth largest search engine on the planet, as measured by search queries. According to industry research firm comScore, the query comparison for the last two months of 2012 was 8.96 billion for Microsoft search sites, but 9.46 billion for Yandex. Ninety-two percent of Microsoft search is Bing, but it also includes MSN, Windows Live and other properties. This means that the Bing total for November and December was actually closer to 8.24 billion. The key takeaway: Yandex has now replaced Bing as the fourth largest search engine.
Bing Powers Yahoo
Google is still way, way up that mountain, with 228.9 billion search queries, and the Chinese search engine Baidu is a distant second at 29.1 billion. Yahoo keeps third, at 17.2 billion. But, in a way, this comparison is a marketing one, since Bing technology actually powers Yahoo search.
As the difference in search queries between Microsoft sites and Yandex is relatively small, it is possible Microsoft can soon recapture fourth place -- but not if the growth patterns continue as they have been.
The two fastest growing search engines, based on search queries, have been the ones in China and Russia -- Baidu with 13 percent for 2012 and Yandex with an impressive 27.8 percent, the result of a growth pattern from July on.
By contrast, search engines in the U.S. are slowing down. From October to November, Google sites dropped 4 percent, Microsoft sites slid 3 percent and Yahoo was off 4 percent.
Interestingly, Microsoft is way above Yandex in unique searchers. In November and December, Yandex had about 147 million unique searchers, while Microsoft sites had nearly four times that, with about 554 million.
This could mean that Bing is providing more accurate or satisfying search results than Yandex is, and Yandex users have to search more times to find useful information than Microsoft users. If so, the search queries metric by itself tells only part of the story.