The Google Effect and Search Market Share Surveys

Oct.28.09 | About: Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)

Imagine for a second that I’m a doctor.

Now imagine that I specialize in…ahem…erectile dysfunction.

Let’s say the average married couple has sexual intercourse 3-4 times a month–backed-up by most national surveys.

But, I conduct a survey among my viagra-popping patients, and release a report that suggests married couples are in fact having sex 8-10 times a month.

Would you throw out the other data? Or, would you piece this together and say, "wait a minute, of course you’re seeing a higher number?"

Well, that’s the observation I made when reviewing iCrossing’s new study that suggests Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) accounts for almost 77% of search engine visitors–compared to the 65% and 71% suggested by comScore and Hitwise respectively.

Click to enlarge

Either I’m the only one seeing this, or it’s all in my head, but wouldn’t a company that helps its clients improve their Google traffic, see higher numbers like this? Now, I know that SEO firms supposedly help you with all your search engine traffic, so this Google-bias should be negated, but do they? I don’t know a single search marketing firm–or client for that matter–that doesn’t focus 90%+ of its efforts on increasing traffic from Google.

With that kind of focus, aren’t you artificially increasing the search share you realize from Google?

Look, I’m not out to bash iCrossing. I just want to help you connect the dots that this data is no more unbiased than Click Forensics’ reports on click fraud.