Unpacking search engines by market share

It is hard to believe that little more than twenty years ago, the search engine giant that is Google did not even exist. Now it is so big and ubiquitous that the Google brand has become synonymous with the idea of digital searching. It is very common to hear people saying things like, “I will just Google that quickly.” But the reality is that while Google has the biggest market share in the search space, there are other search engines out there as well. For those who are new to space, here is a quick search engine hit-parade; a look at the top four search engines by market share.

Our friends are big

We have mentioned Google already, but we must go there again as they top the overall hit-parade. The company founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which now employs more than 100 000 people, dominates the SEO space with approximately 92 percent market share. No matter where you are in the world, if you are doing SEO Sydney, Delhi, Dublin or San Francisco, Google is the most critical platform and one that you have to get right. 

Late to the party

Coming in in second place with just 2,61 percent of the market is the Microsoft platform Bing. This platform was a late-comer to the search game, only launched in 2009. Having said that however it was very much a rebranding of previous Microsoft platforms like MSN and Windows Live. In a highly competitive space that is dominated by Google, the big advantage that Bing has is the fact that it is the default search engine in Microsoft products. As such, if you are browsing in Internet Explorer and you need to search, unless you have switched your default setting, you will be using Bing – it is how this platform derives the bulk of its traffic.


Once the king of search, Yahoo has been in a steady decline for the last twenty years. By the end of 2018, it could claim just 1.85% of the search market. Founded as long ago as 1994, Yahoo is now owned by Verizon Media, but it is a long way off what it once was. At one stage Yahoo was in the top ten most visited sites globally with page views in excess of seven billion.

Baidu: nope, me neither

In fourth place in the search engine rankings is Baidu, who weigh in with 1,21 percent of the market share. They may be in fourth place, but their share is almost non-existent. It goes to show the huge dominance that Google enjoys, and it is hectic to think that all the players behind Baidu can only muster a market share below a single percentage point. But who exactly are Baidu? They are a Chinese based search engine, who is very big in the AI space. One of their biggest differentiators is the fact that they offer search in Chinese. They boast the largest share of search in the Chinese market where they also have other services like a Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia.


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