If you’re to believe Experian Hitwise then the days of making sure your website is at the top of the search engines is all but over.
Experian Hitwise UK just released some interesting results which show that there is a slow decline in the number of people using search engines across the board. The results indicate that overall visits are down by 40 million since August of 2011 in the UK. That means this past August was the first time this year that search didn’t show a year-over-year gain.
Interestingly it’s not great news for Google either – while Bing and Yahoo increased their year-over-year percentage, Google lost 5%.
So why did people perform fewer searches this August over last August? It could be attributed to the Olympics. With people to glued to their TV’s watching athletes win gold instead of searching online.
Experian Hitwise also suggests that online users are turning to social outlets for their informational needs, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s the official word from Experian Hitwise:
“Absolutely. This is a combination of both – Olympics and a pull to social which is seeing a shift in the way we search.
The key thing here is the growing significance of social networks as a source of traffic to websites.
Search is the still the number-one source of traffic, but social networks are growing as people increasingly navigate around the web via recommendations from Twitter, Facebook etc.”
To hear people turning to social media for information is no surprise. It’s becoming more common for news to break on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter users are faster than actual news crews, so why bother Googling when you can Tweet?
This trend provides a great opportunity for the likes of Facebook and Twitter to inject web search in to social and to curate real-time topics users may seek out.
Do you think this trend spells the end for search engines? I doubt it, people are still going to turn to Google and Bing for information and products/services, especially if they don’t use social media sites. So your top Google ranking is safe (for now!)