In today’s digitalized world, search engines have become one of the most powerful tools on the internet and an essential part of our daily lives. By consolidating and organizing the wealth of information available online, search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing help billions of online users find the content they need at a rapid pace. Almost 30 percent of global web traffic is generated via online search usage, showing the vital role these platforms play in directing and navigating user flows to different websites. As search engines rank search results in order of relevancy, meaning that the most valuable links for users’ queries are displayed prominently on the results page, high rankings have become one of the top digital priorities for companies worldwide.

Market leaders and newcomers: Just Google it?

As of September 2021, Google remains the leading search engine worldwide with a desktop market share of almost 87 percent. The California-based search giant has dominated the market for over a decade, consistently handling over 60 percent of all search queries in the United States. But while Google remains the top player, its online domination hasn’t extended everywhere: In Russia and China, for example, the service is overshadowed by domestic competitors Yandex and Baidu . Elsewhere, online users are increasingly choosing privacy- or sustainability-focused alternatives such as DuckDuckGo or Ecosia due to data collection and privacy concerns.

Online search behavior: Mobile-first

With mobile devices already accounting for over half of the global website traffic, it comes as no surprise that mobile searches also make up a significant part of search volumes worldwide. In the United States, around 60 percent of organic search engine visits are generated via smartphones and tablets, with Google claiming the largest market share among mobile search providers .

Advertising and marketing

Thanks to machine learning and programmatic advertising, search engines no longer present unbiased search results relating to user keywords, but they also display suitable ads to audiences in real-time. As many online users turn to search engines first when looking to make a purchase, companies are increasingly focusing their marketing efforts on these platforms and implementing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to maximize sales and exposure on the results page. Across the world, paid search advertising spending is seeing rapid growth, which again translates into record advertising revenues for Google sites .


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