By Kirk Bannerman
Anyone involved in an Internet-based home business will soon come
to recognize the importance of search engines as a vehicle to
attract potential customers.
Since the inception of Google in 1998, the popularity of using
search engines has increased dramatically. Nielsen NetRatings
reports that about 114.5 million Americans, or a whopping 39
percent of the US population, currently use search engines.
Through February of 2004, Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN ranked as the
two favorite spots on the Internet with 87.3 million and 86.2
million unique monthly visitors, respectively, according to
figures produced by Nielsen NetRatings.
Microsoft.com, ranked third, with 64.2 million visitors, but this
figure is somewhat misleading because this site attracts much of
its traffic by repairing flaws in the Windows operating system.
Google was the fourth most popular site with 60.8 million
The market shares of MSN and Yahoo haven’t changed much in the
past three years while Google has emerged as a powerhouse without
spending much of anything on advertising. Google’s audience is
now approximately six times larger than it was in early 2001,
when it was the 26th most popular destination on the Internet.
As they vie for position, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft plan to
continue upgrading their services – healthy competition that can
only serve to improve the search experiences of Internet users in
According to comScore Networks, an estimated 3.5 billion online
searches are performed in the United States each month, making
searching the second most popular online activity, ranking behind
In 2003, businesses spent an estimated $2 billion on advertising
related to searches and some knowledgeable sources expect the
search-related advertising market to triple during the next three
There are various search engine formats including natural search,
pay for inclusion (PFI), pay per click (PPC), and hybrid
approaches which combine both PFI and PPC characteristics.
Because of the immense and growing popularity of search engines,
their effective utilization is the life blood of Internet-based
About the author:
Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and
coaches others seeking to start their own home based business.
Visit his website at
Legitimate Home Based Business for more details.