Search Engine Referral Statistics

Jeremy Zawodny looked at October search engine referrals to his site, and try to make sense why Google refers significantly more visitors to his site than Yahoo! or MSN, especially when the statistics released by search engines were actually comparable.

He concluded that:

There are two ways I can think to explain this:

  1. People who use Google are more likely to be searching for content that's on my site.
  2. The market share numbers are wrong. Google actually generates more traffic than has been reported and MSN and AOL have been over-estimated.

I suspect that #1 is closer to reality. After all, I most often write about topics that are of interest to an audience that's more technical than average. And I suspect that crowd skews toward Google in a more dramatic fashion than the general population of Internet users. If that's true, it would seem to confirm many of the stereotypes about AOL and MSN users.

However, Jeremy's suspicion and subsequent hypothesis only needs one counter example to disprove. I am not talking about AOL and MSN users -- but also Google and Yahoo! users as well. Google dominating the referrals seems to be the norm across reader comments in that entry, and its domination seems to be not just limited to tech/geek sites either!

I think it would be interesting for me to post my referral statistics here as well. I am actually posting two sets of them -- one for this site, a personal blog that is probably half-technical. Another one is the statistics for FOCUS UNSW, which is our church website. Obviously, not geek-oriented at all!

Search Engine Referral Statistics
(Generated by OpenOffice.org 2.0 Calc)

Jeremy's suspicion seems to ring true -- there are more visitors coming to this semi-geek blog site from Google, than to our church website, percentage wise! Maybe technical inclined do hold bias towards the big G. However, his hypothesis number #2, that the market share numbers were questionable, appears to be a possibility as well. Across both sites, Google rules. Yahoo! trailing a distant second. Neither AOL nor MSN has made pass 3.50% of the referral traffic.

In terms of search engine optimisation, does that statistics tell me

  1. I just need to optimise for one search engine that is Google, as it is the only one that makes the difference, or
  2. I should indeed optimise for other search engines, as I have been missing out potential traffics from them.

Which one?