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Search Engines: The Life Blood of Internet-Based Home Businesses

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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 visitors.

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 the future.

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 only e-mail.

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 years.

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 home businesses.

Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and resides in California. For more details, visit his website at http://business-at-home.us

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