Yahoo has recently announced that it is renewing its focus on "contextual searches," and it seems its users are liking their search experiences.

Yahoo has recently announced that it is renewing its focus on "contextual searches," and it seems its users are liking their search experiences. The smaller search portal shows some gains in comScore's July 2010 search engine rankings, while search giant Google lost market share last month.

As Brafton reported last month, comScore's June 2010 data indicated Google was down in monthly searches, but many speculated that "contextual searches" were the culprit. This month, comScore is side-stepping questionable rankings by measuring search market share two ways – the "core searches," which include contextual searches measuring browsing behavior, and the "explicit core searches," which measure more traditional searches involving queries typed into search bars. Google declined according to both standards.

Google fared better among explicit core searches, dropping by just 0.4 percentage points – from 66.2 percent of the search market in June to 65.8 percent in July 2010. Google's loss was Yahoo's gain, with the smaller search engine gaining 0.4 percentage points to account for 17.1 percent of explicit core searches in July. Microsoft sites and Ask remained constant, ranking third and fourth with 11 percent and 3.8 percent of explicit core searches in July, respectively.

On the contextual front, Google lost an entire percentage point of market share, dropping to 61.6 percent in July. Yahoo, again, increased in market share, rising 1.2 percentage points to 20.1 percent of core searches last month. Both Microsoft and Ask lost 0.1 percent of core searches in July, which Yahoo presumably picked up.

Overall search queries went up in July, and Yahoo gained 8 percent more queries. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Ask each gained 1 percent more queries. Google remained constant.

In spite of these declines, Google is demonstrating that it still has a strong lead in the search market. The search giant may also recover some of this month's losses as it becomes consumers' preferred platform for viewing online videos. As Brafton reported, comScore recently revealed that Google sites are the top video properties on the web. Simultaneously, comScore indicated that video viewership is on the rise, with 178 million U.S. consumers watching video content – so marketers may want to consider YouTube ads. 

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.