Research from a Citi analyst found that Google is the main source of traffic for 23 of the top 30 websites, Search Engine Land reported. Nonetheless, his figures make it seem like Bing-powered referrals are strong.

Search Engine Land received a report from Citi analyst Mark Mahaney that said 23 of the top 30 websites receive most of their traffic from Google. Using the top 30 websites as defined by comScore, Mahaney found that Google delivered 16 percent of all their traffic in January of 2012, compared to 11 percent from Yahoo and 6 percent from Bing.

Google-derived traffic among the top sites saw a 1 percent drop compared to January 2011, but Google lost this percentage point without Yahoo or Bing picking up any major ground. Nonetheless, SEO marketers should be quick to note that if these figures refer to search traffic, Bing’s algorithm (which also powers Yahoo) is doing quite well.

In terms of verticals, Google delivered 22 percent of traffic to top media websites in January 2012, compared to 25 percent in January 2010. Google saw similar small drops in traffic referrals for retail websites as well. In travel, automobiles and finance, Google saw increases. The lone sector to see major change in the last two years was the health industry, where Google’s referrals to top health websites fell from 24 percent in 2010 to 15 percent last year, Search Engine Land noted.

Meanwhile, Mahaney is quoted in the source as saying that Yahoo and Microsoft’s share of traffic has “has remained essentially flat from 2010 to 2012.”

For marketers, especially those using custom content for SEO, Mahaney’s findings signal the value of targeting the campaigns at Google’s defined best practices. Even with small losses in referrals to certain verticals, Google is still the dominant player in search, though the survey is ambiguous about potential gains for Microsoft’s search engine now that it powers both Yahoo and Bing.

ComScore’s most recent figures in terms of search market paint a decidedly unambiguous rosy picture for Google. Brafton reported that Google accounted for 65.9 percent of all search queries in December 2011, compared to a combined 29.6 percent for Bing and Yahoo.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.