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Looking back from 2002 to 2005, these are the top search engines in the U.S. along with their percentage of search engine traffic. Back in 2002 Google was NOT the major player that they are today. Back in March of 2002, Google had 16% of the top searches, with Yahoo providing 36% of the traffic.  In Dec 2013, Google sites received over 67% of traffic and Yahoo sites just over 10%. The nature of peoples search habits changed dramatically.

This data is very interesting to see now looking back and knowing what are to happen with the search engine wars, and the death of SE’s like Alta Vista. Also you should know that Yahoo Search from 2001 to 2004 was outsourced, initially by Inktomi and later Google until 2004. In 1999, AOL Selects Google as search partner.  So  even in the early years, Google did have a bigger share of the top searches with search engines powered by Google.

Mar-2002Apr-2003May-2004May-2005Jun-2006
Engine% of  SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE Traffic
1. Yahoo361. Yahoo29.51. Google29.51. Google36.81. Google36.5
2. Google162. Google28.92. Yahoo28.92. Yahoo26.62. Yahoo30.5
3. Excite93. MSN27.63. MSN27.63. MSN14.53. MSN15.5
4. AltaVista94. AOL18.44. AOL18.44. AOL12.84. AOL9.9
5.Overture95. AskJeeves9.95. AskJeeves9.95. Excite4.35. Ask Jeeves6.1
6. MSN86. Overture4.86. Overture4.86. AskJeeves1.8
7. AOL57. Infospace4.57. Infospace4.57. Infospace1.3
8. Lycos58. Netscape4.48. Netscape4.48. Lycos0.8
9. Hotbot29. Altavista49. Altavista4
10. Fast110. Lycos210. Lycos2.4

Search algorithm history

As observed by WordStream.com.