How Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Support Five Big Newspapers

Last Updated Jan 20, 2010 6:14 PM EST


According to the metrics service comScore, between a third and a half of all traffic to five major U.S. newspaper sites comes from search engines.

These figures, as of September 2009, are some of the firmest evidence to surface to date illustrating the reliance that the big newspapers have on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to drive their online revenue models.

The figures also reveal critical differences between the performance of the search engines on the various sites.

While Google is the major traffic source for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and the Washington Post, Yahoo is more than twice as important a source as Google for the Wall Street Journal, which may help explain owner Rupert Murdoch's aggressive public stance against the search leader.

Yahoo is also the number one source for USA Today, by a whisker, over Google.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, with its Bing search product, is a distant third for all five newspaper sites, and provides more than ten percent to only one of them, the Post.

The aggregate numbers for reliance by the five sites on the major search engines are as follows:

  • Los Angeles Times 48.4
  • Wall Street Journal 46.7
  • New York Times 40.0
  • Washington Post 38.6
  • USA Today 34.3
source: comScore
Please check out my colleague Cathy Taylor's post on the large portion of Google News readers who never click through to the sites providing the links.
  • David Weir

    David Weir is a veteran journalist who has worked at Rolling Stone, California, Mother Jones, Business 2.0, SunDance, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, MyWire, 7x7, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he cofounded in 1977. He’s also been a content executive at KQED, Wired Digital, Salon.com, and Excite@Home. David has published hundreds of articles and three books,including "Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets Its Story," and has been teaching journalism for more than 20 years at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Stanford.