According to ‘global online competitive intelligence service’ Experian Hitwise, UK Internet users made 2.3 billion visits to search engines in January 2012, 100 million more than in January 2011 and a yearly increase of 4.5%.

No prizes for guessing that when it came to UK search engine market dominance, Google was way out in front with more than 90% of the share.

In January 2012 Google Sites accounted for 90.64 per cent of all UK searches. When compared to December 2011, the tally (91.75%) was down slightly (1.11%). However, year-on-year Google Sites gained search market share, with an increase of 0.27% from January 2011.

While both Bing and Yahoo also enjoyed a monthly search increase in January, the same can’t be said for their year-on-year market share, which dropped by 0.21% and 0.54% respectively. Meanwhile, Ask maintained its position as the fourth biggest search provider in the UK.

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Market Research Analyst at Experian Hitwise, James Murray commented, “Search is one of the most crucial elements of online marketing and our data shows that search is growing, with nearly 100 million more visits going to search engines this January than last January.

As search continues to grow marketers need the right tools at their fingertips to understand how they can maximise their search campaigns, to get traffic delivered to their website.”

While these stats bring no real surprises in terms of Google being the nation’s favourite search engine, they do further emphasise the importance of search as part of the marketing mix.