Heather Hopkins at Hitwise has analyzed MapQuest and Google Maps traffic trends in her post GoogleMaps Making Inroads Against Leader, Mapquest that clearly demonstrates how Google controls their own traffic destiny.
Her main points:
â€¢ US visits to Maps websites is up 10% year on year and MapQuest is still the leader, receiving more than half of all US visits to Maps websites last week. However, Google Maps is gaining fast.
â€¢Traffic to MapQuest has remained flat year on year and is down 20% in the past 6 months.
â€¢Google Maps traffic is up 135% year on year and is up 7% in the past 6 months.
â€¢The growth for Google Maps is from traffic from the Google search engine.
â€¢This can’t really be attributed to an increase in consumers looking for Google Maps.
â€¢Google sends more of its own traffic to Google Maps than to Mapquest, a change that occurred last March.
It was actually last February when Google expanded the Local OneBox, and they made clear their ability to drive search traffic to Maps. With Universal Search and their increased use of the Plus Box in the main search results and Adwords & their use of addresses in Adwords, they are also demonstrating their power to keep users from needing any additional mapping product as well. The static market share of MapQuest and the declining share of Yahoo demonstrates why it is Google’s game to loose.
An excellent analysis of these larger issues by Greg Sterling can be found at SearchEngineLand.