Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Facebook traffic tops Google for the week

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Facebook topped Google to become the most visited U.S. Web site last week, indicating a shift in how Americans are searching for content.

Web analysis firm Experian Hitwise said Monday that the social networking site surpassed Google to take the No. 1 spot for the week ended March 13.

"It shows content sharing has become a huge driving force online," said Matt Tatham, director of media relations at Hitwise. "People want information from friends they trust, versus the the anonymity of a search engine."

Facebook accounted for 7.07% of U.S. Web traffic that week, while Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) received 7.03%. The study compared only the domains Facebook.com and Google.com -- not, for example, Google-owned sites like Gmail.com.

Though the traffic levels were close, Facebook's year-over-year growth far outpaced Google's that week. The number of visitors to Facebook spiked 185% compared with the same period last year, while Google's traffic climbed just 9%.

"It's definitely a big moment for Facebook, even though they beat by a small margin," Tatham said. "We've seen it coming for quite a long time."

Facebook had never before beaten Google over a full weeklong period, though it has been the most visited site on recent holidays: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Facebook was also the top site on the weekend of March 6-7.

But Tatham noted that when he added up traffic on all Google properties like Google Maps and YouTube, the company's sites comprised 11.03% of visits. Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) was second with 10.98%.

Google.com had been the No. 1 site each week since Sept. 15, 2007, when ironically it passed another social networking site, MySpace.com, in order to take the crown.

Of course, the MySpace connection could be a bad omen for Facebook. MySpace enjoyed dominance on the social networking scene for years until it saw traffic plummet following Facebook's rise.

"By nature, the Web is ever-changing," Tatham said. "The Internet can be a fickle crowd." To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 26,017.81 -97.84 -0.37%
Nasdaq 7,296.05 -2.23 -0.03%
S&P 500 2,798.03 -4.53 -0.16%
Treasuries 2.61 0.03 1.28%
Data as of 5:09pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 16.77 -0.58 -3.34%
Bank of America Corp... 31.48 0.30 0.96%
Ford Motor Co 12.07 -0.11 -0.90%
Advanced Micro Devic... 12.47 0.29 2.38%
Kinder Morgan Inc 19.01 -0.56 -2.86%
Data as of 4:15pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

More than 5% of DACA recipients have started their own businesses since enrolling the program, according to a recent survey. More

In the latest sign change may be afoot at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, interim director of the agency Mick Mulvaney asked for zero funding in its quarterly budget request. More

Two of the biggest tech companies are now teasing possible U.S. expansions in what may be the latest sign of the industry adjusting to a harsh new political climate. More

Three changes under the new federal tax law mean that the number of tax filers hit by the AMT will drop by about 96% to an estimated 200,000. More