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 17,550.69 -47.51 -0.27%
Nasdaq 5,105.55 -9.84 -0.19%
S&P 500 2,093.32 -4.72 -0.22%
Treasuries 2.21 0.06 2.84%
Data as of 7:34am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 114.64 -3.80 -3.21%
Baxter International... 40.31 0.80 2.02%
Bank of America Corp... 17.80 0.03 0.17%
Baxalta Inc 37.10 3.95 11.92%
Frontier Communicati... 5.25 0.10 1.94%
Data as of Aug 4
Sponsors

Sections

The company's movie studios went up 13% thanks in large part to "Avengers: Age of Ultron." More

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the first 8 cities that are part of the What Works Cities program, which is spending $42 million to encourage the use of open data. More

Security researchers have discovered how to use software to make any modern device -- printer, washing machine, air conditioner -- into a radio. More

Candle-Lite is committed to manufacturing in America -- which is a good thing because it contributes more than $300 million to Ohio's economy. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More