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 17,840.21 28.02 0.16%
Nasdaq 5,123.64 20.83 0.41%
S&P 500 2,092.12 2.98 0.14%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.01 -0.49%
Data as of 3:29pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Pfizer Inc 32.93 0.96 3.00%
HP Inc 12.66 -1.98 -13.52%
General Electric Co 30.40 -0.27 -0.86%
Bank of America Corp... 17.45 -0.02 -0.11%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 8.12 -0.19 -2.23%
Data as of 3:14pm ET


Lower jet fuel prices have resulted in an $11 billion windfall and record profits for airlines, but passengers have seen only a modest drop in fares. More

Brazilian police arrested a prominent senator and billionaire CEO for interfering in the investigation of Petrobras, which has pushed Brazil into recession. More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Some of the coolest toys this year are from small businesses. Here are 10 hot toys that just might be a smash hit this holiday season. More

American consumers saved more in October compared to a year ago -- a sign of a behavioral shift in consumer spending. More