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 17,722.69 229.76 1.31%
Nasdaq 4,860.94 95.16 2.00%
S&P 500 2,077.41 29.37 1.43%
Treasuries 1.86 0.02 1.14%
Data as of 3:35pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.70 0.23 1.62%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 4.02 0.35 9.54%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 11.10 -0.28 -2.46%
Apple Inc 97.96 1.53 1.59%
Microsoft Corp 51.64 1.62 3.23%
Data as of 3:20pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

UCLA and Under Armour reportedly signed a record $280 million deal to outfit teams, which will last for 15 years. More

Coca-Cola announced it had suspended production of Coke in Venezuela and other sugar-sweetened beverages due to a lack of raw sugar. More

Sewage is a largely untapped source of thermal energy, and International Wastewater Systems is putting it to use. More