Is Search Engine Traffic Starting To Decline? (GOOG)(YHOO)(MSFT)

comScore data from November showed that total online searches done in the US declined 4.7% compared to October. The figure fell to just over 10 billion. With one fewer day in the month some softness would be expected, but a day less is only about 3%. Net net searches fell.

The news may be the beginning of a troubling trend for companies like Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), and Microsoft (MSFT). Online search cannot grow forever. Ten billion searches in a country with 300 million people, not all of them online, is a staggering number.

Google’s searches dropped less than it competitors, down 4.4%. Yahoo! was the worse off with a fall of 6.5%.

If the numbers are any indication of a that search has peaked, Google and Yahoo! may not offer much of a return for investors in 2008.

Douglas A. McIntyre