Hitwise Counts Facebook Number One In 2010

The word "Facebook" and variations on it rank as the most frequently searched term in the U.S., according to Experian Hitwise.

Happy New Year, Facebook: Experian Hitwise has for the first time ranked the social network as the most frequently visited by people in the U.S. in 2010. Except that’s only when Google’s YouTube is considered as a separate property, in which case the former has 7.19 percent of visits, and the latter has 2.65 percent.

Whether you consider YouTube separately or not, Facebook still got 8.93 percent of all visitors from the nation between January and November of 2010, according to Hitwise. And for the second year in a row, the word “Facebook” counted as the most searched term in the U.S.

Hitwise found that “Facebook” accounted for 2.11 percent of all U.S. searches for the top 50 terms. And when four variations on the word were included in the rankings, the combined terms represented 3.48 of all searches for terms in the top 50. That’s a 207 percent increase over 2009, according to Hitwise.

The broader category of search terms referring to social media topics together made up 4.18 percent of searches for terms in the top 50.

Now the Hitwise numbers say slightly different things than other recently released statistics, like those of comScore, which ranked Facebook number three in terms of pageviews worldwide. That tally didn’t focus on only U.S. traffic, nor search terms for that matter.

These variations are played up by the cynics who say that statistics can be skewed to prove both sides of any issue. I think that the would-be auditors of Internet traffic are still evolving toward some kind of standardized tallying system. That’s a digression better saved for another blog.

The year-end numbers vary in their details, but all of them support the more general idea that Facebook keeps growing in popularity and will probably continue to do so in 2011.

Readers, what do you see in the numbers from Experian Hitwise?