Given the vast universe of information and advice at the fingertips regarding the use of Google ad targeting, search engine optimization and analytics, its position as the dominant force in the search engine landscape is roundly acknowledged and accepted by marketers.

But surprisingly, the degree to which Google holds sway as the Death Star of search engines is still substantially underrated. At least that is the case according to Nathan Safran and the online marketing website

According to a May 28 Search Engine Journal post by marketing blogger Kelsey Jones, marketers typically cite data from comScore that puts the percentage of all Internet searches conducted using Google at 67 percent. However, Jones goes on to discuss Safran’s work, which shows Google use actually at a commanding 85 percent.

The difference between the two figures, Safran told Jones, is important not just because of their considerable difference.

“For many, their marketing executives (and practitioners not in the know) use comScore’s market share numbers as the gospel and make decisions based on those numbers and, the two do not necessarily line up with reality when it comes to actual click traffic,” Safran said.

A marketing executive’s decision making includes allocation of resources, and, as Jones noted, allocating marketing budgets to spend where it will bring the best return is critical.

“When it comes to changing the landscape—the data further reinforces the notion of Google as the dominant player in search,” Safran told Jones. “It is one conversation for practitioners to consider specifically optimizing for Bing with Google’s share at 65% (comScore) and another entirely when it is 85% (Conductor).”

Safran, previously an analyst at Forrester, said the survey reviewed more than 100 million website visits done over a six-month time frame, separating the traffic by search engine.

He also confessed an important aspect of the study: it did not exactly compare apples to apples. ComScore’s data, he said, included only pre-click traffic. Conductor’s research was limited to post-click traffic.

“[W]e are not saying one view is ‘right’ and the other is ‘wrong’, but the research is intended to show what actual post-click market share looks like when analyzing a large sample set (100 million+) and how that actually compares when placed against comScore’s published share numbers,” Safran said.

Jones, Kelsey. New Research Shows Google Has 85% of Search Traffic, Not 67% As comScore Reports. Search Engine Journal. May 28, 2014.

Safran, Nathan. Why comScore’s Search Engine Market Share is So Different From Your Analytics. Conductor. May 28, 2014.