Look Out Google Site Search, Lijit Says It’s Right On Your Heels

Innovative search startup Lijit has done study of search widgets on pages around the web and says its widget is very close to becoming as popular as Google’s own “site search”. We think Lijit is quite interesting and we’re not surprised to find out that many other bloggers around the web agree.

The Boulder, Colorado company did an interesting survey of the widget-o-sphere, if you will, and found that 45% of the search widgets it found were its own. 47% were from Google. We (more or less) believe these numbers and think we’ve got some idea why Lijit is as popular as it is.

The Numbers

Lijit defines a widget for the purpose of its survey as: any regularly-occurring functionality on a blog powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the blog owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript. A simpler definition is that a widget is a little bit of code people drop into their website that makes things happen, either dynamic content or functionality.

Lijit looked at 184,431 blogs and found at least one “widget” on 79.5% of them (146,636 total). 10.39% of those blogs had a widget put on it for search. (We’ve got search widgets on our site, for example, from our sponsors Quintura and Eurekster.) The company counted more than 1,200,000 widgets in total.

Whose search widgets are most popular? Google’s by just a little bit, Lijit says. 47% of the search widgets they found were made by Google services like Google Co-op. Lijit had 45% of the widgets on surveyed pages.

Other popular blog search widgets, trailing far behind, included Sphere, Blogbar.org, IceRocket, Eurekster and Quintura.

Are These Numbers Believable?

We believe these numbers – roughly. We asked competitor Eurekster if they believed that Lijit was nearly as popular as Google site search and they said they were apt to believe it as well. Searches around various social media environments show that people talk about installing Lijit widgets quite often, too.

The company adds the following caveat: “Our crawl is ‘centered’ on blogs with our Lijit widget. Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls. This will give a bias to the overall results.” It sure will! We’re not ready to take these numbers to the bank but after swallowing a big grain of salt, we can accept the general conclusion: Lijit search widgets are very popular, popular enough to rival Google search widgets.

Why is Lijit So Popular?

The Lijit user experience is quite good. We’ve discussed the company’s excellent method of getting users to fill out their profiles before. Those profiles enable a blog’s visitors to search not just that single blog, but also the author’s social bookmarks and other online content. The searches are done without taking readers off-site, results appear in a light-box popup. The results pages are very intuitive, designed to look like the Google Custom Search engine that powers Lijit. Site owners receive a weekly email with interesting analytics about what kinds of searches are bringing readers to their sites.

All of that ads up to a great value proposition. Thus we’re not surprised that Lijit is as popular as it is.

Check out this post on the Lijit blog for more details from the company’s widget survey, including numbers on which video widgets are most popular, what types of widgets in general are popular, etc. It’s interesting data.

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