Why is Google the most popular search engine? Gord Hotchkiss argues over at MediaPost that it’s because of its “unwavering respect for users…Google has always put the user experience front and center, and this commitment has bought them fierce loyalty.” Google does this, he argues, by putting its organic results, not its ads, front-and-center. This gives Google a relatively low click-through rate on ads, he said, but a long-term win with more users. This is not really a new argument, but Hotchkiss backs it up with some data he’s collected.

About half the click-throughs on Ask Jeeves occur on sponsored listings. Google only captures 23.3 percent click-through on sponsored ads. But 82.9 percent of our 1,500 respondents said they use Google and only 0.6 percent said they use Ask Jeeves.

When you slice the pie that way, you’re going to end up with a lot more revenue, no matter what your click-through percentage is.

Here’s some screen shots of three search engines — all with the same search query —  to illustrate his point. Google. Yahoo. Ask Jeeves.

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