In the past year, I've observed a sea change in how average people I know find new sites online, and I'm wondering if others are seeing this.
(1) They default to Yelp for local info on places to go, whether a restaurant is good, etc.
(2) Instead of "Just Google it", I'm told "Just search on Pinterest" for certain types of queries. "Bloglovin" is another one - great way to find those little quality blogs that aren't showing up in Google the way they used to.
(3) Want news? Don't check search - go to your preferred news site that slants the way you like it. ;)
(4) Need a plumber? Ask friends on Facebook, or check Yelp. You have no idea if the top guy in Google actually knows his trade.
(5) Since "Google just gives a few top companies", people are going straight to their preferred top companies and doing internal searches. (Amazon, Bestbuy, Yelp, etc.)
(6) Some people have switched to Bing because "it's easier to find what I want in Bing". (If Bing doesn't deliver, they'll check Google next.)
I've mentioned this in other threads, and some of you have mentioned seeing similar things. I do not think this is already happening on a big huge scale and the days of Google dominance are over, I just think we may be at the start of a new trend. Namely, people realizing search engines are not the only way, nor in some cases are they the best way, to explore the web.
If so, then Google will eventually lose their position as gatekeeper to the vast majority of the web - not to another search engine, but to internal search on preferred sites.
I'm also thinking this might explain why some of us have observed we're still #1 in Google, but not getting the same traffic it used to bring.
Are you seeing/hearing similar things? Do your stats suggest Google traffic isn't as voluminous as it used to be? Are you seeing more traffic from other sources, or just a general decrease that doesn't correspond with rankings changes?