We have to stop meeting like this.

In trying to read into Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) market share dominance in search or the impact on Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) since it handed over its search reins to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Bing, traffic trackers have us thinking in monthly installments.

It's not right. This is a game that is going to play itself out over years, or at the very least over the next few quarters. Bowing down to Internet traffic watcher comScore (Nasdaq: SCOR) -- even after it took months to fix its analytics -- on a monthly basis as if it means something is getting old.

Yes, comScore did issue its search data for the month of September yesterday. It showed Google gaining, primarily at Yahoo!'s expense. IAC's (Nasdaq: IACI) Ask.com and AOL (NYSE: AOL) continue to be far out of medal contention.

However, what do the monthly gyrations show us? Back in July, Yahoo! turned heads for eating into Google's market share. In August, Bing was invited to chew on Google's carcass alongside Yahoo!. Now the headlines will likely read that Google is smacking around Yahoo! and Bing.

What does this all mean, really? Well, as far as the last three months go, we really just went on a roundtrip to nowhere.


June 10

July 10

Aug. 10

Sept. 10


























Source: comScore.

Strip July and August out of the equation, and you'll find engines that mostly marched in place between June and September.

Yes, watching the portals jockey for position is like watching paint dry. But even though monthly sequential shifts can't be trusted and quarterly comparisons can be vanilla bean, there are real changes taking place. Let's go back a year, and you'll discover that it's really Google and Bing nibbling away at Yahoo!'s market. I think we all pretty much saw that coming when Yahoo! handed the paid search keys to Bing, but there's still hope for Yahoo!. Recent content-padding acquisitions are keeping traffic close.

This remains a war worth watching -- even if the monthly battles mean practically nothing.

I'm sorry, comScore -- but it's true.

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Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of all portals and search engine. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.