Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet another milestone to celebrate.
In addition to being named TIME's Person of the Year and seeing the social network he founded swell to over 550 million members, he can also toast a major triumph over Google: for the first time ever, Facebook topped the list as the most-visited website of the year, ahead of giants like Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and Msn.com.
According to data from Hitwise, which provides online competitive intelligence, Facebook "accounted for 8.93 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010."
Google.com made up 7.19 percent of visits and Yahoo! Mail ranked third with 3.52 percent of visits. Yahoo! claimed 3.30 percent of visits, and YouTube 2.65 percent.
Facebook has soared in the rankings as its share of visits has more than doubled in the past year. In 2009, it was the third most-visited site, behind Google and Yahoo! Mail, with 4.26 percent of visits. In 2008 it ranked ninth on Hitwise's list, trailing Google, MySpace, and eBay.
In an odd twist, Google is actually helping to fuel its competitor's rise by sending search traffic to the social network's site: For the second year in a row, "Facebook" was the top search term of 2010. In second place was "Facebook login," with "Facebook.com" and "www.facebook.com" also cracking the list of top 10 most popular queries.
While visits to Facebook have overtaken hits to Google.com, Google-owned properties--which include web video giant YouTube--actually received a greater share of visits, accounting for 9.85 percent of all U.S. visits. TechCrunch observed that Comscore confirmed Hitwise's findings: "Comscore also shows Facebook.com passing Google.com in visits in November but all Google sites as still having more."
The top websites commanded an ever-greater share of web traffic Hitwise noted in its report. "The top 10 Websites accounted for 33 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010, an increase of 12 percent versus 2009," Hitwise wrote.