January 03, 2011, 10:06 AM — It looks like 2010 was indeed the year that Facebook's success exploded.
For the first time ever, U.S. Web surfers visited the social networking site more than any other site in 2010, beating out Internet behemoth Google , according to a report from Hitwise, an Internet analytics firm.
Facebook, which had a flood of good and bad publicity last year, grabbed 8.93% of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010. Google, which had been in the top spot in 2009, slipped to the No. 2 position with 7.19% of all visits, Hitwise said.
The analytics firm also reported that Yahoo! Mail came ranked third with 3.52% of all visits, while the main Yahoo! site was fourth with 3.3%. YouTube rounded out the top five with 2.65% of all site visits.
Facebook had been creeping up on Google during the last several months.
While Google has long been at the top of the heap when it comes to grabbing the most visitors -- and time spent on a Web site -- Facebook began making its mark last summer.
In September, Online researcher comScore reported that for the month of August, Facebook edged out Google in terms of how much time U.S. users spent on a Web site. U.S. users spent a total of 41.1 million minutes on Facebook in August, compared with 39.8 million minutes on Google's various sites, including Google News and YouTube.
And last March, Facebook hit another milestone when the social networking site replaced Google as the most visited Web site in the U.S. for a full week.
Hitwise reported over the weekend that Facebook marked another small victory for the year. After analyzing the top 1,000 search terms for 2010, Hitwise calculated that the word "Facebook" was the top search term for the year.
"This is the second year that the social networking Web site has been the top search term overall, accounting for 2.11% of all searches," Hitwise reported. There actually were four variations of the term "Facebook" in the top 10 searched-for terms of 2010: facebook; facebook login; facebook.com, and www.facebook.com .