Many internet marketers don’t give Bing or Yahoo a second thought and concentrate their efforts exclusively on Google. After all, with Google pulling in the vast majority of the world’s search queries, it’s a lot easier to focus both organic and paid search strategies there.
However, between the two of them, Bing and Yahoo control around 30% of the search market. So why do so many webmasters and internet marketers ignore all search players but the big G? There are 2 primary reasons:
# 1 Rankings are too Different
If you compare keyword rankings of any given website, it’s not surprising that Google results are much different than those in Bing and Yahoo.
But many marketers also feel the results should be nearly identical between Bing and Yahoo considering that they’re powered by the same search engine. However, the rankings between these two search engines are rarely in sync, and in most cases they are wildly different.
- The misconception here is that while most people understand that the search engine is provided by Microsoft for both Bing and Yahoo, few realize that the algorithm that returns the actual results is quite different. This means that the same information is in the index used by Microsoft, but the algorithm that selects results to display from that index when a user enters a search query is different.
- What this means is that unless Yahoo gives over completely to Microsoft, search results will always be different between Bing and Yahoo. Therefore, some internet marketers argue convincingly that it’s not a matter of Microsoft having a 30% share of the search market; it’s that their two search engines deliver different results and each only actually gets around 15% of the search traffic.
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# 2. There’s just not enough Search Traffic
When you consider the fact that Bing and Yahoo each only account for 15% or less of the search market and that, despite being run on the same index, both deliver strikingly dissimilar results, it’s no wonder that a lot of people just don’t care about these two search engines.
Despite losing a tiny bit of market share to Bing over the last 6 months, Google still dominates search- and if you’re playing the numbers game, the big G is the only way to go, as Yahoo and Bing just can’t provide the volume that many people need.
Additionally, industry professionals report that traffic behavior differs significantly between the 3 search engines.
- Traffic for the same exact keyword may quickly bounce away if sent from Google, stay on-page for long periods of time if referred from Bing, and drill down deeply into the site if from Yahoo.
- Or, any of these combinations could be reversed – it depends greatly on the keyword and the web page in question, and it appears that the traffic sent by each search engine in general exhibits search-engine-specific behaviors.
- Most internet marketers also cite a lack of viable traffic as a factor in only using Google for PPC advertising. However, this is one area where despite the small amount of traffic, advertising using MS Adcenter could prove extremely profitable considering that you probably won’t have much (if any) competition there.
The Microsoft display network and advertising system is actually quite advanced and some people prefer it to Google’s, but ultimately the traffic to the network doesn’t support the cost of developing landing and squeeze pages, writing ad copy for dozens or even hundreds of keywords and keyword groups, managing tracking efforts, split testing ads, and so on.
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But while it may seem illogical to many to depend on Bing or Yahoo, there is hope for the future in the form of one company’s downfall. Many industry experts have voiced concern that eventually Yahoo’s search engine will be entirely absorbed by Microsoft.
- Yahoo of course will still continue to exist in the other markets that it dominates, such as email and news, its monstrous directory, and its Answers segment.
- What this means is that at some point in the future, it’s likely that Bing will be Google’s only competitor. If this happens, both of the issues detailed above will be resolved, as rankings will become more standardized, and search results won’t vary in MS anymore considering that there will only be one algorithm returning responses from search queries.
If this occurs Bing will suddenly become much more viable as it will move from a scattered search engine sharing resources with Yahoo and still only capturing 15% of the market to a more streamlined and consistent search provider with 30% or more of the market.
When this day comes, you can bet that internet marketers will rush to capture that segment of the market. Until then, it’s likely that Google will continue to embarrassingly dominate the two smaller search engines.