I have been a Google searcher for pretty much their entire existence. I remember the days of them having “beta” on their page, and them still having better results. In their beginning I was still a heavy Yahoo searcher, and it was probably only about 2000 that I became pretty much a full time user of Google. I still used Yahoo on occasion. I tried Jeeves (or was it Ask Jeeves?), dud. I tried MSN/Live (pre-Bing), horrible. I’ve used meta-crawlers and aggregaters and just about every other search scheme that came along (remember Dog Pile?). In the end, I keep coming back to Google for everything except a few specialized searches.
Am I different than any other searcher?
Well… based on the stats, I would say I pretty much fit the norm.
You might ask why I even write this then. Actually, while I was at PubCon in Vegas in November I was struck by the confidence of the Microsoft, neh Bing, search representative who was there. He stated that their internal goal was 50.1% of search, or basically their search would be a failure (maybe I paraphrase!).
Ok, that was November. They launched Bing in late May (roughly). They surely are well on their way to global search domination by now. Right?
As you can see, Bing has gone, well nowhere. I’ve tried Bing. I actually like it some. But, unfortunately, it is just not Google. I think that’s what some searchers are using as their reason for not switching. I mean… how could “just Bing it” take over the catchy “just Google it” phrase?
I honestly don’t see Bing being at 50.1% anytime in the next 3 years. I don’t even see a combined Yahoo/Bing being at 50.1%. Can it happen? Yes. Will it? My money is on no.
So what does all of this mean to a business trying to drive search traffic and ultimately revenue?
- Continue optimizing for Google
- Do the right SEO things that will also drive Bing and Yahoo traffic (and the remaining 9-ish percent from the other search engines)
- Continue developing a social media strategy (since search engines are taking a hit in aggregate to social media web properties)
- Use AdWords (Google pay per click) for driving revenue generating traffic to your website
- Use Microsoft and Yahoo marketing platforms (their pay per click) to exploit certain niches and take advantage of their sometimes lower click costs (where appropriate).
- Optimize for local SEO whenever possible if your site if local-centric
Finally, I’d say keep a glimpse of the search engine and social media segments so that you can be in a position to alter your strategy as appropriate when things change. Like when Bing dominates!