Google, Bing, Yahoo – What’s the difference? Although the basic principle of operation for all search providers is the same, the subtle differences between them lead to different rankings on various engines.
If your business has a website optimised for Google, it may soon pay to notice of other emerging search engines and take advantage of key opportunities in this changing market. With over 200million users, twitter’s own search function could be considered as a potential competitor to conventional search, whilst Facebook’s search functionality may be a game changer in the coming few years. Users however are still more familiar with the more conventional search providers seen below.
The most popular search engines
Below, we can see American data from advertising platform company Chitka, showing the market share of the major search engines. Although European data will be slightly different, the trends are similar.
Google still dominates global search, with over 80% of the American market and more in Europe. The continued success of Google is attributed to the quality and relevancy of it’s search results, in particular, the semantic association algorithms used to link search terms with suggestions, demonstrated well in this Bing vs Google comparison.
Second place in the search engine battle, is now taken by Bing who have just overtaken Yahoo in search volume and will only continue to grow as Microsoft commences the merging of the two platforms. This move will see Bing becoming a far greater threat to Google, whilst AOL and Ask maintain their sub 2% share primarily focused at niche demographics.
AOL in particular still has a particularly high volume of searches and content related to local services, families and younger audiences. If your business operates in these areas it can still still prove fruitful to consider advertising/optimising for minority search engines with a known community that matches your target audiences.
Microsoft – Bing
As mentioned above, Yahoo results will soon be powered by Bing’s algorithm and index. The Bing PPC advertising platform will merge with Yahoo’s, whilst continuing to be administered through the Microsoft AdCenter interface. This essentially halves the amount of administration and work involved to maintain Yahoo and Bing Search Engine Marketing investments.
In the past, optimising for the top three search engines meant three different webmaster tools interfaces, three sets of algorithms to interpret and three sets of sitemaps to administer. After the merge has been completed, web designers, search engine marketers and business owners can invest in a single, more effective and growing competitor to Google.
Here’s a great website where you can do a search and see results from both Google and Bing side by side, to compare how well they perform against each other.
In summary it is advised to maintain a focus on optimisation and improving relevance for the Google algorithm as in the UK they still maintain well over 80% market share. As Microsoft forms new alliances with hardware manufacturers, we may see growth in Bing market share due to it being the default installed browser on new Windows systems, including mobile products.