In the parlance of search engine optimization, the partial term “search engine” has invariably come to denote Google. Almost all SEO experts focus their optimization efforts on Google, the dominant player among search engines.
And why not? Google holds more than 65 percent of the market share in Internet searches. It’s the largest source of traffic for many websites.
But too often we forget to ask: What about the rest of the searches? Where are they performed? Perhaps not surprisingly, Bing and Yahoo account for about 15 percent of the remaining market share. But if you add up the numbers, that’s actually a large chunk. Google handles more than 100 billion searches every month, so 15 percent represents more than 10 billion searches per month.
Bing & Yahoo are growing ... fast
Besides the fact that Yahoo’s new CEO comes from the Google camp and she’s been doing phenomenal work at pushing Yahoo Search and other products back toward the top, numbers suggest that Bing and Yahoo are performing very well.
For instance, the last quarter over quarter growth of search traffic on Bing and Yahoo together increased by 9.6 percent, while Google only picked up about 0.7 percent. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should suddenly shift all your efforts to Bing or Yahoo, because Google still leads by a huge margin. But it highlights a trend that you shouldn’t miss.
Microsoft reaches more homes than any other company in the world. And Google goes along with it. But Microsoft has more than one way to put its search engines in front of an audience. Xbox, Surface, PCs, and a broad array of other products used by people give Microsoft plenty of openings to promote Bing. Should it decide to add voice assistants like Apple’s Siri to these devices, Microsoft would surely use Bing for the data... and that would change the way people search.
Bing also partners with leading networks. Facebook, for example, uses Bing. Although one might be tempted to think it’s pointless to dwell on this, such integration can make data much more relevant, specific, and powerful.
Easier to Optimize, Your Job is Already Done
With Bing and Yahoo, it is easier to optimize. If you have optimized for Google, your job is already done.
Yahoo Search and Bing follow similar algorithms but they aren’t as powerful or complex as Google’s. With Bing, Microsoft really turned over a new leaf after its past efforts with search engines (remember the almost-disappeared MSN?); it has been reported that Bing uses human engineers intermittently to rank websites based on their content and usefulness.
Both Bing and Yahoo have realized that the future lies in search, despite Google’s apparently overwhelming leadership, which poses a grave concern about competition. This is probably one of the main reasons Bing partnered up with Facebook.
Bing and Yahoo place an emphasis on inbound links and the overall content, but their algorithms are much simpler than Google’s. Additionally, with Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, the sophistication outclasses the competition, even in on-page SEO.
The traditional wisdom holds that optimizing for Bing or Yahoo is a waste of time. As a result, most webmasters follow convention and don’t bother to check their rankings on those two search engines. This puts you in an excellent position: You have less competition to worry about — and with rapid crawl rates and enhanced features, your chances of ranking on the top for generic keywords increases drastically.
Admittedly, you’ll have access to much less traffic than through Google, but what if you can tap more than 90 percent of the traffic that comes in for a particular keyword?
Bing’s focus on search results is more organic
Bing’s focus on search has been a little different from Google’s. When Bing brought Bing It On, it had to prove its efficiency over the leader in the market; to do that, they had to do something radically different.
They didn’t really end up doing anything radically different, but the way they produce algorithms, use inbound link information, and add the human touch to the whole business of search makes it an intriguing and even promising prospect.
Mobile search and Bing
Apple’s relationship with Google hasn’t been all that great over the last few months, especially with regard to their iOS ecosystem, which controls their mobile devices. Besides iOS and Android, Windows is seeking to play the third largest competitor, replacing Symbian and BlackBerry in the process.
With more devices gaining traction, mobile search has become an important aspect in all searches. Since Windows phones are steadily rising up the levels, it seems evident that Bing would play a vital role in mobile search. If Apple decides to shift its base, it could pick Bing — or Yahoo — to gather search data and fetch results through its interface.
All of this leads to one simple conclusion: There is enough potential scope in Bing and Yahoo to make it worth your while to explore search optimization for these search engines.
Bing and Yahoo are growing. Needless to say, with mobile search gaining ground, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Yahoo capture these markets. In any case, it’s apparent that in the near future, Bing could grow rapidly to become a substantially valuable source of organic and high-value traffic. It would be smart to begin optimizing for these search engines now, before the rest of the SEO industry catches on.
Edited by Brooke Neuman