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Bing Grabbing Market Share from Google

Google vs Bing vs Yahoo

In the past, I always concentrated on optimizing my web pages for Google first, and Yahoo! and Bing second. That’s because Google’s competitors delivered a fraction of the traffic—making the search giant my go to source. But when Yahoo! threw in the towel and announced that Bing would be powering its search (2009) I knew that Microsoft was going to give Google a run for their money…well, at least close the gap.

Despite recently being busted by Google for copying their search results, Bing has managed to gain 5% market share in February, according to Hitwise.

Percent of US Searches among leading search engine providers

This is on the heals of a 21% increase for Bing in January. Bing’s gain in traffic is obviously affecting Google who is down -4% over the past 2 months.

Why is this happening? Hitwise suggests it’s because Bing’s success rate (percent of searches that result in a visit to a Website) is through the roof. Bing (and Yahoo!) have achieved success rates of over 81% in the past 2 months, while Google has maintained a 65% success rate.Success rate among leading search engine providers

What’s so important about success rate? When people search, they click to visit websites when the search results match what they’re looking for. So a lower success rate indicates poorer search results. Matt Cutts makes a strong argument that Hitwise’s success rate it not a true measure of visitor satisfaction:

I think the phrase “successful search” is considerably less accurate than “left the site after searching,” because someone can leave a site for lots of different reasons.

Whoever is correct, that fact remains that Bing is grabbing market share from Google, and that Google is on a mission to improve its search results with their latest Panda update. Time will tell if this helps. In the meantime, Bing is giving me more reasons (and more visitors) to concentrate on optimizing for their search algorithm. I suggest doing the same for your real estate website.

About Justin Britt

Justin Britt (justin@hawaiilife.com) is Head of Innovation and Co-Founder of a little Hawaii Real Estate company. Britt oversees user interface design, SEO, programming, public relations and social media for Hawaii's 6th largest and fastest growing real estate brokerage.

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  • Victor Lund

    I read a smilar article this morning. They suggested that Bing is doing well because of the number of consumers to type search terms into the explorer browser. For example, if you look at the search keywords, you will note that many consumers will perform a search like geekestateblog.com in their browser’s URL area. The author suggested that a lot of Bing recorded search traffic is from this artificial search behavior.

    • As most people use Explorer to browse the web, this could be inflating Bing’s number of searches. However, they are still searches going to Bing. And they are growing.

  • Mrspeeb

    How is it that the month columns add up to more than 100% and the Month-over-month column doesn’t net to zero? “Lies, damn lies, and statistics. ” – Disraeli

    • That’s because “Bing-powered search” includes both search.yahoo.com and bing.com. So you should only be adding Google.com + Bing-powered search = 95.17

  • My search engine traffic is still lead by google. By a HUUUGE margin. I agree with Victor, I believe that Bing is artificially juicing their numbers.

    • My Analytics are the same. Google is still by far and away the leader in traffic from search engines to any of my sites. 56.13% Google vs 10.01% Bing-powered for Hawaii Life. I have to admit, this does not reflect the number Hitwise is reporting, and from where I stand, Google controls a lot more of the traffic sent to my site. This goes back to what Matt Cutts says, that leaving the search engine may not be as successful as Hitwise suggests. Regardless, I remember when Yahoo! and Bing accounted for less then 5% and Google was over 60%.

  • I hope this is true because the Panda update screwed me up. Went from page 2-3 to so far back it makes me stabby. And even ruder to anyone that calls because “they represent REALTORS on google”.

    Bing & Yahoo are great still.

  • Google still brings the vast majority of our traffic, but you can’t discount the 20% coming from Bing (especially when you’re in the Seattle area–Microsofties are loyal).

    As for “juicing the numbers” or “artificial search behavior”, I can see why a purist might argue the validity of this traffic. However, this is a classic Microsoft business approach. Users are already in your software application, so do anything you can to keep them there. If people get used to using Bing, no matter how they got there, they will be more comfortable continuing to use it in the future. If searching in the address bar of IE brings up the results they want in Bing, they will continue to use Bing.

    Whether you think that business model is strong-arming users in to using Bing or not, it creates traffic and it creates users who feel comfortable with the Bing interface. It’s working.

  • I think Bing’s real-time integration with Twitter and Facebook is key to their long term success and could be one of the major factors in them chipping away at Google’s market share. It’s one of the major complaints with search engines is their lateness on breaking news, but with the exclusive integrations Bing should be ahead of the curve and be able to deliver near instant news results.

    • Agreed. The social graph is going to be very important for search engine results moving forward. Google launched their +1 button to combat Facebook’s like button. Let’s see if it can gain any traction.

      • We should now fairly soon the success of +1, as Google is judicious in cutting the failing programs. It makes me wonder if Google is actively courting Stumbleupon.

  • Love the drawing. Google is imploding. Ha, ha.

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