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.