SEO is so much more than knowing how to optimize a website. SEO also requires you to monitor how well the search engines are performing. You also need to be aware of alternate search engines for niche markets.
For instance since Bing and Yahoo! Search teamed up in 2009, together have been actively moving to capture more of the search engine market share. The partnership means that currently Microsoft has 28.99% of all search traffic because Bing powers Yahoo! search. That is a huge number of potential visitors to not optimize for.
Google Search has slipped a bit according to Experian Hitwise. This is interesting because I have noticed a slight increase in traffic from Bing on clients websites. We already automatically optimize websites for Bing search by default so it is good to see that it is worth the extra research and time.
Search Engine Market Share
- Google received 65.09% of all U.S. searches
- Bing-powered search received 28.99% of searches
- Yahoo! Search received 15.89%
- Bing received 13.10%
- 64 additional search engines received 5.92%
5.92% shows just how competitive the search market is in the U.S. 64 search engines is just a snippet of all the lessor known indexes of websites. Just in case you are curious here is a fairly comprehensive list of alternative search engines.
Long Tail Keyword Search
Single keyword searches are still the most frequently used while short keyword searches of 2 to three keywords decreased. Longer keyword searches of four to eight keywords increased by 3%. This is most likely due to people starting out their search with a main topic and not seeing the result they were looking for. Then on their next search they get really specific about what they are looking for. This trend underlines what I have always believed from reading so many website analytic reports.
People will find you through the oddest combination of keywords. Most of these words seem nonsensical till you understand that people looking for your products and services do not always know the correct terminology or industry jargon to accurately describe what they need.
Yahoo! Search Has the Highest Search Success Rate
Google might still have the highest percentage of searchers at 65.09% but Yahoo! Search and Bing achieved the highest search success rates. On Yahoo! Search, more than 81.36 percent of individual searches resulted in a visit to a Website. Google might not want to hear this but obviously people find Yahoo! Search results more relevant.
Google is always saying it is constantly innovating for the most relevant search results, but the numbers are the numbers. Google success rate is only 67.56%. I would hazard a guess that because Google is household name to the point we use it as a verb… “Just Google it” or my favorite website: Let Me Google That For You people just automatically use Google. People are reluctant to look for an alternative, even if they have to perform several searches to find the information they are looking for.
Search Engine Lesson
The take away is that Google might be the most widely used search engine, you need to be aware of alternatives as well. Watching your website statistics will show you if you should be optimizing for Yahoo! Search or Bing instead of Google. If you run a niche website for medical researchers or wooden toy car enthusiasts, you might want to explore alternate search engines that those type of people might use.
Make sure that you take a hard look at the knowledge level of your intended visitors. Even if they are familiar with your industry they may not know to search for “Industry Jargon” or “Company Specific Term”. More often than not they will instead search for “Large Blue Thingamajig Widget That Squeaks”.