We’ve all been Google’d…. We’re not talking about someone looking us up on the search engine, we are referring to the incredible impact Google has had on (dare I say it) our lives, as well as the internet itself. “Google It” has become one of the most common phrases in modern times. It’s dominated SEO’s thoughts, probably dreams and almost certainly nightmares! How do we rank well on Google? How can we get to the top of Google? Quite amazing when you consider it wasn’t even the original search engine (not by a long shot, who remembers Archie?). In fact there was probably around 16 search engines, including Yahoo, before Google even hit the scene in 1996! Now it is well and truly the ‘go to’ search engine…But are things about to change?
How important is Yahoo and Bing for SEO?
The short answer – more than it was. The most significant difference is that Yahoo has replaced Google as Mozilla Firefox’s default search engine. Users in the US who use Firefox will automatically be taken to Yahoo’s search results instead of Google’s.
Then there’s the rumours of Apple dropping Google, which surfaced in December 2014 and could potentially prove to be a substantial loss. This would see even more growth for Google’s main rival Bing, who have already replaced Google as the default search engine for safari mobile browsers.
Yahoo copies Google
Yahoo promised a “clean, modern and immersive design” and what do you know – they have delivered something that distinctly resembles Google. This is only in testing phase but you can try the new Yahoo interface. If this does come into fruition then users will have even less reason to care which search engine they use.
Should I Broaden My (Search Engine) Horizon?
You may be weighing up time vs. ROI; something that happens across every project. It’s already time consuming optimising for Google – “so do I really need to include Bing and Yahoo?” Consider this… If you spend all your time optimising for Google and ignore the rest, you may be sitting pretty on page one, but what if Google releases a new algorithm change and all of a sudden your site drops down the rankings? This could be a major problem if you rely heavily on organic traffic, but could be a lifesaver if you are still acquiring at least some traffic from Bing and Yahoo.
If yahoo and Bing continue to gain share and you have already optimised your site for these platforms then it could serve you well against the competition. It will give you a head start and ultimately help you to rank higher, as opposed to trying to optimise once it’s already popular.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other
You don’t have to choose between optimising for Google or one of the other engines as there are many similarities. Both yahoo and Bing reward high quality, relevant content that is unique. Engagement such as CTR or a low Bounce Rate is rewarded, whereas links that appear as spam are penalised.
In certain instances you may find Bing a bit harder to optimise, for example, Google is sophisticated when scouting for synonyms and deciphering what the page is about, on the flipside, Bing isn’t quite as intuitive. Bing relies more on keywords and internal backlinks with specific keywords in the anchor text. The good news here is if you do optimise for Bing you will be covered for Google.
Another major difference is that Bing likes Flash and Google definitely doesn’t. This can be a significant consideration when optimising your content. But with the news that YouTube is dropping Flash for html 5, Flash may be of less use and even less of a factor to consider.
Whether a large MNC, an SME or a Startup, many businesses operate locally, therefore should incorporate a local strategy into their digital marketing plan. This may affect the decision to optimise on different search engines. As an agency we tend to be UK focused and know that Google has a higher percentage of market share in the UK than USA (88% vs. 75%). One significant difference however is the way in which Bing surfaces smaller companies as it assumes you are searching in terms of proximity.
Google is still no.1
Despite all this Google still remains the top dog with more than 75% of the market share (December 2014). More importantly, it is still the best search engine in terms of searching for the required information. The giant search engine has definitely taken notice of the recent Firefox deal as they have even released instructions on how to switch back to setting Google as the default search engine. Despite all this, will the average user bother to change their default search engine back to Google? Only time will tell.
Yes, Google has gradually lost some of the share (stat counter data shows a peak of 82.3% in Nov 2009). The growth of the other search engines just means that CMO’s and SEO pros must not be 100% Google focused. There are gains to be made elsewhere and professionals must leverage their rankings on at least Bing or Yahoo, but preferably with Amazon, Wikipedia, Yelp and DuckDuckGo as well.
Have you been optimising for other search engines? If not, will you be considering it moving forward? Or perhaps, you need help optimising your strategy for Yahoo and Bing, if so why not check out the Netleadz Search services?