I wrote a while back to wake me up when Bing powered search (combined market share of Yahoo and Bing search) reached 40%. Well, in March a new plateau was reached as the two search entities combined to hit 30% so I may now have one eye open. Experian’s Hitwise reports these numbers.
This is a good sign for Bing powered search as Google’s slip in share looks to be directly contributable to the increase in searches using the Bing search engine. The next step that Bing needs to see is a true second place position over Yahoo. Bing has poured untold millions into building its brand while Yahoo is just coasting on what it gained long ago. In fact, what advertising do you see about Yahoo search? I don’t see any but then again I also don’t see it all by a long shot.
While the Bing numbers look impressive and they are doing things to improve the search experience for end users and businesses alike, it’s important to remember that to credit this combined number to Bing is more of an industry and PR play than anything else. I would bet dollars to donuts that most Yahoo search users don’t have a clue that Bing powers the search results for the former Internet powerhouse.
Since most searchers don’t make it past the first few organic results in many cases it’s even more unlikely that they would see the microscopic “Powered by Bing” at the very bottom of the SERP to let them know. Then take it step further and accept the fact that they just don’t care.
So the progress is good because these monthly slips in Google’s death grip on search share will hopefully make Google more vigilant. While it has never been said directly one has to wonder if the Larry Page as CEO era wasn’t spurred on by the evidence that Google may have been getting fat and happy and simply needed a wake up call.
So we’ll ask our monthly question, do you think that Bing has a real chance to challenge Google? If you are an SEO, are Bing and Yahoo getting your attention yet? Will they be able to help searchers break the “Google habit” and maybe even more importantly, will they be able to do it at Bing or will they continue to use the “Bing Powered” search tag to put up bigger numbers?