Posted September 9, 2011 8:39 am by with 11 comments

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It’s that time of the month again! It’s the time where we prognosticate about the future of the search world and act as if we can tell what is going on in the minds of all searchers all around the globe.

To summarize: Google is still the leader by far. Take a look at the chart below from Experian Hitwise.

Congrats to the Bing powered search team. There has been upward movement since last August with share going from 24.56% to the current 28.99%. That’s impressive on many levels. What is interesting though is that in order for Bing to be considered the real contender it has to pass its kissing search cousin Yahoo in the race and it hasn’t even gotten there yet.

So what does this really say? Well, if Yahoo, who is no longer a real search player (and is quite unsure as to what it is overall as well. Boatloads of best wishes, Carol!) is still ahead of Bing in market share then what is really going on with Bing? No one is throwing big advertising budgets at Yahoo search but they are with Bing and this is where it has gotten them?

It looks like this is real evidence of just how difficult it is to change people’s habits when it comes to search. It seems that despite Yahoo’s virtual distancing itself from its search roots many people still turn to the company for search because they always have. What other reason could there be? Is that ad at AT&T Park in San Francisco that effective that the Silicon Valley baseball fans keep turning to Yahoo for their search needs? Not likely.

The trouble is that Bing is still struggling mightily to be taken seriously in search and to find its place in the search mosaic. I think my experience is a perfect example of what many find when using Bing. From time to time I check results in Bing to see what I get. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised because Bing has some pretty cool features. Most times, however, the quality of the results just don’t match Google’s even with all the trouble has with keeping the SERP’s clean of Internet crud. As a result, I go back to Google and then check in from time to time with Bing.

I am probably not even a great example since I feel obligated to keep up with Bing due to being in the industry. Others don’t have that driver so they may never consider to check to see what they may be missing over at Bing.

We have asked this often in the past but we’ll take another stab at it? What is your search engine of choice and why? Also, what would it take, if anything, to change your search habit and move to another engine as your first choice?

  • “real evidence of just how difficult it is to change people’s habits when it comes to search.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. The majority of people don’t like change. I know plenty of Baby Boomers that still refuse to let go of their AOL accounts! It’s just the way they’ve always done it, so why should they bother with anything else?

    • I don’t like the way Bing looks. Can’t stand the name and it’s not connected to anything I have to have any real purpose like I have with Google.

  • Ann Williams

    I Bing for Images. Their images search results are far superior to Google’s (IMHO) and in all honesty, haven’t tried Yahoo’s “image search”. Not really clear if they even have one. For everything else, I Google. I haven’t used Yahoo search in years and though I probably still have a couple of Yahoo email addresses flapping around in the ethers out there, Gmail and Outlook are what I think of when I think email. Hotmail is still okay from time to time, but I never made a habit of going there. You hit the rightON button when you pointed out that people do what they’re used to doing. Old habits die hard, even in the face of shiny new gimmicks. It takes time to do new things and we’re all in a hurry.

  • Initially I used Bing occasionally because like you, I’m in the industry. The large photo on the home page is attractive and interesting to check out what it changes to. Other than that, nothing has ever jumped out at me as being a big differentiating factor. Software features are growing faster than people’s need for them. Most people could be using a 7-year old version of Word and Excel and be just fine with it, not needing all the new bells and whistles. Same goes for search, and the end of the day, the vast majority of the people are using it as a combination Yellow Pages/Encyclopedia/Library Card Catalog. If you find a tool that works well (ala Google) there’s no need to switch as long as the quality of the results does not diminish. I noticed Google started producing a higher percentage of SPAM starting a couple years ago or so because of all the people recognizing their search domination and ‘gaming the system’ But they have plenty of resources to combat that and have done so this year (ala Panda update.)

    Bing will need to come up with some very ‘buzz worthy’ feature that gets people talking about it. Just advertising won’t do it. The Cash Back program was such a feature, but has since ended, I imagine because it was extremely expensive. I am surprised the brain trust at Microsoft has not come up with something to date that really builds buzz. Something like micro-payments to users who rate results. I’d use Bing if in exchange for rating a handful of results for each of my searches, they would pay me a few pennies per rating. I’d have a little monetary incentive and know I was making Bing results better. Obviously someone might think of hiring a staff of 1,000 people in India to game that system (and get paid for it!) but I think you could structure it so that abuse could be minimized and the average rating of the majority would come through.

    Another idea might be to have some sort of giveaway. Every 10,000 searches someone wins a $1000 shopping spree at a Microsoft store. Microsoft can leverage their retail presence/distribution as an advantage over Google.

  • Interresting!

    Congrats to the Bong!

  • PPC specialists should be interested in the advertising inventory reports coming out of the metrics services but it sure would be nice if they would attempt to measure organic search market share.

  • If yahoo/bing combined is close to the overall Google market share why do my log files not even come close to the representation above?

    • Good point Jaan, We don’t see traffic in those proportions at all. Probably speaks to who our readers are. O get the impression that Bing’s best chance is the mass market outside of the tech area. We have all run Bing through with scathing posts and sarcastic “Bingahoo” comments that they stand little chance with the industry.

      Fortunately for them that doesn’t preclude them from getting traction with “normal” folks who could give a hairy rodent’s behind about what the valley types think or use.

  • Google always will be first.

  • Jeff Davis

    Bing suddenly became my default search yesterday (I don’t know how), so I tried it several times. The results were not nearly as helpful as Google’s. But, the experience did prompt me to use Bing to search for how Bing is doing, and I found your post!

  • I’m no where close to being as tech savy as some of the responers are, but my reason for switching would be the privacy issue. How much power google has as far as the amassing of information goes, is scary!
    I would use any search engine that didnt keep track of searches. We give our information out in such a way that ill meaning governments of the past could have only fantasized about.