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Google vs Bing - is it time to give the underdog a chance?

Keep up with the very latest developments in the digital marketing world

By Dave Ashworth
on 13/10/09

Google is obviously the number one search engine, according to a recent report in the Telegraph, it has about 71% market share of searches performed, and whilst Bing slipped slightly to just under 9% the fact is, it’s there and people are using it.

The father of a friend of mine recently proudly told us how he had bought a Wii online (he’s what you might call a “silver surfer” and had rarely performed a search let alone bought anything!).  As someone whom has an unhealthy interest in people’s surfing habits I enquired as to the process and how he searched for the product, when I asked if he used a natural Google SERP listing or an AdWord listing, he informed me that he used Bing because when he “turns on the internet that’s the search page that appears”, then he performed a basic search and followed the first link (in this case an ad) that suggested this was a site where he could buy a Wii.

This made sense, why would he think about using Google if an alternative search engine is there when he opens IE?  It also supports the findings of this report which suggest Bing users are more likely to click on ads.

I recently wrote an article about optimising images with Bing’s image search in mind and whilst I would still always use Google out of habit, there is definitely a need to ensure your site is listed not only on Google but also on Bing and Yahoo – it’s called search engine optimisation after all, not Google optimisation!

So how do you go about optimising for Bing?  Well it’s pretty much the same as Google, cover the basics and you’ll be well on your way – quality on site optimisation, a good inbound link portfolio and an older domain will put you in good stead.  Interestingly, there are some differences between the Bing and Google search results, which can easily be viewed side by side using this useful comparison tool.

Whilst I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to suss out what the differences are between the two and wondering how to top both (if you don’t already) I would ensure that at the very least you submit your site to Bing (and Yahoo) using the following webmaster tools:

Bing
http://www.bing.com/webmaster
Yahoo
https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mysites

So how often do you use a search engine other than Google if at all?  Nearly 10% of you are, so it would be interesting to know why.  If you’re a webmaster, have you noticed any increase in the number of Bing searches leading users to your site?  All comments welcome.

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