Search Engine Influence Should Determine SEO Efforts
Most Internet savvy people, are well aware that Google Sites have consistently been the leader in the U.S. core search market, followed by Yahoo! Sites, and Microsoft Sites. Recently however, both Yahoo! and Microsoft have experienced respectable search market gains; in the United States. Perhaps this can be attributed to the introduction of new website navigation, and the 10-year deal (between Yahoo! and Microsoft) announced in July 2009; that sees Bing eventually powering Yahoo! Search.
Regardless, as the search marketplace evolves, it is very important to be aware of the major search engine players; and the influence they have on consumer search. Here is a current (April 2010) description of the most influential search providers:
Originally developed in 1997 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is the most-used search engine on the Internet; with 64.4 percent (10 billion) of the searches conducted. Google utilizes a unique system that analyzed the relationships between websites; called PageRank. This technology determines website relevance, based on the number of pages that link to the original site; and also the importance of those linked pages.
Google's mission statement from the beginning has been "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". The company's popular and unofficial slogan (introduced by Google engineer Paul Buchheit) is "Don't be evil."
Yahoo! Search began as a web directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. Throughout its evolution, Yahoo has partnered with a number of companies, including Google; to help it achieve it's search engine goals. In July 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal, in which Bing would begin to use it's technology to power Yahoo! Search. As well, Yahoo! will have the right to sell advertisements on some Microsoft sites. Although it may seem that Yahoo! has been struggling, the number two search engine has seen it's U.S. market-share increase; to 17.7 percent (2.8 billion) of searched conducted.
To service search clients in international marketplaces, the Yahoo! Search interface is available in a variety of languages, and found in (at least) 38 international marketplaces. Yahoo! has a mentionable presence in Europe, Asia and across emerging marketplaces.
Bing, formerly known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search; is the current web search engine solution from Microsoft. Advertised as a "decision engine", Bing is the number 3 search engine; with 11.8 percent of the search market-share.
In July 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they had negotiated a ten (10) year deal, which will replace the Yahoo! search engine with Microsoft's search technology; Bing. Yahoo! will retain 88% of revenues from all search ad sales on its website, for the first five years of the deal. Yahoo! Search will maintain its own user interface and brand, however, it will eventually be complimented by the "Powered by Bing" branding; as well.
Bing is available in many languages and has been localized for many countries.
Ask.com was originally known as Ask Jeeves. Affectionately named after "Jeeves", the name of the "gentleman's personal gentleman", or valet; fetching answers to all questions asked. The Ask Jeeves concept was adapted to encourage users to seek answers to questions posed in everyday, natural language; as well as traditional keyword searching. The current Ask.com still supports this approach, however it has introduced added support for math, dictionary, and conversion questions.
Ask uses different websites offering localized services for many countries, outside of North America; including: France, United Kingdom (Ask Jeeves), Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia. Holding steady as the number four search engine, Ask has retained 3.7 percent of the U.S. search market-share.
When scheduling your SEO duties, take consideration of each search engine's market-share; and influence. Google is seen as the number one search engine, but still retains less than 65% of Internet searches. With the new implementation of Microsoft (Bing) technology at Yahoo!, their market-share influence rises to 29.5 percent. This figure is half of Google's total search percentage, however it still represents (approximately) 30 percent; or one in three search clients.