Examining the Major Search Engines

Okay, you're convinced - search engine marketing is important. Which search engines, then, should you target?  ( A web search engine is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web and FTP servers. The search results are generally presented in a list of results often referred to as SERPS, or "search engine results pages".

 Examining the Major Search Engines
The information may consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files.) Definition from Wikipedia, they need help and support.

Let's look at simple on search engine optimization
Understanding Website Optimization : Web site optimization is all about creating a site that is discover-able by search engines and search directories.
It sounds simple enough, but there are many aspects of site optimization to consider, and not all of them are about the keywords, links, or HTML tagging of your site. Continue Reading
Considering URL structures & usability
One more thing to think about as you’re choosing your domain name is how URLs will be structured as you begin to put your site together. Some URLs are very long and seem completely random. For example, take a look at any given product page URL for Amazon.com. Continue Reading
Navigation knowledge & Usability considerations
When you consider web site navigation, there are two types: internal navigation and external navigation. Internal navigation involves the links that move users from one page to another on your site. External navigation refers to links that take users away from your page. In order for your navigation to be SEO-friendly, you have to use both types of navigation carefully. Continue Reading

We will start with a stronger engine and most popular :

The number-one search engine, in terms of searches and users, is Google (www.google.com). In any given month, depending on who's doing the counting, Google is responsible for about 65% of all web searches made in the U.S; its market share is even higher in some other countries  (approaching 90% in the U.K, for example). 

That makes Google an extremely dominant player; no other search engine has half its market share.

Google's audience is as broad a cross-section of web users as you're likely to find. Where some other engines might attract less technical users of various sorts, Google attracts technophiles and technophobes alike.

And, given Google ubiquity, you're likely to find it as the default search engine on most new PCs and many web browsers.

In other words, Google should be the number-one target of your search engine marketing efforts. No other search engine comes close.

When it comes to optimizing your site for Google search, the most important factor is your site's content. 

Google is better than other search engines at filtering out typical SEO tricks (yes, there are SEO tricks; you learn some in the next few chapters), so your pages need to include genuine informational copy. You need to write naturally and make your copy look more like a news article than a collection of random phrases. 

Make sure you write grammatically and don't use sentence fragments. In some instances, using fewer occurrences of a key phrase may result in higher rankings than repeating the phrase more often.

Bottom line: 
If you have a better organic site than your competitors, you'll rank higher than if you try to force your way into Google's search index.

Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) has been around quite a bit longer than Google but long ago lost the number-one position to its chief competitor. Today, Yahoo!'s search market share is in the 17% range and declining slightly, which makes it the number-two player to the Google juggernaut.

Unlike Google, Yahoo! has a fairly busy search page; it looks like a portal than a pure search engine. Because of this, Yahoo! attracts a lot of users who want to do more than search, which results in a slightly less technical user base than that of Google.

When determining search ranking, Yahoo! tends to weigh the page content higher than other factors. This means that using descriptive page titles and text goes a long way to improving your search results. It pays to put your effort into copywriting, making sure to include exact keywords and phrases within your text.

The number-three search engine today is also the newest-sort of. Bing (www.bing.com) is the latest iteration of Microsoft' search engine; it was formerly known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and, before that, MSN Search. 

Fortunately for Microsoft, it looks like the fourth time might be a charm. Like Google, Bing sports a relatively Spartan Google-like interface, albeit with a pretty picture behind the search box. Microsoft bills Bing not as a search engine but as a "decision engine," whatever that means. 

From a marketing perspective, it appears that they're focusing on quality over quantity in the
search results.
Officially launched in June, 2009, Bing has been gaining market share on a month-by-month basis. Last time I checked (February 2010), Bing's share was approaching 12%. That makes it the number three player (still), but growing.

Bing's success (relative to Microsoft's previous search efforts, in any case) has led to a flood of publicity on how Bing is eating into Google's share of the search market. While it's true that Bing is gaining share, it hasn't necessarily been at Google's expense. 

The way I read the numbers, Bing is taking share away from Yahoo!, not Google. During Bing's launch, Yahoo!'s share slid down from 20% to 17% or so, while Google has remained fairly steady in the mid-60s. In any case, it's hard to get too excited about a number-three player with 12% market share, no matter how effective the spinmeisters are.

In terms of search results, Bing's aren't necessarily as focused as Google's. You can improve your Bing ranking by obtaining several links from other sites to your site and then tweak your page content to include a large number of descriptive phrases and keywords. It's less important that you use your keywords and phrases in an organic manner. 

You also don't need the high-quality, authoritative content that Google demands. This means that a poor quality site with good SEO might rank higher than a more authoritative site that hasn't been well-optimized.
  • Interestingly, Yahoo! has contracted with Microsoft for Bing to power Yahoo! search results. While end users will still see separate interfaces and possibly different search rankings, the search database and index will be the same for both sites. And now the Yahoo Tools site supervisors now formally linked with Ping.We don't know if it will change something in the search results with the accession of the two companies.
Other Search Engines
Even though there are dozens of other search engines out there, only two additional engines are worth bothering with: AOL Search and Ask.com, both of which have a 2%-3% market share-not enough to challenge Google or Yahoo!, but still enough to be statistically significant. 

The other smaller players in this space, unfortunately for them, don't match Ask.com's combined.

AOL Search (search.aol.com) is typically the number-four player in the search engine market, with less than a third of the users of number-three Bing. 

The AOL Search engine is basically the Google search engine (they have a business partnership) with a few enhancements and AOL-specific content thrown into the results. As such, optimizing your site for Google search also does a good job of optimizing it for AOL Search.

(www.ask.com) is the number-five player and, as such, doesn't command a lot of attention, although it's always been a bit of an innovator in how it approaches the search function. It differs from the other search sites in that it looks heavily at topical communities on the Web and uses links from within those communities to determine page relevance. 

The practical result is that Ask.com becomes important if you're in a vertical market or your site is about a narrowly defined topic. Optimizing for Ask.com, then, is a bit different than optimizing for the traditional search engines; instead of focusing on keywords and HTML tags, it pays attention to getting links from trusted sites in the relevant topical community.

Which Search Engines Should You Target?
Now that you know a little bit about each of the major search engines, which ones should you focus your search engine marketing efforts on? Obviously, you have to optimize your site for Google. 

Google is the big dog in search, for good reason, and if you ignore Google, you'll kiss off more than
half your potential site traffic. You simply can't do that; you have to optimize your site with Google in mind.

Beyond Google, both Yahoo! and Bing probably deserve your attention, if only because their demographics differ a bit from Google's. 

While Google attracts a more general demographic, Yahoo! and Bing both skew a little older and a little less techno-savvy. 

The same applies to AOL Search, which benefits from AOL's somewhat-captive audience of oldsters and youngsters.

So it helps if you know who your audience is. If your audience is female and over 50, you might not get as much traffic from Google as you would with a different demographic profile; you might find that you get more queries from Yahoo! and Bing users than you might have expected. 

Examine your demographics and see if you might benefit from pushing harder with the non Google search engines.

A final word
For most web marketers, search engine marketing-in particular, search engine optimization-is the most important part of their online marketing efforts. 

That's because search engines drive the majority of new traffic to most websites; the higher your site can rank in the search results, the more traffic you'll generate. 

Most search engines work in the same fashion, sending software agents across the Web to find and index the pages they find. 

The end result is a giant database, a search index that is then used to fulfill end user search queries. How high a page ranks in a given query ultimately depends on how relevant that page is to the query; search engines look at a variety of factors, including keyword usage, link text, and inbound links, to determine the page's ranking.

The Ultimate.Web Marketing Guide.


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