- Online Marketing
For the second straight month Bing saw its U.S. search engine market share on the rise. Meanwhile, Google held steady, duplicating its record share of the search market, while Yahoo held steady after 10 months of declines, comScore reported.
|comScore Explicit Core Search Share Report*
July 2012 vs. June 2012
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore qSearch
|Core Search Entity||Explicit Core Search Share (%)|
|Total Explicit Core Search||100.0%||100.0%||N/A|
Google’s dominant share of the U.S. search engine market remained at 66.8 percent in July. Google attained its record 66.8 percent market share for the first time in June. Google had a 65.1 percent of the search market in July 2011.
Bing grew for the second straight month, upping its market share from 15.6 percent in June to 15.7 percent in July. Bing was at 14.4 percent in July 2011.
For Yahoo, there was good news: Yahoo search (which is powered by Bing) didn’t lose any market share for the first time in 10 months, holding steady at 13 percent. The bad news? Last July, Yahoo’s search share was a much healthier 16.1 percent.
Ask saw slight gains, growing from 3 percent in June to 3.1 percent in July. Ask was at 2.9 percent in July 2011. Meanwhile, AOL remained unchanged month over month and year over year, at 1.5 percent.
From June to July, Google- and Bing-powered organic searches remained unchanged, at 69 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively.
“Explicit core” searches grew 2 percent – from 17.1 billion in June to 17.7 percent in July. Google led the way with 11.8 billion searches (up from 11.4 billion in June); second-place Bing accounted for 2.7 billion (up from 2.6 billion in June); Yahoo was third at 2.2 billion (unchanged); Ask was fourth with 548 million searches (up from 516 million); and AOL came in fifth with 264 million searches (down from 265 million).
As of May 1, Microsoft’s small and medium business brand changed its name to Bing, bringing the name and design in line with the search engine’s homepage.
People who use Bing for search are in decision-making mode, Microsoft revealed in a statement about the rebranding. The ad buying experience through adCenter for SMBs is now more cohesive with the search user interface.
“By aligning with the Bing brand, SMBs will better understand that they are buying traffic on Bing and Yahoo search,” a Microsoft representative told Search Engine Watch. “Many advertisers find the program through the Bing homepage, where they click on ‘Advertise here.’ This shift helps those customers follow a more intuitive path to what they are looking for.”
The Marketers and Agencies brand remains unchanged, identified as Microsoft Advertising. Citing a recent comScore Core Search custom report, Microsoft revealed in their rebranding announcement that unique searchers on Bing and Yahoo Search are likely to spend 26 percent more than the average searcher and 9 percent more than those using Google Search in the U.S.
In a direct jab at their top competitor, Microsoft also announced that “Microsoft and Yahoo have searchers you can’t reach on Google: 49 million unique searchers using Bing and Yahoo search (including Microsoft and Yahoo core search sites) do not use Google in the U.S.”
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
Did the headline catch your eye? I really wanted a teaser headline for this post which would entice people to read and discover the details of a new global search engine — but for that message, a teaser alone just wasn’t credible.
But when I added the word “Apple” to the headline, it completely changed its dynamics — just like Apple does every time it enters a new business area.
So, I must be talking about Siri right? Wrong. I agree actually that Siri is a really important development, but Apple has much more up its sleeve than just Siri.
Chomp is an app search engine where you can find apps using keyword search. Intriguingly, it covers both iPhone and iPad along with Android.
The image below shows how Chomp currently presents listings (that’s rankings right?) for apps giving you their ratings and clearly identifying if they are free are not.
The team which created Chomp is already working at Apple on the company’s plan to replace the current “App Stores” with Chomp or a version of it.
A little testing of Chomp reveals that it is a little more sensitive to keywords than the App Stores themselves – but much needs to be done. Don’t forget, there are now well over half a billion apps which have been downloaded over 25 billion times.
For “apps” read “websites” and for listings read “rankings”, this is big world search and its happening all over again. The app world is now bigger than Google was in the year 2000 when Google had indexed one billion pages — since an app typically has several “pages”.
Apple is already releasing warnings to app developers saying, “You should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.”
That is such an uncanny parallel of warnings which Google gave to users of analysis and positioning software in the early years including that they would have their websites de-indexed.
Although Chomp’s multilingual capability is currently still sadly lacking (as was Google’s before 2006), the image below suggests that the potential for rolling this out successfully globally is just vast. Don’t forget, Apple already has the apps “indexed”, it just needs to provide greater access to them via a more effective search paradigm.
GitHub: Software description: a software to manage books in the computer (C#). →
The people over at Liveside.net, an independent blog that covers Microsoft’s online efforts, have posted screenshots about the changes Bing has done recently.
Looks like the folks at Bing are back at it again, testing new versions of the UI, while not saying much about them or how (or even when) the changes will roll out more broadly.
This latest look seems to feature more of a blocky, “Metro style” interface, and quite a bit cleaner than the current look (well current to us, we’re not even sure that the last round of changes ever fully rolled out).
Here’s one look, from reader Michaël Bessard:
Compare that to our current look:
As you can see, the current double navigation (at the top, and again under the search bar), which we find quite confusing, is gone, and the “Wave 3” style header is gone, too, replaced by a block image on the left, a simple gray background, and a more “Metro” looking drop down profile box, in monochrome black instead of the current color version.
It’s been two years since Microsoft launched its Bing search engine, but it was only a few weeks ago the “beta” tag was taken off. Now, SEO experts say, you should perhaps pay a little more attention.
Although these online marketing gurus say Google is still the main focus, it may be time to take a few seconds and see how you’re approaching your SEO outside of Google.
Even if you just want to bolster your Google strategy, there’s a lot to learn about your own SEO practices, how you’re making the most of search engines and what you can learn from where Microsoft wants to take its products in the future.
“You should certainly be setting up things like Bing webmaster tools so you can get a different opinion on what’s happening in your particular area,” says Stewart Media chief executive Jim Stewart.
Microsoft doesn’t hold much of the market, but it’s still keen on making as much of an impact as possible. Earlier this year it told the New York Times the company is pumping millions into making sure Bing is more successful, and Ninemsn consumer marketing manager Kurt Fulepp says there will definitely be new things happening soon.
“The product has been evolving and being tested over the past two years, and the main thing from our point of view is that a fully tested product is available” he says.
“We’re really focused on making sure that what we’ve done is create a product that reflects what people are searching for. We think that people are focused on completing a task, and that’s what we think Bing enables them to do – that’s how we view search, as task-oriented.”
Plenty of businesses would be focusing all or most of their efforts on Google – and rightly so, as it’s the world’s leading engine. But these experts say Bing’s webmaster tools system is nothing to sneeze at either.
Monte Heubsch of Aussie Web Marketing says business need to speak with their SEO managers about getting into Bing and looking at how their sites rank in a totally different engine – and the first step is by downloading and using these tools.
“Bing has a whole different interface to look at site performance, backlinks, and other elements. We do that now for our sites because it just gives us another set of eyes,” he says.
“Best practice may suggest that when you’re dealing with SEO you want to make sure you have all your bases covered. For instance, some of your pages may come up higher on other engines, and you may or may not want that happening.”
While Bing and Google strive to deliver the most relevant results, the algorithms behind each product are different. As a result, they will both emphasise different things, such as social media results.
“There’s a slight change in how Bing approaches social,” Heubsch says, noting that Facebook pages can appear higher than they would in Google. “You might find your fan page comes up higher because Bing gives it a little more authority.”
Fulepp says although he can’t divulge much about the engine’s future, he does say Microsoft will focus on how the social graph will fit into results.
“One of the main pillars of what we’re doing is being socially connected. How do we integrate that social graph to help you make decisions better? It could be pretty powerful.”
It’s easy to assume Bing is always working with something new, and for that reason you should download the webmaster tools and keep an eye on your Bing ratings, even if it’s only once or week or in a similarly time period.
Stewart says changes in Bing should particularly affect companies that are marketing to people who watch a lot of television, or who aren’t as tech-savvy, as Bing is the default search on Internet Explorer software.
“If you’re trying to target people who watch a lot of commercial television, it’s probably important, or if your audience is those who don’t regularly change their home pages and still use the same search engine that is recommended to them.”
As Fulepp explains, Bing thinks of itself more as a decision, task-oriented engine, and less of a general search framework where users type in a few terms and then search for whatever they think is the most appropriate link. Instead, Bing wants to aggregate all the data and give you the most information possible.
For instance, when users in the United States search for a particular product, Bing will aggregate several deals for them and show those results on the first page. In Australia, searching for particular weather in a city will see it show up in the search bar before a user presses enter – the same for various other results as well.
While these product results don’t show up in Australia, these experts say there is no harm in optimising them so they even show up in American search results. Doing that requires traditional SEO techniques – rich content drenched with relevant information.
Stewart explains most of the work you’re doing for Google in this area can be transferred to Bing.
“You should optimise for Google, then go back every so often and take a look at Bing and see what it’s doing.”
“Most of the time, you’ll find the searches are identical, but every so often you’ll see something that’s different. You’ll want to make sure you’re ranking well for everything.”
Heubsch says SEO firms have come to brand their occasional check-ups on Bing as “Bing Fridays”, where they will only use Microsoft’s engine instead of Google.
“We all jokingly refer to Bing Fridays, and it’s kind of a loving term within our little market here.”
“That having been said, Bing is superior at a couple of things. I think it’s a much better image search engine, and it’s really strong, so if I’m looking for slides I can find some really great stuff on there.”
Ultimately, he says, businesses should be paying attention.
“Bing has a whole interface to look at site performance and backlinks. You should be paying attention – there’s a lot of integration with Yahoo as well that could have an impact on your rankings in Bing.”
I stumbled across a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) today that has taken the last of the air from the Dex sails. Dex One, or dexknows.com has started claiming local listings on the customers behalf and pointing the local, or places (shown in example below in red) listings at the Dex “digital storefront.”
What does this mean? On the surface it seems like a great customer service, but when you start dig into the ramifications of the action in organic placement* , as well as the customer being charged for free traffic****, artificially inflating the traffic to Dexknows.com**, not to mention handcuffing the customer to Dex***.
Let me explain in further detail.
Organic traffic positions on SERPs are based on engine algorithms that use many data points, while the exact formula is a highly guarded secret, we do know most of the ingredients. I am going to explain to you, not in any particular order, some of the way algorithms work. To understand algorithms you need to look at a search engine as a large file cabinet with all items that appear on the page as a file in the cabinet. Every time a search is conducted the files in the cabinet are accesses, searched through and then results are shown based on a number of factors that the algorithm is programmed to look for.
Some of the factors are:
Engines like Google change their Algorithm on a very regular basis, sometimes multiple times a day. When you entire business is driven by your Algorithm, you tend to spend as much time making sure it is the best available. Don’t Believe it? Here is a link to the Google blog talking about algorithm. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/another-look-under-hood-of-search.html
With that said, let’s talk about how Dex’s claiming local listings impacts a business’s overall web presence. When a “Local or Places” location is claimed by the business owner, the business gets to input information that tells their potential customers all about their business in an effort to inspire the searcher to contact the business. Dex has claimed listings (in the example below, Red circled areas) for the customer and placed all the data on the “Digital Storefront” (a Dex product) into the “Local or Places” listing on the engine. The issue arises when the phone number is placed into the listing, in place of the customers phone number, they have placed a Dex owned tracking number that routes to the business, and in place of the customers website, they have set the link to the customers “Digital Storefront,” (Another Dex Product) so when clicked the searcher finds themselves at a single info page, hosted on the Dexknows.com domain.
*- Why Call Tracking Numbers Cause Issues In Local Search Results(Reference taken from http://searchengineland.com/for-local-seo-lack-of-call-tracking-solution-spawns-cloaking-70198 )
There are two fundamental reasons why tracking numbers can cause issues with Google Place Search, other local search engines, and organic search marketing over time.
First of all, many local business directories and local search engines use the phone number as a key identifier for individual businesses. A phone number is often an easy ID to use for indexing businesses because they are generally prone to less variation in how they’re presented in databases or on webpages.
When an index database is processing a set of business listings to add to or update their existing listings, if a business’s listing in this fresh dataset does not match with the existing listing already in the database, there is a risk that the algorithm will not be able to associate the new listing information with the existing info in the database. So, any ranking factors associated with that new listing info may not get applied to the business.
PageRank, reviews, citation value, TrustRank, keyword relevancy, etc — all of these possible elements which could help the business in rankings might not get applied to the business’s main listing. That information might disappear into the void, or it might result in the directory spawning a second, duplicate listing for the same business — which can result in splitting of the ranking values across two listings over time instead of laser-focusing all of them upon one business listing.
***-Second, if the business ever changes call tracking solution providers or stops using the tracking numbers, the phone numbers they’ve been using will stop working. Considering the degree of data sharing among local directory companies, if you use the numbers outside of paid search you will almost certainly have them spread out to many other sites which you’re not even aware of. This can result in lost business referrals over time as consumers may call defunct numbers and figure the business is no longer there.
I’ve investigated cases where a company used tracking numbers in one yellow pages site and didn’t realize the numbers had spread to other local sites — utterly ruining their ability to detect how many calls came from which channels and obviating the entire point of using the numbers for non-paid campaigns.
The main issue with fixed call tracking is the potential damage to local search rankings. SEO is sometimes a game of inches where you need to squeeze advantage from a wide variety of ranking signals. Use of a call tracking number may not result in your business dropping all the way out of the rankings in local search, but it could sandbag you, and you might not even be aware of it.
The dividing lines between social media promotion and organic search optimization are becoming blurry as well, and as companies attempt to leverage social media, I’ve no doubt they’ll employ tracking phone numbers there as well. Any place where a citation to your business may appear would be a place to avoid using the tracking numbers — including in Twitter and Facebook.
I’ve had individuals tell me anecdotally that they’ve used tracking numbers “with no problem”, but I can see that their ability to actually assess any potential impact is actually pretty low.
Are you adept enough to tell if you’ve lost 3%, 5%, 10%, 20%, or 30% of your potential local search ranking weight?
Where there are a few hundred variables involved in a constantly changing environment, detecting impacts and isolating causes can require significant sophistication. If you’re in position #1 for top keywords before and after introducing call tracking, you may not have cause for concern.
**- Inflating Dexknows.com total traffic score
Alexa is a website similar to TV’s Nielsen Rankings that looks at total traffic into the Internet property or domain I.E. Dexknows.com. It measures the amount of total site visits each website receives and then assigns the domain a rank. Ranks are much like a golf score, the lower number the more traffic the site has. Google.com has a rank of 1, Facebook.com has a rank of 2, and YouTube has a rank of 3. When your website has more traffic, naturally the prospect of advertising is more appealing to a potential customer.
Dex has artificially inflated the “site traffic” for the dexknows.com domain by sending all paid traffic for their “Guaranteed Actions” customers, as well as the “SP” programs to “Digital Storefronts” on the dexknows.com domain. For example, when you click any one of the circled links in the Example page above, you will travel to the URL (website address) listed below the ad, but the page you see will be in the dexknows domain. This allows Dex to claim overall site traffic for presentation to other clients, when the reality of the nature of the traffic is directed at a client “digital storefront.” The claim that they make is not inaccurate, but can be very misleading.
****-Being Debited for “Guaranteed Actions”
Most customers that are currently involved in a “Guaranteed Actions” programs are being debited for clicks, 1 Point just for the “profile view” and then another 5 points for a call or email. So let’s assume that you were looking for the number to your dentist, and you do a Google search for your dentist name, the places results shows your dentist at the top of the local/places listings (Circled in Red in the example above). You dial the number (5 points), or click the link (1 point) then dial (5 Points) the number.
Every business is entitled to a free appearance on Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Dex has just found a way to charge for something the customer would have received free.
*******************UPDATED December 29th 2011*******************
Since publishing this article on 10/6/2011 it seems as if something has changed. I am no longer able to find Dex track line numbers in local
comScore recently released April 2011search engine rankings report. This report shows overall market share / usage of the top search engines.
Here is the recap in order of usage:
The graph below shows search query’s in millions. Americans conducted more than 18.0 billion total core search queries in April. Google Sites ranked first with 11.6 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 3.2 billion and Microsoft Sites with 2.5 billion according to comScore.
Most of the customers I consult with have been content running on the Google network alone, however the data above shows that limiting yourself to one network is only allowing you 65.4% coverage. This means that they are missing 34% of potential customers/clients/or patients. I always recommend we run all tier one search engines and allocate the budget appropriately, this way we have the broadest reach and will be available to 98% of the searches conducted.
With this in mind, Chris has the ability to provide accurate data as it relates to the conversions (CBO – Conversion based optimization) that come from each search engine independently, and he is able to move money between engines providing less impact to those that have better results. Often times those customers that were just running on Google get far better results from other engines. This is just one more reason that running your program with the largest provider of local internet search to SMB’s in the United States just makes sense. Chris can provide you solutions that small boutiques can’t touch.
This article is more about investment in stock, however I think it should be included on this site because of the general public’s limited view point about Google being the only search engine.
Google’s earnings came as a huge blow to the internet giant, as rising costs and falling margins led to an important selloff in the stock driving its price down to values not seen since October 2010. A management reshuffling, with co-founder Larry Page taking the helm from Eric Schmidt after a decade, and the questioning of its dominance by competitors, from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook to Microsoft’s Bing, have cast shadows of doubt over Google’s future. Analysts and experts, though, seem to agree that higher costs are a near-term burden which will result in the realization of growth potential in the near-future.
Despite impressive top-line growth, Google’s stock fell 8.33% since it posted its first quarter earnings erasing about $15 billion in market cap. Apart from missing EPS expectations by two cents, posting adjusted earnings of $8.08 per share, investors were worried that Google is spending too much money. Operating expenses were up 56% to $2.84 billion, traffic acquisition costs (TACs) were up almost 20%, and margins fell to 37.6% from 41% in the first quarter of 2010. Bloomberg even noted that the company went on a “hiring binge” after Google announced it had added 1,900 people to its payroll in the quarter and raised salaries by 10%. “The concern is that the expense discipline may be leaving as Eric Schmidt steps away,” a Benchmark Co analyst told Bloomberg. (Read Google Misses Estimates, Triggers Sell Off).
Many people confuse or don’t know the difference between the two. I’m going to try to help you understand the pros and cons to both allowing you to make a decision for yourself. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is located in the main space of the search engine results page and has always been a fundamental goal on initial website construction. Web designers put “meta tags, alt tags, Meta names, content, etc.,” into the site during construction in hopes of making the site show up in the results page in any given engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing). It’s always been a game with the web site designers jockeying for the top position on a few different keyword terms. SEO was dubbed by designers as “Free area of Google!” Make no mistake about it, SEO is not free Though Google doesn’t charge for your listing, the costs associated with your time or a web designers time render “free” fairly expensive..
The major advantages to SEO are: Organic listings are generally considered “Trusted,” or at the very least unbiased. In addition to that, there is NO dollar figure assigned to the click value so it can pull more traffic without shutting down. And the last major benefit is that all costs should be paid up front. Lots of debate has ensued about monthly SEO fees, however most SEO companies charge a one time fee.
Cons to SEO:
You have little or no control over the placement of the listing, if it even shows up. The content that each spider or robot looks at can vary greatly from one engine to the other, thus stripping away your control of the optimization process, not to mention that sometimes site design can cause robots not to follow the content correctly.
In November 2010, Google threw another wrench into the SEO process. Google changed the layout of the 1st page of search results in any given search. Google has lessened the amount of SEO locations available on the first page and replaced the listings with Map locations, also known as “Google Places.” (Please see images)
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) also referred to as PPC. SEM appears along the top and right side of the search results page. On the surface is very easy to understand, you pay per click. You don’t need to worry about all the “meta data” with SEM, the only thing that is important is that you have a decent budget you are willing to spend and a decent site to land the customer on. You can do this yourself, but If you decide to do it yourself, beware of a very costly learning curve in how to manage the engine’s Adwords tools. If you hire a professional to do it for you, make sure the company you hire only does internet marketing. Choosing a yellow pages company to manage a SEM program is like asking a veterinarian to perform open heart surgery on you.
Paid traffic is very predictable; you pay for the amount you want, and it is done in a very capitalistic way, a bid system. Paid traffic is instant, specific, and relevant. You buy only the terms you want, and you can choose Nationwide exposure or limit it to a 10 mile radius, thus providing “no waste.” Paid positions on the page generally convert at a higher rate and drive a larger sales volume. SEM fits in nicely to the changes Google made to the search results page.
Cons of SEM:
You pay for what you get, stop paying…stop receiving. Conclusion: SEM and SEO play a very large part in the overall plan of “site marketing” and it is up to your business to determine the amount of money to direct to each aspect. I would say from my own stance that both have their place in today’s market, but with the recent changes to Google, SEM is your best bet for the immediate bang.