What terms are most important to you from a search engine traffic perspective? Regardless of the terms, most bloggers and Internet marketers are likely to evaluate the performance of a search engine based on how much traffic it delivers. Thus, in my completely biased opinion, despite Bing’s slightly growing market share (up to 30% for Bing and Yahoo combined according to some recent studies), the quality of their search results is falling behind Google’s.
The reason this opinion is so biased is because it is based on the ranking of these two search engines for a single term – specifically “shopping baskets”.
As background, the reason “shopping baskets” is the keyword term I pay the most attention to is because it is the primary revenue driver for my firm’s demonstration e-commerce site Shopping Baskets Plus, as well as a keyword that we use to demonstrate our capabilities at search engine optimization.
As of today, Shopping Basket Plus ranks #1 on Google and #15 on Bing for the keyword term “shopping baskets. A case can be made that ShoppingBasketsPlus.com should rank first for the term “shopping baskets” based on providing more information about plastic shopping baskets than any other website. There are other sites that provide a broader selection that also are commonly found in the top spot, as the top four spots for this term bounce around a bit from day to day..
Frankly, for the term “shopping baskets”, Bing’s ranking of sites today is inferior to that of Google, and this is not just based on my own site. The rankings of the other sites on the first page are also out of whack with the sites that offer viewers the best user experience.
Bing is between a rock and a hard place. They probably have to offer results that are somewhat differentiated from Google in order to continue growing market share. However, Google has a huge advantage versus Bing due to having more search data to use in updating their results, plus the huge amount of data Google can mine from their widely distributed toolbar. If Bing’s results are too differentiated from Google’s they will lose credibility. A positive for Bing is that the inferior results they provide for searches on “shopping baskets” is the exception not the rule. For the most part, the quality of Bing’s search results is pretty good. Also, as pointed out in an article by Benjamin Vigneron, “Bing’s market share could grow thanks to Facebook integration into the Bing search results. The truly personalized way Bing is starting to leverage Facebook data is promising from a search experience perspective. It could make lots of searchers – especially those with an intense Facebook activity – switch from Google to Bing”..
Personally, I would like to see Bing increase their market share. The cost per click for pay per click advertising on Bing is much less expensive than it is on Google. For some categories, the cost per click is only half as expensive on Bing, making it easier to pay-out a campaign. I would enjoy seeing my lower cost clicks from Bing increase. However, Google delivers so much more traffic that if you are interested in volume, it’s far and away the more productive vehicle.
Recent reports indicate that Bing and Yahoo are up to a combined 30% share of U.S. searches. However, if Google can use their advantage in having more data to analyze to return better a better quality results to searchers Bing has a serious problem on its hands. Searching for the term “shopping baskets” is a bit on an aberration, but provides an example of a search result where Google is dramatically better than Bing. Time will tell whether Bing can match the quality of Google’s search results over the long term