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The term “search” has become near synonymous with Google.

When asked a question that we don’t know the answer to, we commonly respond, “I don’t know, just GOOGLE it!

Just over two years ago Microsoft launched its newest Search Engine called Bing. Bing was marketed as a ‘decision engine’ and has grown in popularity ever since. Some joke that Bing stands for “Because It’s Not Google” and others feel that Bing has a nice ring to it, as if to signal an answer to a question.

Aside from the obvious visual differences between Google’s simple homepage and Bing’s graphical homepage there are a few other key differences between the two Search Engines – which begs us to ask, “Which Search Engine should I optimize for?” and “Which one is better from a marketing standpoint?

Before addressing these questions let’s take a look at some of the similarities.

Striking Similarities between Google and Bing

You can read all about the debate of who is copying who – whether Bing is copying Google’s ideas or vice versa – but at this point in time there are quite a few similarities between the two Search Engines.

For example:

  • Both algorithms account for relevancy and link analysis
  • Both use universal search
  • Both localize search results
  • Both offer paid search results (Google AdWords and Bing’s adCenter)
  • Both use a left navigation bar to filter search results
  • Both account for domain relevancy in algorithms

Should I Optimize for Google or Bing?

Most online searchers have developed a personal preference for either Bing or Google. These preferences may be based on the belief that one provides better results than the other, developed out of habit or simply the fact that one is saved as their homepage.

There are arguments for using both Search Engines.

A small test experiment performed over at Search Engine Land in January 2011 investigated the Fallacy of the Superior Search Engine. The results may surprise and interest you. Based on 20 different searches, both informational and transactional, Bing was able to provide higher quality search results. You can read all the details for yourself.

Whether or not one provides better results than the other, we need to acknowledge that both search engines direct visitor traffic to your site. As a website owner it is important to optimize your site for both Search Engines; whether one more important than the other may be purely subjective but it is recommended that you not completely ignore either of them.

Google has More Traffic …

In May 2011, Google received over 9.5 billion search queries, according to a Search Market Share Report by Compete. That is over 3,500 searches per second!

However, we can now see that Bing is catching up to Google in terms of Search Volumes:

  • Google’s query volume decreased by over 12% from May 2010 to May 2011.
  • Over the same period of time, Bing’s query volume increased by over 40%.
  • As of May 2011, Bing has just about half of Google’s search volume (4,726 m compared to Google’s 9,510 m searches).

Bing is also catching up to Google in terms of Market Share:

  • Google’s Market Share slipped by 10.3% from May 2010 to May 2011 and is now still a respectable 63.6%.
  • While there is no historical data reported, Bing’s Market Share in May 2011 was 31.6%

If you track your traffic sources you can probably see that the strong majority of Search Engine traffic comes from Google. Over 90% of all of the Search Traffic for our website is from Google. Don’t be surprised if these numbers change in the future.

Bing Does Have Higher Conversion Rates

The higher conversion rates of Bing visitors are often downplayed by the fact that Bing provides significantly less traffic to a website.

But do not underestimate the value of Bing visitors. The article titled Google isn’t the only game in town fully discusses how ignoring Bing means leaving money on the table:

Bing’s strategic positioning as a “decision engine” means that its users are “more shopping and retail focused than Google.” If this is true, a visitor from Bing is much more valuable to your site than a visitor from Google simply because Bing’s visitor traffic is ready to make a purchase.

This equates to higher conversion rates from Bing.

Using analytical tools, track your visitor traffic sources for each goal or conversion and see if Bing is sending better visitors your way than Google is.

Bing vs Google Pay Per Click Campaigns

If you are also running a Search Marketing (PPC) Campaign you will need to make the decision whether you should use Google AdWords or Bing Ads. Both have their pros and cons; perhaps you will decide to run ads in both Search Platforms.

Stay Focused on Building a Quality Website

Search Engine Optimization professionals and others within the industry are finding that the difference between rankings in either Search Engine is beginning to shrink.

In other words, where you rank in Google is getting closer to being the same as where you rank in Bing. We can expect adjustments to each Search Engine’s algorithms in the future but we know that the algorithms will still strongly emphasize quality content and relevant link credibility.

As a result, most SEO practices focus on these themes rather than trying to optimize for a specific Search Engine. Focusing on optimizing for one Search Engine is a short sighted strategy that may not be as effective in the future.

For more information on optimizing your website for Search Engines like Google or Bing, please call Toll Free 1-888-262-6687 or complete our Contact Request Form.

Browse all current Google Blog Articles or
Bing Blog Articles and continue learning!

Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.