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Study confirms importance of other search engines

A recent study of Nielsen/NetRatings revealed that a minority of searchers exclusively use only one of the top three search engines Google, Yahoo and MSN Search.

Which search engines do web surfers use?

According to the study, 58 percent of Google searchers also visited at least one of the other top two search engines, MSN Search and Yahoo, showing that even though Google's market share is dominant today, there is significant opportunity for its competitors to grow their share.

The use of multiple search engines is not limited to Google's searchers. Nearly 71 percent of those who searched at Yahoo also visited at least one of the other top two search engines, and 70 percent of those who searched at MSN also tried their luck at one or both of the other two.

"While it shouldn't surprise anyone that Google is the search engine to beat, it is critical that all of the major search players, including Google, recognize that they exclusively own only a minority of their users," said Ken Cassar, director, strategic analysis, Nielsen/NetRatings.

"This highlights an opportunity and a threat to all of the established players in the market, and underscores the importance of continued innovation in a highly competitive market that is anything but mature."

What does this mean to you and your web site?

We have mentioned it before in this newsletter: don't focus on a single search engine. To get best results, optimize your web site for all the top three search engines.

Optimize some of your web pages for Google, some for Yahoo and some for MSN Search. Both Yahoo and MSN Search have so many visitors that they can drive a considerable amount of traffic to your web site.

While everybody else concentrates on Google, it's much easier to get targeted visitors from the other two big search engines.

Google is an important search engine but others are quickly catching up. If you optimize your web pages for more than one search engine, you will get targeted traffic from many sites. In addition, you are less dependent from a single source which is important if your rankings drop on one search engine.

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March 2005 search engine articles