Large search agency, Rosetta (recently acquired by Publicis), have conducted a study of organic search traffic to their clients’ websites in which they measured the percentage contribution of organic clicks from Yahoo, Bing and Google and segmented the data into vertical markets. The study found that the Bing-Yahoo search alliance presented significant competition to Google in the financial services and retail sector.
The data pulled from over 10 million organic-referred visits from January through May 2011 paints a slightly different picture from other search market share data providers such as comScore and Experian Hitwise. Whilst this is to be expected, as all their methodologies are completely different, the Rosetta study corroborates findings by the other market analysis firms as it points to untapped potential in every sector.
Both comScore and Hitwise’s recent market share figures are roughly the same, putting Google’s dominance at 65%. Hitwise reports a combined 30% market share for Bing & Yahoo whilst comScore reports 14% and 16% respectively. Broadly speaking both analyst firms measure market share in terms of the number of search queries performed on the destination sites – a metric which comScore calls explicit core search. Hitwise has an additional metric called “search success”, which measures how many searches led to a click on a website – and posits Yahoo and Bing at approximately 81% whilst Google searches only lead to a click 66% of the time.
The Rosetta study took a slightly different tack and estimated marketshare from a site owners perspective, aggregating organic clicks from search engines into specific industry verticals. It is noteworthy that the Hitwise search share success metric seems to be borne out in this latest.
The results show that whilst Google is dominant in every industry in all respects, and in some verticals command a marketshare of over 75%, vertical markets such as financial services and retail actually had stronger competition from Bing and Yahoo. In financial services, Google’s dominance was only at 54% and in retail, they only accounted for 60% of the clicks to the websites surveyed. Therefore, Bing powered search on Yahoo represents a more significant organic SEO opportunity in the retail sector, with almost a 37% share.
Hitwise and comScore also offer this type of analysis via paid-for services, but Rosetta plan to continue publishing this analysis over the coming year.
I feel that this shows a great opportunity to focus on the “other algorithm” by Bing. Google certainly drives the lion’s share of traffic by volume, percentages aside, but these numbers clearly articulate the need to pay attention to performance within Bing and Yahoo.Historically, Yahoo has been a strong portal, attracting lots of daily users for email, groups, fantasy sports, etc. It is obvious some of these “Yahooers” chose to conduct their searches there too, and end up driving a fair amount of volume for the retail and financial industries.
The only reason Yahoo still has a greater share than Bing is historic use. Yahoo is still more popular than Bing as a destination portal, and until Bing is able to develop a similar sized community, they will continue to lag behind in percentages as well as overall volume.
So, the question is, will this study be enough to get you to rethink your SEO strategy for Bing? With Google’s focus shifting towards social data, now could be a great time to dust off the core principles of SEO and apply them to Bing.