As Yahoo’s market share jumps 1.6% the search engine wars are back on with a vengeance.
Whenever companies think about SEO their automatic response is almost always to consider what ‘Google’ will think. However, if you haven’t started to think about other search engines then now is almost certainly the time.
In November Firefox ditched Google as its default search engine perhaps because it sees Chrome as a major competitor. In its place came Yahoo which has now seen a 1.6% jump in market share presumably as a result.
The news has prompted fresh speculation that Google is seeing its dominance in the marketplace start to erode. While it remains the undisputed market leader, Bing, Yahoo and the privacy preserving Duck Duck have been making small gains for some time now. Speculation is rife as to what will happen when the Safari-Google deal expires in 2015. Many now see Bing as a natural partner considering that it already supplies much of the functionality for Siri.
Yahoo’s big leap is not likely to be repeated. It’s down to eager users, switching to Mozilla’s latest updated – and so by default taking on Yahoo as their search engine, but it has been enough to prompt Google to hit back. Using their Twitter feed they posted instructions about how Google loving Firefox users could switch back to Google.
Google also retains an overwhelming supremacy in the search market. It still holds over 65% of the market, and it’s likely this could grow as Firefox users who switched automatically after the update, move back to Google.
Even so, it is still important for companies to spend some time thinking about how they appear in other search engines. If nothing else then you can think of it as a way of spreading your risk. Imagine you’ve painstakingly got yourself to the top of page 1 on Google, although you’re not listed on other sites. If something happens which sees you de listed on Google, for whatever reason, you can instantly see your online visibility take a nose dive. If you’ve spent some time getting yourself high up on Bing, then at least you’ll have something to fall back on.
For starters you can spend some time using Bing’s webmaster tools to assess your site’s performance. These are pretty extensive and even offer some additional functionality compared with Google in some areas.
Aside from this, you should take into account the way other search engines index pages when planning your content and in particular their limitations. While Google has been refining their approach for decades, Bing and Yahoo are relatively new at this and as such their search practices are some way behind.
For example, Google used to only scan the first 100k of a web page which meant longer pages were at a disadvantage. While they have addressed this problem Bing is lagging behind. They still only scan the first 100k which means you might want to consider moving all of your key content into the early part of the page.
If the Search Engine Wars are back on then we’re a long way from Google losing their influence in this area. However, Bing and Yahoo in particular have become significant players which means the days of Google-only SEO practices should be numbered.