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Which Search Engines Should I be Targeting?

Google Logo 2010

An essential part of achieving success online is working out the most effective way to use search engines. In 2014 very little web traffic is generated by direct results, particularly for smaller websites (large websites like Facebook, eBay and the BBC would be exceptions to this rule, and even this is repeat visiting). Businesses who understand how search engines work are much more likely to generate significant web traffic from search engine results. In other words, there is a close tie between search engine results and turnover/profits generated through online activity.

One of the big questions for businesses surrounds the question of which search engines they should be targeting. Whilst Google are clearly the best-known search engine for UK users, most people are aware that there are various other search engines in operation. This raises a couple of questions: what kind of usage are the various search engines generating, and which search engines should be targeted in order to maximise success online?

Google’s Market Share Dominance

Figures released in the US last week suggest that Yahoo’s market share is likely to be confirmed as the lowest that it has ever been.

The breakdown of market share in percentage terms is as follows:

1. Google (67.6%)
2. Bing (19.2%)
3. Yahoo (9.8%)
4. Others (3.4%)

It’s immediately apparent that Google have a huge lead in the US market share. This has various implications for the way that businesses think about targeting search engine results.

Which Search Engines Should I be Targeting?

With figures like this it’s pretty obvious that if you’ve got limited resources then Google is the search engine worth targeting. With a huge market share and the widest range of products/services there are various benefits to be had from this approach.

It can be very helpful to prioritise one search engine because you can identify the factors that the search engine algorithm takes into consideration. Whilst there are general factors – backlinks, keywords, traffic, search engine results, relevance, pageload speed, mobile friendliness etc – there are also specific factors. With Google, for example, it makes a lot of sense to use Google+, Google Authorship and Youtube because these are all owned by Google, who want to encourage businesses and individuals to use their products.

There are, however, merits to targeting a range of search engines. The differences in algorithms can mean that Yahoo/Bing offer smaller businesses better access to competitive keywords that allow you to connect with more customers. You might also find that you get better value out of pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) that generate a higher ROI and help you to connect with more relevant traffic.

Ultimately, Search Engine Optimisation and PPC are very important components of a successful online business. Taking deliberate steps to target search engine results will help you to reach a wider audience and establish a stronger online presence. Whilst there are various ways to go about this – particularly considering Google’s dominance – the most important thing is to find a sustainable, effective solution that is right for your website.