Hitwise have released the latest stats on search share in the UK and US – and the results throw up a few surprises. In the UK, Google continued to hold over 90% of the market with a small but steady increase since March 2012. In the US, a different story, as Bing continue to make inroads into the share of the all-powerful Google, increasing by 7% since the same time in 2011. Bing-powered search as a whole was up 5%.
Is this simply a reflection of the American market succumbing to Bing’s flashy advertising? After so many years in the consumer wilderness, is Microsoft cool again? Or are there other forces at play?
Further US figures outlined by Hitwise could provide the answer. An analysis of clicks by keyword shows shorter search queries (1 to 4 words) comprise over 80% of all searches, and that 1 word search queries alone account for nearly 30%, a 19% year-on-year increase. This may reflect developments from the search engines in launching automated search features, such as Google Instant and Bing Autosuggest. I think it means that the search engines have made progress towards their goal: to assist searchers with finding what they need, faster.
What does this mean for search marketing?
- The focus must shift to how consumers start their searches – that first keyword is more important than ever. This will naturally support bigger brands over those trying to break into the space, and new entries will have to work harder to find their niche. It means that those high volume golden keywords are more competitive than ever, and the latest Google Penguin update means that you cannot simply build links with exact match anchor text repeatedly.
- The long-tail may be down but it isn’t out and it is an area that new brands can exploit. Smart content-led strategies are essential to tap into keywords within shorter searches and search marketers will need to draw upon experience and creativity to make the most of the changing landscape.
- If you are working in digital marketing in the US, and have ignored Bing and its smaller cousins in recent years, you may wish to rethink your plans. As for the UK market, will recent Bing updates provide the catalyst that will kickstart their quest to be king?
I quite like Don Drapers‘ recently aired attitude to dominance in the market, which he almost shouted to a potential client. Certainly words that will strike a chord with many business owners:
“I won’t settle for 50 percent of anything, You don’t want most of it, you want all of it, and I won’t stop until you get all of it.”
Will adopting Don Drapers’ Mantra help Bing to succeed? Only time will tell.