You may have noticed we spend a lot of time mentioning Google when we talk about search engine optimization. Google rankings, google search results, google friendly pages. Maybe you are thinking, but what about Yahoo? What about MSN? Or hey, what ever happened to Ask Jeeves? Many of our clients take what we believe is the wrong approach, by trying to optimize for all of the search engines at the same timetime. Search engines are finnicky and particular, and while each claims that their search results are the most relevant and the most accurate, we know that each one has slightly different criteria for what it wants to see in a website to consider it relevant for a particular search. Things that Yahoo really likes to see can in some cases get you deranked from Google. Things that Google likes, can in some cases boot you from top positions on MSN. The overall strategy for most search engines seems to be similar in that they all like to see quality, fresh content, new links, and a clean design, however we believe many SEO experts make the mistake of haphazardly trying to please everyone when it comes to optimizing for different search engines.
So as SEO experts, what are we to do? If whats good for one is bad for the other, where do we focus our efforts? Let's share some important data that came out last last year from Hitwise.com, a research company that reports on the size and number of hits to different websites across the web.
The graph below shows the marketshare of clicks and traffic among the 4 top search engines from July 2006 - July 2008 (:
By the middle of 2008, over 70% of the searches done on the internet were performed at Google.com, followed by 18.65% at Yahoo.com, 5.36% at MSN.com, and 3.53% at Ask.com (yes, this is the former AskJeeves.com).
So, if we are going to focus our search engine optimization efforts at a specific search engine, wouldn't you like to target the one claiming over 70% of the searches on the internet? Absolutely! In most cases, the white hat SEO techniques that work for Google will also get you to the top of the search results on Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com as well. But if we are going to plan a targeted optimization blueprint, our strategy is to go after the biggest and the best, and expect that the rest will follow suit with similar rankings.
How Much is a Top Ten Ranking on Google Worth To You?