The Search Engines

In the world of SEO there are really only two search engines — Google and Bing. Marketplace reports (like Comscore) usually give Google a 70% market share in the US and well over 90% in Europe and South America. Microsoft’s search engine Bing also powers Yahoo search results and those two make up the most of the remaining market share.

It’s worth noting, however, that of the hundreds of sites I’ve worked on I’ve never seen one in which Google was only 70% of organic traffic. For most sites Google is more like 80%+, and the dozens of other SEOs I talk with report the same thing.

For most of the world Google owns the monopoly on web search. The only real exceptions are Russia where Yandex leads, and in China where the government-backed Baidu is kept the number one search engine (after a long and painful time trying to serve China and even agreeing to censor results, Google finally pulled out after it uncovered evidence that the Chinese government hacked into Gmail).

All search engines work fundamentally the same way, and weigh the same ranking factors. Due to its market dominance, we optimize our sites for Google. However, a site that is well-optimized for Google is going to be pretty well optimized for all search engines. From my observations, the main difference between search engines seems to be their methods of eliminating spam from results, and slightly different weighting of ranking factors (for example, it’s easier to manipulate Bing with artificial anchor text links, where that would likely get your site penalized in Google).

Google also appears to be leaning more heavily on user metrics to influence their rankings in recent years.

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