Why bother using search engines for your internet marketing? Because search engines represent the single most important source of new website visitors.
You may have heard in the past that most website visits begin at a search engine. Well, this isn’t quite true, though many people and SEO experts continue to use these outdated statistics because they sound good — “80 percent of all website visitors reach the site through a search engine,” for instance. However, way back in 2003, that claim was finally put to history. The number of search-originated site visits dropped below the 50 percent mark. Most website visitors reach their web destinations by either typing a URL (a Web address) into their browsers and going there directly (direct traffic) or by clicking a link on another site that takes them there (referring traffic). Most visitors don’t reach their web destinations by starting at the Google or some other search engine. And yes, that is fact.
However, search engines are still extremely important for a number of reasons:
Here’s an example. One company from US, selling construction equipment to the tune of $10,000 a month, rebuilt its site and began a combined natural-search and paid-search campaign, boosting sales to around $500,000 a month in less than two years. It’s hard to imagine how they could have grown their company, with relatively little investment, so quickly without the search engines!
You can search for websites at many places. Literally thousands of different internet search providers, in fact, provide the ability to search the Web (Yandex, Baidu, Blekko, DuckDuckGo…)
However, most searches are carried out at a small number of search sites. How do the world’s most popular search sites rank? That depends on how you measure popularity:
Each measurement provides a slightly different ranking. Although all provide a similar picture with the same sites generally appearing on the list, some search sites are in slightly different positions.
The following list of search sites shows the United States’ top general search sites early in 2015, according to comScore:
Also, according to comScore worldwide results from 2012 were like the list below :
Remember that this is a list of search sites, not search engines. In fact, the previous lists shows groups of sites — the Microsoft entry, for instance, includes searches on Bing.com and MSN.com.
In some cases, the sites own their own engines. Google provides its own search results, for instance, but AOL doesn’t (AOL gets its results from Google.). Yahoo! gets its results from Bing, thanks to a Yahoo!/Microsoft partnership — known as the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance — that was implemented in August 2010. ( It’s been reported that Yahoo! wants out of the agreement—so it can go back to using Google search results —but can’t figure out how to break the 10-year contract with Microsoft.)
The fact that some sites get results from other search engines means two things:
Now reexamine the preceding list of the U.S.’s most important search sites and see what you can remove to get closer to a list of sites you care about.
|Google.com||Yes||The big kid on the block. Lots of people search the Google index on its own search site, and it feeds many sites. Obviously, Google has to stay on the list.|
|Bing||Yes||Bing creates its own index, gets many searches, and feeds data to Yahoo!. So Bing is critical.|
|Yahoo.com||No||Yahoo! is obviously a large, important site, but it gets its search results from Bing, so as long as you’re in the Bing index, you’re in Yahoo!.|
|Ask.com||Yes||It has its own search engine and feeds some other systems — MyWay, Lycos, and Excite. Keep it in mind, though it’s small and relatively unimportant compared to Google and Bing.|
|AOL.com||No||AOL gets search results from Google.|
Based on the information in Table above, you can whittle down your list of systems to top search engines: Google, Bing, and Ask. The top two search engines are very important, accounting for 95 percent or more of all search results, with a small follower, Ask, which provides results to many smaller search sites. On average, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which is over 3.5 billion searches per day.
That’s not so bad, is it? You’ve just gone from thousands of sites to three, and only the top two are critical. (The only reason Ask.com gets included on such lists is that even though it has a tiny share of the search market, there’s nothing below it on the list that comes close.)
Now, some of you may be thinking, “Aren’t you missing some sites? What happened to HotBot, Mamma.com, WebCrawler, Lycos, and all the other systems that were so well known a few years ago?” A lot of them have disappeared or have turned over a new leaf and are pursuing other opportunities.
For example, Northern Light, a system well known in the late 1990s, now sells search software. And in the cases in which the search sites are still running, they’re generally fed by other search systems. WebCrawler, for instance, gets search results from Google and Yahoo!, which means, in effect, from Google and Bing.
AltaVista, the Web’s first big search index, has been owned by Yahoo! for years, but now the domain merely redirects to Yahoo.com. The same goes for AllTheWeb (for the geeks among you who remember it) — another domain redirect to Yahoo.com. If the search site you remember isn’t mentioned here, it’s either out of business, being fed by someone else, or simply not important in the big scheme of things.
When you find a new search engine, look carefully on the page near the search box, or on the search results page — perhaps at the bottom of the page in the copyright message — and you may find where the search results are coming from.
Google alone provides almost 70 percent of all search results. Get your site into both Google and Bing , and you’re in front of probably around 99 percent of all searchers. Well, perhaps you’re in front of them. You have a chance of being in front of them, anyway, if your site ranks highly.
So, if you trying to improve your organic rankings and get more traffic/sales from the search engines, these three (Google, Bing, and Ask) are the ones that everyone should pay attention. Is it worth your time trying to rank above the fold? Definitely YES! And what is the best and most popular search engine in the World? Definitely Google!
Post is based on one part of “SEO for Dummies” book (2016), author: Peter Kent. Published by: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ.