Branching away from Google

By Rob Rummond on Thu 18 November 2010 in Web Analytics

This post should really be in two parts as I want to discuss two quite different things. They do, however, both relate to Yahoo!


.      Instant search is becoming the standard.

As we reported in September, Google Instant has made a big splash, and it seems the other search engines are following suit. Today, I did a search on Yahoo! for the first time in about six years. Unlike Google Instant where the results you are displayed automatically refresh as you type, Yahoo! Has introduced the “Rich Search Assistant”, which presents keyword suggestions in real time. For keyword research this can be incredibly useful, as Yahoo! presents you with both related keywords and related concepts.

Away from Yahoo!, Google has also introduced instant previews to their search results, an idea originally introduced by Bing. Select the microscope next to a result, and Google provides a small pop-up of the last cached version of the page. You can now search the internet, without wasting valuable seconds actually clicking through to a website.

Things are definitely speeding up!

2.     Are you putting all your eggs in one basket?

You might be thinking “why should I care about what Yahoo! are doing anyway?”. And depending on your market, you might be right. If you sell software or technological products for example, the majority or your target market probably use Google to find information. However, consider the following:

  • Google has approximately 70% of the search market. Leaves Yahoo! and Bing with around 30%, however when you consider the volume of searches carried out every day is still a huge number.
  • People who use Yahoo! and to a lesser extent Bing, tend demographically to be older (you know, the people with all the money?).
  • These people often use Yahoo! and Bing to find things to buy, so if you run an eCommerce site this is worth paying attention to.
  • Pay per click competition is lower than on Adwords.
  • Where possible, you want to diversify your range of traffic. So, if for whatever reason Google halves your Adwords quality score, you won’t be in as much trouble.

Also, remember that Yahoo! And Bing are merging their search products into a single interface (next year, in the UK at least Microsoft Adcenter will place ads on both Yahoo! and Bing. This process has already begun in the US).

Potentially there’s cheap traffic on the table, and it’s up to you to test whether you can make it work for your business.