With some lower traffic smaller sites it is easy to get outlier data that is skewed & somewhat irrelevant (especially true if you have a website which happens to have relevant content in a category that Ask is spamming the heck out of Google in), but one nice thing about comparing Yahoo! and Bing against each other is that they are generally driven by the same relevancy algorithm. Of course Yahoo! and Bing may have different promotions added to their interfaces for certain query types, but if you take websites that are ranking for a wide basket of keywords you can generally see how the search engines are doing against each other at driving traffic.
Some categories (think mom from the mid-west who is a casual internet user) might have a bias toward using Yahoo! Search, but outside of areas where you might expect that sort of skew, I am seeing Bing drive more organic search traffic than Yahoo! is. Here are analytics images from 3 different websites so far this month that get quite a significant search traffic stream. These sites target different demographics from people in their 20's to 30's to 40's. And all 3 of them are getting more search visits from Bing than Yahoo! Search. And, looking at the data, this shift has been fairly significant over the past couple months.
This site gets tons of longtail traffic & ranks across a wide array of keyword.
This site is primarily driven by a few popular keywords & ranks #1 in both Bing and Google for them.
The reason this 3rd one is so Google heavy is because the Google algorithm likes the older site more & it does not have as many fresh links (which Bing seems to like more). It is primarily focused on a few core keywords where it ranks #1 to #3 in Google and #4 to #7 in Bing.
I suspect that Bing is still somewhat more selective with showing search ads than Yahoo! is (as Microsoft's online operation has been losing billions of Dollars per year & Bing is trying to win marketshare from Google, whereas Yahoo! is all about maximizing revenues per search). Yahoo! ads likely get a greater portion of the search clicks due to...
- ads being shown more frequently & more aggressively
- ads taking up more visual space (when Bing puts 4 ads above the organic results they put the URL and the description on the same line, whereas Yahoo! spreads them out across multiple lines)
Since Bing is sending more searchers onto the organic search results it means their real search share is over-represented if you look only at organic search visitors, but then as an SEO that is the main thing you are looking for - opportunity. It is a bit of a shame that on the above sites Google is still driving ~ 84% of search visitors, whereas Bing is still in the 16% range.
As Google comes over the top to bury the organic results by...
- expanding the default AdWords ad units to have longer headlines and a boatload of extensions
- entering broad consumer verticals like books and finance and offering customized local results
- running self serving ads in a bunch of categories like project management and even wedding planning
...they kill a lot of opportunity as their ecosystem becomes more closed and perverted.
If the trends hold true, then in some cases it seems like Google might drive SEOs below the fold for core keywords while still pushing strong traffic into tail. Bing still doesn't have the index depth to match Google's relevancy on longtail keywords, but at least they are not crowding out the organic results anywhere near as aggressively on core keywords.
How are you seeing Bing fare against Yahoo! & Google? Are you seeing growth from Bing? What sorts of sites are you seeing Bing do well on & what sorts of sites are you seeing Bing do poorly on?
Update: It appears this sharp increase in Bing traffic over the past month has been driven by a partnership with Conduit.
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