Just as the debate between tech pundits was heating up regarding whether or not Microsoft should sell Bing, the most recent Experian Hitwise Search Engine Analysis report for July revealed that Bing and Yahoo search results have a substantially higher success rate than Google. The respected online competitive intelligence service defines success as a user clicking at least one link on the search results page, and this data should give online advertisers and marketing firms reason for pause: 68% of Google searches were “successful,” as opposed to 80% on Bing and 81% on Yahoo.
This isn’t a fluke either, as Bing and Yahoo have been rated higher for three straight months now. This new development only compounds the effect of Bing’s slow but steady climb up the market share mountain, and while Google still has that on lock-down (66% in July), Bing and Yahoo combined for 43% – hardly a number to ignore.
What does this change? For one, it makes it blatantly clear that companies neglecting search campaigns on Bing are missing a huge opportunity for potential revenue. Though Bing still lags in volume, it is making huge strides in the quality of its searches. Businesses are happy to hear this news, as any meaningful competition with Google is beneficial to them and drives down their advertising costs. Better still, they now know that they have a viable alternative that can deliver even more relevant traffic than before.
Microsoft may use the news as leverage to finally sell Bing for a better price, but whatever the final decision, it has to be some form of vindication for their online services unit. Just recently, a NY Times business column labelled Bing a “distraction” for Microsoft. Published before the Experian report, it now appears that Bing is a big distraction for Google.