Guest comment: Is Microsoft’s Bing a Google killer?
- Jun 09, 2009
Microsoft recently launched its new search engine to rival that of Google, aimed at making the search experience more intuitive and quicker. Neil Jackson, Director of Search at Tamar, offers his thoughts on the impact of Bing on consumers, brands and to its rival, Google.
Will these changes work in gaining search market share for MS, should Google be worried or are its competitors just playing catch-up?
Despite the many changes made to Bing, the immediate impact on market share is likely to be minimal. Perhaps the first place Microsoft should look is internally as it is thought that over 4 out of 5 searches with Microsoft employees are conducted using Google.
With Yahoo! having declared war on the ’10 blue links’ and ‘Bing’ having moved to a more object driven results page, this leaves Google playing catch up delivering what users want from their search engines– or does it? Google have been investing in Universal (Video/News/Blogs/Image) search for the last three years and this is now rolled out on more than one in four searches. And as their changes at Searchology 2009 showed, this is going to increase in frequency as well as dominating more of the real estate for every search requested.
Do consumers actually want/use these advanced features?
Many people will be happy as things stand. Having easy access to a set of ordered results, of usually good quality, at least from Google, satisfies a majority of requests. Offering more search results or suggestions may not actually make searching easier for all users.
While it should be the role of the search engines to innovate and improve the experience perhaps the main difficulty for all search engines is to populate the results from a wide range of channels while at the same time to keep the results page as clean as possible. Simplicity has served Google well and while additional choice is good, it is not what everyone wants or expects, at least in the short term.
What are the SEO implications for brands as all major search engines become more feature rich?
For companies and agencies involved in SEO the challenge is to make sure that the channels feeding the search engines are populated with the right sort of information for the users. Do they have video, image or customer review content published online?
Engaging with new technologies and surrendering some level of control on ‘brand’ has always been a hard sell, particularly to more ‘conservative’ companies. This is now going to become a ‘must do’, as if you are not you are going to fall behind and fall quickly.
Tamar (www.tamar.com) is a search conversion agency that specialises in driving search traffic to web sites and converting more visitors into customers. Tamar’s approach is to use its 12 years of online expertise and experience and combine this with clients’ customer intelligence to maximise client revenues. Tamar specialises in working with major financial services, travel and retail brands. Its extensive, high-profile client base includes Arcadia, the AA and Natwest