What’s really amazing about the search engine industry is that it’s constantly changing. Site owners who rely on search engines for marketing are not always happy about that since it can take a significant amount of time to keep up with what’s current. Of course, that’s why some companies hire search engine optimization companies or consultants.
Not every business is in the position to hire an outside resource, so hopefully this post will shed some light on which algorithmic search engines are the most important.
One of the first things search marketers consider is market share. Based on share of search queries, the following list breaks out the top search engines according to Comscore:
Google – 36.4%
Yahoo – 30.6%
MSN – 16.5%
AOL – 8.9%
Ask Jeeves – 5.5%
Not included in this list is Gigablast, which is an up and coming algorithmic search engine. Also, it should be noted that AOL is the only search engine on this list that does not have it’s own search engine. They “lease” their search results from Google.
According to a recent Dogpile study on the 3 major search engines, there is only 3% crossover. That means only about 3% of the time will you be able to perform a search on Google, Yahoo and MSN and get the same search results.
What does that mean for site optimization efforts? Do you need to “optimize” your site for each search engine independently? The good news is that best practices site optimization will be effective for all search engines.
Fundamental components for great rankings on any of the major algorithmic search engines include:
– Keyword and content planning
– Site is easy to spider/index
– Fresh, quality, organized content
– Patience & persistence
This is no comprehensive list and there’s certainly more to each, but a focus on these fundamentals can yield results on each major search engine. As you become more sophisticated with your search engine optimization efforts you can drill down into the details and fine tune your tactics.