Over the last few months I've become a convert to Google. I've always used Google as my primary search engine but only recently have I started using a few other Google products such as Gmail, calendar and documents. I'm a fan.
But when it comes to search, I'm fed up with Google's dominance. We could use a little competition in search.
Of course, it's really not Google's fault that they run between 50-70% market share, depending on who you ask. It's really the fault of all of us searchers. We use Google because we like the results. We don't use Yahoo or MSN because for whatever reason we feel the results are inferior.
Google got to where it is because it earned it. None of the other engines seem to be able to dent that and are losing market share to Google each month. However, I'd be surprised if anybody would notice if Google's results were swapped with MSN's for a week. Psychologically I feel that I'll get better results from Google, but I don't know if its true or not because I really don't use any other engine frequently enough. Heck, even using Google I often don't find what I'm looking for anyway.
While each engine has to do it's part to find ways to produce better search results, what makes any search engine competitive is the user. As long as users don't feel the need to switch to Yahoo or MSN, Google will always dominate. I have some problems with that as a searcher and as a business that makes a living by being found in the search results.
Cons of having one dominant search engine
Pro's of having multiple dominant search engines
Of course there are also drawbacks to having multiple competitive engines as well:
Personally, I believe that the more competing search engines there are, the better we'll all be. But because Google is so entrenched as the dominant engine its going to take more than another engine simply being as good as Google. I think that some of other engines have surpassed Google in some key areas, such as user experience, quality of results, result segmentation, but none have beat Google in all areas simultaneously. And it's not been enough to attract an growing audience. It'll come down to the average searcher to start using other engines for their web searches.
If you're a searcher, you have to ask yourself if you really do get superior results from Google or if you just think you do. Even if you do, are the results on the other engines that much inferior that you can't find what you want?
If you're a business owner you need to think about what you can do to increase your competitive arena. If you already achieved top spots in Google or not, start to transfer some market share to Yahoo or MSN and soon others will follow. And as they do you are opening up new opportunities to compete and drive traffic to your site.
This next year I'm replacing Google as my default search engine. I may use MSN or Yahoo or perhaps both, depending on the circumstances. If I go to Google it'll only as a last resort, if the other engines don't give me what I'm looking for. I'm willing to bet that will happen far less than I suspect. Not only that it will show me that there is life beyond Google. And maybe, just maybe, we can start seeing some competition in search start to happen.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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