Google has long been the top dog when it comes to online search and that really is the very definition of ‘old news’. However it may just be the case that Google is finally going to see some competition from some other search engines according to recent statistics.
At the moment Google looks as though it doesn’t have anything to fear in terms of raw traffic data and it still accounts for by far the lion’s share of the market (the lion’s market share?) with an impressive 65.09% of all search traffic compared to Yahoo! which is in at number two with 15.89% and Bing close behind with 13.10%. All other search engines – presumably things like Ask – account for only 5.92% in total.
The Shape of Things to Come
However while this appears to paint a very good picture for Google at first glance, closer inspection uncovers some less comfortable truths for the giant of search. For instance 2011 actually saw a 1% drop in market share for Google between July 2011 and August 2011 – which is compared to rises for all the other search engines.
There are a lot of engines which are ‘powered’ by Bing, and in a similar strategy to its approach to operating systems, Microsoft seems to be ‘leasing out’ its search software to all and sundry. This has helped them to see an increase in market share across all forms of search for the engine. Yahoo has declined over the last year, however market projections are expecting that both search engines will increase their market share by around 4-5% over the next year. Over a few years this could very possibly see them starting to bite at Google’s heels.
It’s Bing however that many people have their eye on, with it being relatively new and with the huge power of Microsft behind it we could see Microsoft starting to muscle in on the search game in much the same way that they managed to steel some of the limelight from Sony in the last ‘console war’. In terms of sheer numbers Microsoft wins hands down with a staff of around 90,000 compared to Google’s 29,000 (of course not all of those 90,000 will be involved in Bing at all).
Of course anyone who has played the stock market will know that numbers don’t tell the whole story, and that it can come down to a number of factors. Of course one of the big deciding factors will be how Google decides to act from this point. If Google now goes ahead and makes lots of positive changes to stay relevant then it could get out of this apparent ‘slump’ and back on the up. However while Google has indeed been very busy making changes, it is hard to know whether these are all likely to be popular changes. There is a very real possibility that Google’s plans to start showing real time data on its results pages could be a turn off for visitors who are just looking for organic search results, and its integration of search and Google+ has met some negative feedback too.
Only time will tell what happens to Google, but the one thing we can say is that nothing is ever certain and that there is a very real possibility that Bing could at least give Google a run for its money over the next couple of years. As a webmaster this might mean good news for you too if it means you no longer have to cater to Google’s every demand. In fact it might even make sense to be proactive in helping give the other search engines some love.