As you decide where to focus your SEO energy or paid search dollars this year, start with what you know about each of the top search engines and who is using them.
Why Yahoo appeals to the 50+ demographic:
- It’s a true, old-fashioned (in Internet years) “portal” site that is a “gateway” to all sorts of content on the web.
- As a home page, it is more “set-up” in advance for its users and doesn’t push or require customization
- People over 50 who were “leading edge” Internet users 10-15 years ago set up a Yahoo email account when Yahoo was THE dominant search engine and they still have and use that account today.
- In a 2009 study byÂ Cowan & Co, fifty-seven percent of respondents listed Yahoo Mail as the primary reason they visit the Yahoo homepage. Yahoo’s engagement with users remains high; 64% of respondents go to Yahoo.com at least once per week. In addition, Yahoo Mail is still growing (although Gmail has a much greater share of new personal email accounts).
- People over 60 are more often using the Internet for community and entertainment — they aren’tÂ using the web to “search” for data and information to support their career.
Google: a dominant “search” engine and online toolbox
- GoogleÂ is still the dominant search engine withÂ 67.3% market share in December 2009 across all demographics.
- GoogleÂ is primarily about “search”: finding the information and data one needs, often for work or career development.
- Google has dozens of customizable features and tools (iGoogle, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Reader, etc.).
- In the same 2009 study byÂ Cowan & Co cited above, they found thatÂ “Seventy-nine percent of 22- to 25-year-olds use Google as their primary search engine, compared to 63% of total respondents. Google usage is skewed toward younger demographics, high-income households, users with college and graduate degrees, and mobile Internet users.”
Bing: uncertain waters yet strong possibilities for the 50+ demographic
- According to the Cowan & Co study, Bing was chosen as a primary search engine by just 1% of 18- to 25-year-olds and 4% of 26- to 34-year-olds. Bing’s highest penetration rate is in the 55-and-over demographic at 10%.
- About 40% of respondents are not aware of the Bing brand. They are simply finding the tool because it is the default search engine in Internet Explorer which as of December 2009 is still the browser of choice (or default) of 50% of Internet surfers. Older users are much more likely to stick with the default browser than to seek out alternative software.
- Even after the huge media-blitz by Microsoft to promote Bing (spending perhaps as much as $100 million), its market share dropped in December 2009 to 9.9% from a high of 10.7% the previous month.
The question is, even if Yahoo and Bing have a smaller piece of the pie — if their user base matches your customer base, you’ll want to make sure you have a presence in their text and image indexes, directories, and perhaps even paid search. There are specific tactics you will need to take to accomplish this. Evergreen Consulting Group is ready to offer you the guidance and coaching you need – just get in touch!