Is Google Still the King of Search?

Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals and Internet marketers pay close attention to search engine market share data reports, which are updated on a weekly and monthly basis. Search engine giant Google has been able to retain the lion’s share of the market since the early 21st century, but it is interesting to note that this dominance has been gradually eroding over the last few years.

According to recent reports by analytics industry giant comScore, Google currently enjoys 67 percent of the global search engine market. This percentage is often challenged by SEO professionals who remark that up to 85 percent of traffic to their websites comes from Google. In other words, many digital marketers believe that Google’s market dominance is often underestimated.

Organic Vs. Paid Search

The search engine market share report compiled by comScore focuses on organic search, which means that the websites listed on a search engine results page (SERP) appear therein based on the relevance of their content. Organic search is the most important factor in SEO analytics, followed by paid search results.

Major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo earn revenue from paid search results, which are essentially advertising. For example, an auto repair shop in Cincinnati can pay for its website to be displayed at the top of the SERP whenever someone searches for “car mechanics in Cincinatti.” Some industry analysts believe that paid search results are just as effective in terms of driving traffic as their organic counterparts.

As expected, Google is also the king of paid search results, but the throne is being challenged from many angles. The main challenger is Microsoft through its Bing search applications, which also happens to provide search results to Yahoo. Consequently, the combined market share of these two search engines is 29 percent. Business owners interested in SEO marketing should not ignore this figure; in fact, some businesses have found marketing success on Bing alone. To ignore Microsoft’s search efforts would be to dismiss nearly 30 percent of the market.

A recent report published by online magazine Advertising Age indicates that Google’s market share on mobile search will fall to 64 percent in the next few years. Smartphone and tablet users are actually turning to mobile apps and social networks to find what they are looking for, and many of them are interested in what apps by Bing and Yelp can offer them on the go.

The bottom line is: Business owners should not ignore Google when investing in SEO, but they should not ignore its competitors either.