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Search Engine Optimisation – Which search engines to target globally and locally?

GYM: The Big Three

To be physically fit and attractive we go to the gym. For web-businesses to be financially fit, marketers need to go to the GYM also: Google (G), Yahoo (Y), and MSN (M) are the big 3 search engines and they account for more than 90% of all web-searches in Australia.

Global & Australia Search Engine Market Share

According to the latest findings by leading International search analysts Marketing Sherpa about 97% of all Internet users use the big 3 search engines when searching. This report shows the global market share of the “Big three search engines us 65% Google, Yahoo!7 17% and NineMSN 15% Market Share.  In Australia, Hitwise reports Google has over 90% market share.

A search engine’s goal is to provide most relevant results to the web-searchers. How they accomplish this and what factors they leverage are a closely guarded secret. SEO experts, by continuously trying different techniques, routinely figure out these secret recipes. As search engines keep changing their search algorithms, SEO experts consistently track changing trends and devise new strategies to keep ahead in search engine results.

For all web business owners it is important to achieve and maintain better organic/natural search page results on all these engines. However marketers need to remember that the format, structure and the search engine algorithms of all three search engines are a bit different from each other. Hence we need to understand how each search engine’s search spider’s algorithms differ and thereby develop effective internet marketing strategies that effectively leverage their differences and similarities. 

GYM: The Major differences

Google’s Algorithm: This unique Google algorithm comes into play when its spiders crawl your website. These spiders are known to heavily weight the age of your site, its theme, quality of its links and keyword density on web pages amongst hundreds of other factors. Google is also known to penalise sites that indulge in keyword spamming / duplicate content.

For sustainable results its important for all websites to adhere to the Google webmaster guidleines because more times than not its spiders are smarter and more experienced than you are. The demographics of Google users cater to the serious searchers, advanced users and wealthy web surfers.

AdWords is the pay per click (PPC) advertisement system used by Google. Users can specify the maximum price per click they want to pay for each keyword and therefore create a maximum daily budget. In determining the bid price, Google also weighs a website’s quality score and Ad Score, and those campaigns of Advertisers with a higher quality score/Ad Score may pay a lower cost per click.

Yahoo!7 Algorithm:

This is in some ways less advanced than Google. Yahoo!7 is said to still give importance to off-topic links within websites. Google gives a negative ranking to such a tactic. Yahoo!7 also offers a paid inclusion program, where marketers can submit or optimise their data feeds to appear in natural/organic results for a predetermined price per click. New commercial sites can easily leverage this to appear high organically. Yahoo has a wealth of content, so they could be giving more weight to e-commerce stores, rather than content sites. Yahoo!7 is known to place a great deal of weight on such common key-phrases like ‘how to’. Unlike Google, Yahoo!7 does not place as much weight on the age of a web site, so newer sites could do better in Yahoo search results. Yahoo!7’s Demographics: Predominantly older people and popular among popular for shopping categories.

For pay per click Yahoo!7 utiliaes Yahoo Search Marketing for its PPC program and users can specify a daily budget and a maximum cost per click. This Search Marketing platform also considers a website’s click through-rate when they rank an advertisement.

NineMSN Algorithm: MSN is new to search engine marketing and has names its search engine Live.com and Live.com.au. It has a difficult time determining if a website’s links are relevant to its topic and also determining its authenticity. NineMSN places a great deal of emphasis on the content of the webpage and appears to weigh commercial sites more heavily than normal content sites. Thus newer websites that haven’t risen yet on Google and Yahoo have been known to enjoy high rankings on MSN quickly. However, MSN results are known to change rapidly as they constantly update their algorithm.

MSN may also give more weight to webpage titles and its content. It is known to process search queries better than Yahoo!7 by taking into account the theme of the website. MSN doesn’t seem to give more weight to websites that have been in existence for a longer period. NineMSN Demographics: Older people and experienced users like to use NineMSN for their shopping-related searches. NineMSN PPC programme in Australia currently uses Yahoo Search Marketing.

Conclusion

As GoogleAustralia leads in the search engine market share and its search page listing SEO criteria is the most stringent, it pays to follow its changing algorithm rules as they generally help in increasing page ranking of the other search engines too. All the three search engines display local Australian content webpages for specific queries, hence it is a smart strategy to add local content for higher listings in relevant Australia content searches e.g. restaurant websites could list their location such as Melbourne in all webpages.

Web marketers need to use the free GoogleAustralia analytics facility to track web-traffic trends and modify content and their location according to their evolving popularity and usage of their targeted web-audience. roi.com.au’s SEO experts regularly track the changing techniques of these search engine spiders. We can study your business model, demographics, prioritise your business goals and proactively address web-traffic trends to deliver better ROI on your web investment and your Internet advertising dollars.