Learn about the Search Engines
What’s the best way to optimize your website?
Our clients ask us about the best optimization strategies for various search engines, and because it all depends on your business, your goals and your target audience, we’ve put together a guide to help you learn more about each search engine and whether optimizing for one over the other really matters.
Learn About the Search Engines with Gainesville Marketing
There are hundreds of search engines available on the Internet, but the big three in the United States are Google, Bing and Yahoo. These three have dominated the market, attracting the most users, and therefore they are the search engines for which the majority of businesses optimize. While search engines like Ask and AOL are used everyday in the United States, and foreign-based search engines like Baidu are increasingly popular on a global level, we’re going to explore the three major search engines in the United States and help you decide how to best optimize your website’s content.
Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo … What’s the Difference?
The majority of the U.S. desktop search engine market share is divided between (in order) Google, Bing and Yahoo. On a global level, these three still rank in the top four, with Baidu emerging in the second place slot. But here in the United States, businesses want to know if there’s a difference between these search engines and for which search engine is worth optimizing their content.
Yahoo used to be the leading search engine in the United States, dominating each and every start-up (and there were a lot) in the 1990s and early 2000s. But when Google was released in 2004, Yahoo quickly fell by the wayside. Ever determined, Yahoo did improve its services while branching out into an email and news provider, but it hasn’t been enough to keep Yahoo even in the No. 2 spot. Since then, Microsoft has purchased Yahoo, and Yahoo remains steady in third place in the U.S. search engine market share, so the company might be down, but its not out.
An optimization strategy for Bing focuses around keywords, meta tags, title tags and image tags. It’s true that Bing has a much better system for crawling and indexing images, but there are so few users turning to Bing on a daily basis that only optimizing for Bing can be disastrous for your business.
By now, everyone has heard of Google. It’s the most-used search engine on desktops and mobile devices in the United States and worldwide. Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches every day, so if you aren’t optimizing your website content for Google, you should be. Even if your target audience uses Bing or Yahoo the most, you cannot ignore Google and still hope to grow your business in the future. It’s best to acknowledge that Google isn’t going anywhere soon and figure out how to use it to the advantage of your business.
Thankfully, there are plenty of resources where you can find the best ways to optimize for Google. At Gainesville Marketing, we recommend each of our clients optimize their websites to rank on Google’s SERPs, and as Gainesville’s leading Internet marketing company, we know exactly how to help you rank.
So what does Google look for when ranking websites? Its algorithms are constantly updated, and Google has published lists of tips and tools businesses can utilize. But overall, Google tends to promote content that is well-written, that also provides valuable information to the reader, which is presented on high-functioning websites. Keywords, keyphrases, meta tags, a network of backlinks and White Hat SEO practices are all involved in Google’s ranking process. If you’re thinking of generating clicks through shortcuts like hidden doorways or page swapping, we don’t recommend trying it with Google. Websites that are hit with heavy penalties can wallow at the bottom of the rankings for quite a long time, even after fixing their faults.
How Should I Optimize My Website?
At Gainesville Marketing, we recommend optimizing your web content to suit your target audience. However, you shouldn’t ignore Google completely. There are a lot of statistics you should uncover before definitively choosing one search engine over another.
Things to consider before you optimize:
- Is your target audience local, national or global?
- Do you users search more on desktops or mobile devices?
- Does your website have more text-based content or image-based content?
- The majority of Yahoo and Bing users are male and older than 45.
- The majority of Google users are female and younger than 45.
- More Google users search on a Mac.
- More smartphone users search with Google.
As you can see, there’s just no escaping Google’s market share. But let’s say your target audience is comprised of male users over the age of 45 who search on a desktop. In that scenario, it might be better to optimize for Bing due to the demographics. If we switch it up and say that your target audience is male, over the age of 45 but searches via mobile devices, then Yahoo is a better choice. (However, since Yahoo is powered by Bing, optimizing for one means you’re optimizing for the other.)
Here’s the bottom line …
We at Gainesville Marketing recommend optimizing for Google. Why? Because when you rank well on Google’s SERPs, it’s because you have a quality website. Your users will recognize that fact, and when the other search engines catch up to Google’s standards, your site will rank well there, too. Google ranks websites based on what is best for the user, and we optimize websites based on what is best for your business, your audience and your search engine of choice. When that choice is Google, there’s nothing to hold your website back.