Search Volumes in the UK: Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo!

Search Volumes in the UK: Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo!

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), running a successful campaign means gaining a firm understanding of your audience and how internet users interact with search engines. Search engine statistics are a vital part of any SEO strategy and will give you a clear picture of which search engines are the most popular and where your target demographic lies.

The Big Three

There are literally hundreds of search engines that are currently active on the web; however, from an SEO perspective, only three of these really matter: Google, Bing, and Yahoo! According to recent data from digital research provider StatCounter, the so-called ‘big three’ account for a massive 98.72 percent of the search market in the UK; however, a closer look at the stats reveals that one of these search engines is utterly dominant.

It will not come as any surprise to hear that Google is the most widely used search engine in the UK. The bulk of Google’s search engine market share currently stands at just over 90 percent, leaving Bing and Yahoo trailing behind with 5.7 percent and 2.65 percent of the market respectively.

Google’s use of clever algorithms, intuitive search operators, and PPC ad program AdWords – the largest advertising product of its kind – have proven a winning formula for Google and helped propel the Mountain View California-based company to the top.

While Google has been consistently on the up for the past decade, the once all-conquering Yahoo! has found itself going in the opposite direction. Once, the market leader in the late 1990s, Yahoo! has been in steady decline since the turn of the millennium and has even resorted to teaming up with Bing.

Microsoft has seen Bing grow steadily since it succeeded MSN Search in 2009, although growth in the UK market has not been as prosperous as it has in the US, where the search engine boasts 17 percent of the market.

Given the fact that 9 out of 10 searches in the UK are made on Google, it makes sense that any SEO campaign be focussed primarily to this site. However, other search engines should not be discounted, especially if you have a specific target market.

Search habits

According to Google’s own search habits, it showed that entertainment (23%) and retail (21%) were the most searched in 2012. When broken down, TV, film, and music proved the most popular entertainment sub-categories, with fashion dominating retail search. These search habits would indicate that Google is favoured by the young adult demographic; and that theory is given further weight by ‘Facebook’ and ‘YouTube’ – two sites that are mostly used by adults aged 18-29 – being the most searched terms on the search engine.

The list of most searched terms on Yahoo! in the UK during 2012, though, tell a different story, with ‘stock prices,’ ‘lottery,’ and ‘weather’ making up the top three. ‘TV listings, and ‘Horoscopes’ also featured in the top 10, as did television shows ‘This Morning’ and ‘Daybreak.’ It would seem from these findings that adults between the ages of 30-49 and 50+ are using Yahoo! regularly.

Like Google, Bing’s search breakdown is dominated by entertainment and retail, as well as technology and celebrity – subjects that attract a young adult audience.

When it comes to the percentage of clicks sending traffic to transactional websites, data from Experian reveals that it is actually Yahoo! that comes out on top with 35.5 percent, followed by Bing (34.9%) and Google (32.8%). This is something bear in mind for e-commerce providers.

While Google is the undisputed king, it is important to tailor campaigns to get the best out of each of the major search engines and this is where the stats are worth their weight in gold.

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