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12th May 2010
By Iain

I think it’s about time for a Bing update. It’s now a year since Microsoft’s ‘decision engine’ was launched, and the last few months have seen a huge marketing push.

The chances are you’ve seen one of the TV ads, which focus on reducing the information overload users can experience at the hands of other search engines. Which is all very well, but can Bing deliver on its promises, and what are the consequences of this latest push for an online marketing agency like us?

The obvious outcome is that the cost of search engine marketing could potentially come down. As Bing fights to eat into Google’s market share, the increased competition between Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter is good news for search engine marketers.

One would also expect this battle for search dominance to drive improvements and innovation across the board, which can only benefit online marketing agencies and users alike. Recent Google innovations include placing more importance on the load speed when ranking pages, and the ongoing Google Squared project – intended to organise information related to the search term logically and quickly.

I’ve also noticed several changes to the Google interface over the last couple of weeks including going (even more) minimalistic for a while by removing the links across the top of the page including Gmail, shopping and news. These changes, both large and small, are a clear indication that the market leader is not going to let Bing’s advance go unnoticed.

Bing’s market share continues to creep up

The polls show Bing’s market share is growing; ComScore’s most recent survey gives Bing a market share of 11.5% compared to Google’s 65.5%. But can this growth be sustained? I used Bing frequently back when it was launched, and have had another look recently after seeing the TV ads, but this was out of curiosity rather than because I’ve decided it’s the best search engine. If I used it out of curiosity then surely others did too and, like me, may revert to the comfort of Google.

It’s been said, but for me it comes down to familiarity and speed and, as I’m familiar with Google’s offering, I get what I’m looking for more quickly. To break this cycle, Bing must strive to exceed Google’s engine rather than just match it.

Search on the move – the latest battleground

The forthcoming launch of the Windows Phone 7, with its dedicated Bing search button, can only bolster Bing’s growth. However, the popularity of the Windows phone is unlikely to rival that of the iPhone (which uses Google as its default search engine), particularly with the hype already surrounding the launch of the iPhone 4G. Add to this the fact that Google is the standard engine on the iPad, and it’s evident that gaining the upper hand in mobile search is going to be tricky.

Online marketing agencies require search engines to deliver lots of relevant traffic as cheaply as possible. Whether Bing will ever dethrone Google in this respect is yet to be seen, but the ongoing competition is good news for the world of search engine marketing, and we should take advantage of the benefits wherever possible.

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