August 18, 2010, 3:52 PM

Google dominates, but Bing gains on Yahoo

Bing catches on as the prime alternative search engine, according to the Search Marketing Guide.

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Google Inc. still dominates paid search marketing among top retailers, but Microsoft Corp.’s Bing outscored Yahoo Inc.’s search engine for the top five retailers in Internet Retailer’s just-published Search Marketing Guide.

Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, was rated No. 1 among the top 250 retailers in paid search in the 2011 Search Marketing Guide. Amazon’s paid search traffic came largely from Google (75.4%) in December 2009, but 9.5% came from Bing compared with 4.4% from Yahoo. Another 10.7% of paid traffic came from smaller search engines, which could include Ask.com and Dogpile, according to research compiled by Experian Hitwise for the Search Marketing Guide.

The rest of the top five retailers’ paid search engine share:

  • Lowe’s Cos. Inc. – Google 80.8%, Bing 9.8%, Yahoo 6.4% and Other 3%.
  • Sears Holdings Corp. – Google 81.7%, Bing 10.9%, Yahoo 3.9% and Other 3.4%.
  • Target Corp. – Google 75.1%, Bing 3.9%, Yahoo 3.7% and Other 17.3%.
  • The Home Depot Inc. – Google 81.4%, Bing 5.6%, Yahoo 8.9% and Other 4%.

Retailers should continue to take advantage of Google’s weighty presence as the top search engine, but there could be opportunities with Bing and Yahoo, says Heather Dougherty, research director for Experian Hitwise. “Because of Google’s sheer size, a good share of retailers’ resources should be going there, but they shouldn’t ignore the others,” she says.

For example, Bing is marketing its services heavily to consumers, including on television with programs such as Bravo Network’s The Rachel Zoe Project, and retailers can gain exposure on Bing’s search engine as it becomes better known, Dougherty says. Yahoo also has other popular properties, including its e-mail services, which continue to deliver visitors, she says.

When Bing becomes Yahoo’s search engine in 2011 there could be some cost benefits for retailers who can optimize keywords for two major search engines rather than three, Dougherty says.

There could still be opportunities with the smaller search engines as well, she says. “The key is to understand who is visiting those web sites.”

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