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Search Isn't All About Google Anymore.

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by: Kirk Bannerman
By Kirk Bannerman

Webmasters that stick to the old ways and focus entirely on
Google are missing out on a lot of search traffic these days if
they are not also well ranked by Yahoo and MSN.

For the first few months after Yahoo decided to go their own way
with natural search (and MSN decided to get serious about the
search business), the search results provided by those two could
only be described as bizarre. Enough time has now passed that
the dust has somewhat settled and there are three main (from a
traffic standpoint) sites for quality natural searches.

The term "natural search" is to distinguish true searches, as
opposed to paid advertisements which appear in the search results
for many search engines these days. I guess you can't really
fault the search engine companies from wanting to make some money
(actually, BIG money) selling ad space, but the debate over the
virtues of natural search versus paid advertising search is
something that could take up a very large book and still have no
clear resolution...much like arguments revolving around religion
or politics.

Like most people that have been working as online home business
entrepreneurs for a few years, I was strongly conditioned to the
need to "feed the 800 pound gorilla" of the search engine world.
Basically, "if Google didn't love you", it was very difficult to
get any meaningful natural search traffic to your website. Since
Google was actually the search engine that was serving up the
results for most of the popular search portals, if Google didn't
look kindly upon your site and rank you well, you would not be
ranked well for most of the high traffic search sites on the

However, the search landscape changed dramatically early in 2004
and things have been very fluid and interesting since that time.
Its not that Google has stumbled, or become ineffective as a
search vehicle, its just that major players like Yahoo and
Microsoft (via MSN) have decided to make a major thrust into the
search business.

Having been firmly conditioned (since shortly after 1998) that
Google was the "supreme deity of search engines", I took the
highly publicized search entries of Yahoo and MSN with more than
the proverbial "grain of salt".

Throughout a very recent three month period, one of my websites
occupied the #5 position on Google, Yahoo, and MSN for a very
popular and important (at least in my line of business) three
word search term. This situation provided an opportunity to
measure the current popularity of each of these three search

If asked "before the fact", I would have guessed that Google
would still be the overwhelming #1 search choice and that
Yahoo and MSN would be distant #2 and #3 choices. Therefore,
I was somewhat surprised by the results that were tabulated
during this recent 90 day period.

For the period in question, the search popularity results were
as follows:

Google: 33%
Yahoo: 31%
MSN: 23%
All others: 13%

Granted, the above results are for a single search term over a
particular 90 day time period, but the results clearly show
that Yahoo and MSN are already important players in the search

About the author:
Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and
coaches others seeking to start their own home based business.
Visit his website at
Legitimate Home Based Business
for more details.

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