As 2010 dawned, Microsoft held less than 10 percent of U.S. search engine market share. Now, at the close of the year, it’s at 25 percent, according to Hitwise’s numbers. That means that, every time someone searches for something on the Internet, 1 in 4 of them are using a Microsoft product.

Sure, that’s if you count Yahoo’s share along with Bing’s, but there’s every reason to do that — the two are now merged into one company, owned by Microsoft. Yahoo uses the Bing search algorithm. (Go ahead, try searching both sites for the same term. You’re going to get the same results.)

Getting that edge up in share market share is, of course, one of the primary reasons why Microsoft acquired Yahoo to begin with. “[O]ne of the biggest events of the year was the integration of Bing results into Yahoo,” write Eric Enge at SearchEngineWatch.com, “and retirement of Yahoo’s independent search index here in the U.S.”

So, Yahoo and Bing combined now represent a quarter of all search engine activity — that’s a remarkable increase for any company in any market.

With Google still overshadowing the search engine market with a whopping 70 percent, though, it’s not hard to see why this sudden success hasn’t been widely reported on. Still, a competitor that holds 25 percent of its market represents real, actual competition for Google, and that’s something it’s not used to having. 

Social Media: The Real SEO Dark Horse

And throw in social media sites, and Google’s once-unquestioned dominance gets even shakier. Consider this recent report from Techdirt.com:

“For years, our largest referrer every single day was Google. It wasn’t even close. Every day, people came from Google (sometimes via searches, sometimes via things like Google Reader or iGoogle), and it simply dominated how people found us. Yet, these days, it’s quite rare to see Google as the top referrer to Techdirt on any given day. Instead, it seems that every day we get an onslaught of traffic from at least one (and sometimes more) social communications platforms: StumbleUpon, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook now regularly come in as our biggest referrers. Google still drives a lot of traffic, but our traffic has certainly become a lot more diversified.”

2011: A New Day for SEO?

So, for probably the first time, it can be truthfully said: SEO is no longer all about Google.

New and different ways to succeed at SEO should be welcome by casino affiliates (and all online marketers). But the situation gets a bit less promising when one realizes that much of this sudden comptetion comes from Microsoft — hardly a new voice in the marketplace.


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