Search marketing alert: Ballmer urges users to try Bing

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by Brafton Editorial
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer urged searchers to try Bing, the company's search engine, since he doesn't think there are many differences between it and Google.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the Web 2.0 Summit that search users should give Bing a try, citing the fact that results of Google and Bing searches are the same 70 percent of the time. This is an interesting approach to selling Microsoft’s search service, but at least it lets marketers know that SEO for Google will generally yield similar results on Bing.

While Ballmer may be correct, it’s unlikely that users, perfectly happy with Google as their default engine, would start using Bing. Ballmer also said that Bing is “getting stronger” with improvements aimed at tailoring search results to specific users.

However, Ballmer’s claim that Bing has become the No. 2 player in the search market due to its superior performance is slighlty misleading. It is true that Bing is the second most used search engine based on most recent number for Experian Hitwise. But the agreement between Bing and Yahoo to use Bing’s algorithm to power Yahoo queries is largely responsible.

Aside from his belief that the engines are typically the same, Ballmer said Bing’s results will be better 15 percent of the time and Google’s will be more relevant as frequently. Supporting the use of his own product makes sense, of course, but Ballmer did not offer any real reason for users to make the switch.

Ballmer’s derision of Google expanded to Android as well, saying “You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone, but I think you do to use an Android phone.”

While the comment drew laughs from the Web 2.0 Summit, Brafton recently reported that Android is the most popular mobile operating system on the market, claiming more than 43 percent. Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s mobile operating system, represents 5.8 percent – leading one to wonder whether or not there are disproportionate amount of computer scientists among the American population.

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