While Google remains the leading search engine, a study finds some geographic audiences prefer alternative sites.

Considering that Google handles 66 percent of all search traffic, according to comScore’s latest report, it may seem unnecessary to optimize search marketing strategies for alternative engines. Microsoft sites like Bing serve results for just 17 percent of all queries, followed by Yahoo sites with 11 percent. However, a new Chitika study finds that marketers may need to reconsider how they approach SEO, depending on their audiences’ geographic location.

Google is by far the preferred search site in New York, Massachusetts, California and Utah. Between 71 and 80 percent of desktop search traffic in those states go through the engine. Brands targeting consumers in these places may only need to track Google updates and create website content aligned with its quality guidelines to compete for top SERP positions.

Search engine preferences differ by state.

However, marketers hoping to reach customers in the Southeast, the Midwest and the Ohio River Valley will need to consider other search engine’s standards because only 50 to 60 percent of residents prefer Google.

SEO strategies for Bing or Yahoo may not differ drastically from those tailored toward Google’s Search Bots.

Still, it’s wise for marketers to keep tabs on search updates from these sites and regularly check content analytics to assess their web content’s performance. Assuming domains rank the same across search engines might cause brands to lose SERP presence where it matters most for their business goals.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.