Portugal may or may not win the World Cup, but Cristiano Ronaldo is scoring major search traffic. According to HitWise, Ronaldo accounted for 19.19 percent of U.S. World Cup player searches during the week ending June 5 2010, which should cue marketers that tracking hot terms can help catch consumers’ attention. In fact, the entire search market has been hit with FIFA frenzy, and search engines are competing to get users to make them their go-to game information sources.

As the sporting event is underway, all of the major search engines are jumping on the soccer bandwagon. Yahoo, which Hitwise says accounted for nearly 15 percent of U.S. searches in April, announced its FIFA plans before the games even began. In a Yahoo blog post, officials explain the search engine is using World Cup coverage shortcuts on its search toolbar.

Bing may not account for as many searches as Yahoo, but the smaller search engine still has big plans for the World Cup games. It announced this week that it will offer a Bing Instant Answers feature to give sports fans live scores and player stats, complete with direct links to FIFA.com.

Google is offering a similar score update feature. In its official blog, Google explains searching for "world cup," "world cup group g" and a number of other relevant terms will bring up the latest results and match schedules.

These features are fueling the FIFA fire, and searchers are going wild for World Cup news. Still, marketers must proceed with caution when using soccer terms in their online advertisements. Bloomberg.com reports that FIFA has copyrighted thousands of words affiliated with the World Cup to ward off "ambush marketing."

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.