Time to Look at MSN Live Search

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Back in April I urged our readers to not focus blindly on Google when optimizing sites for search engines and to diversify; and the latest search engine statistics from Compete further affirm that recommendation.
When we last discussed diversifying search engine optimization to multiple search engines (especially to improve results from laggards), Yahoo, MSN/Live Search, and Ask.com had a negative growth and a cumulative market share that was smaller than that of Google (though by no means insignificant at 36% of all searches). Since April, however, the statistics have changed drastically and it seems that Google actually has a competitor (at least when it comes to month-over-month growth).
If you look at the month-over-month growth for Microsoft’s search engine, it grew a healthy 13.1% from May to June, and an even better 17.8% from June to July (these figures are excluding ClubLive). In contrast, Google grew a paltry 0.3% from May to June, and 8.5% from June to July.
While we’re only two months into the upward growth for Microsoft’s search engine, the growth seems promising, especially considering that it it is outstripping Google’s growth, and that Yahoo is barely moving and Ask.com is having a hard time even keeping traffic constant. If these statistics tell us anything, it’s that now is as good a time to start looking towards multiple search engines (hint: MSN/Live Search and Google) as ever.
Note: Latest Figues from Compete

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • Yet another “Microsoft search is gaining ground post” that ignores that fact that Vista resets your home page to MSN search. Their increase in search volume is insignificant, and temporary.

  • RustyS

    Not all Vista installs will have Live.com as your home page. In fact many of the largest PC manufacturers have deals with Google/Yahoo/AOL to pre-install their own toolbars/desktop search/home pages/etc. As a consumer, that’s even more annoying IMO. I’d rather install those options myself. Vista’s desktop search is already top notch. I don’t want/need Google’s.
    I agree though that Vista/IE7 pushing people to Live is clearly a major ingredient to Live’s current run. And for anyone that bothers to give it a fair shake, Live.com actually is pretty nice. The quality of the search results is getting to the point where it’s almost on par with Google or Yahoo (and certainly better than Ask.) And the formatting and display of the search results page is actually more aesthetically pleasing IMO. Google and Yahoo’s SERPs have grown rather dated-looking IMO.
    The increase is most definitely not insignificant. It remains to be seen whether or not its temporary. I actually think it’ll continue to grow for at least the next 6-9 months as Vista adoption continues to pick up steam. After that remains to be seen.

  • Smithy

    DDN: “Yet another “Microsoft search is gaining ground post” that ignores that fact that Vista resets your home page to MSN search”
    Google has already been paying Dell and HP billions of dollars so they pre-set the home pages of computers they sell to Google, and set Google as the default search engine.
    If the truth be told, Google has been paying fo search market share for years.

  • @David, that’s like arguing that Google’s numbers don’t mean squat because all Safari and Firefox users have the default search engine set to Google.

  • Boy Yahoo sure appears to be tanking, lol. Of course when MSN starts sending me some traffic for all the great rankings I already have I will start to worry more about them.

  • David Eaves

    I think MSN.com can probably send some descent traffic on big phrases, the uk.msn.com that it redirects to in the UK is not very popular, although I do get about 40 visitors every couple of weeks and I have gad business out of it. I think Google have got an even bigger share in the UK.

  • Google typically has about 70 to 80% of market share in the UK and its there for a very good reason.
    When given the choice between MSN, Yahoo and Google SERPS, its hard to deny that in the UK Google does deliver the best results.

  • Like many of the other people commenting here, I’m also in the UK and, believe me, I would love to have significant traffic from MSN Live.
    I have the organic rankings and I plow as much money into MSN AdCenter as I can, but truly, their reach in this country barely justifies the time spent.
    MSN Live has virtually no B2B traffic to speak of and that, for me, at least, means it is – at best – a bit part player.

  • I’ve always found Live to be one of the hardest engines to optimize for. Of all the search engines it seems to be the most localized, even down to where the sites links are located.
    But one thing is for sure I’ve noticed an increase nearly monthly on traffic coming from Live. Cheers.

  • demeter

    Actually, MSFT engaged in an unethical practice in June and July. They redirected all searches that resulted in DNS to Live search instead of the browser default search engine. They did this for about 6 days in June and again from 07/01 through 07/26. This practice significantly inflated their traffic for the two months in all measurement company’s data.

  • Nathan

    Google is by far my search engine of choice, for two reasons. One, they were the first to make a truly great search engine, and MS has been copying their moves ever since. Two, Microsoft is an anti-competitive monolith, and Google keeps giving me these great free things – Gmail, Picassa, Google Docs, Google Analytics, etc.
    I don’t trust Microsoft. I have known Googlers and I like them.
    I realize this isn’t a fair comparison of search results, I may change my mind someday, but I imagine that a lot of people are like me: all other things being equal, we’ll go to the page of the people we like.

  • In the UK it is definitely Google that we optimise our websites for, particularly in the accounting space. MSN just does not feature.