The search engine landscape is dominated by Google throughout the US and European markets, and has been the case for some time. However, those at Microsoft’s Bing have been working hard to position the site as a favorable alternative to Google and just recently moved out of beta in Germany launching the full version of their German site. As such, Bing is eagerly trying to gain market share, even if gains do prove to be modest. Such goals would have to be small, at first anyway, considering their current position in the US and across Europe. Although the launch of Bing’s German page occurred at the end of January, it is worth circling back to and discussing its relevance for search engine optimization in the German market.
Google is at the top with roughly 95% of the search market share in Europe, but Bing does sit in second position above Yahoo!, Yandex RU, and Ask Jeeves, and is available now in just under 40 countries worldwide. Most promising for Bing is that according to Microsoft, Bing has 10 million users which is 20 percent of all German internet users. These numbers created a bit of confusion when released because they were compared to StatCounter’s figures of search engine market share. However, the 20 million user figure released by Microsoft reflects the number of users, whereas StatCounter shows the raw number of searches per search engine; apples and oranges, the figures are obviously related but do not represent the same metric. With that said, having 20 million people using Bing not necessarily for every search but at least to some degree provides a solid foundation from which to grow further.
It appears Bing is realistic, but still sees opportunity to gain a foothold and grow, and the rate at which Bing is launching the full-scale versions of its local sites is quite telling. They aren’t exactly rolling them out one after the other indicating they are making sure the sites are up to their exact specifications before they go fully live. This makes the most sense and is exactly what Bing should be doing given their position. There is no rush or time constraint for them to go live with their full sites because the search landscape will largely be the same in 6 months or 1 year from now. As a result, they might as well take the time and get it exactly the way they want it before they launch it, especially since they can use the beta version in the meantime.
SEO experts cater to all search engines, but it is no secret that high rankings on Google trump those of other search engines, and thus more effort in the industry is spent on those practices that get results for Google. SEO experts do acknowledge the differences and optimize accordingly however Google simply dominates. Thus, SEO companies offering international SEO services specifically in the German market will be keeping track of Bing in the years to come to see how much Bing can gain on Google, and by extension, how much the companies should optimize for Bing.