Microsoft’s little engine, Bing, is quietly gaining market share and has posted its biggest gain ever in February of this year. While Google still has a strong hold on 65.2 percent of the market, Bing is its fastest grower.

Even as the number of searches conducted overall decreased by almost 1.1 billion from January 2010 to February 2010, Bing’s share increased 15 percent. Bing has also increased its share 1.5 percent in the past year, while Google saw its share decrease by one percent. What does this growth mean for SEO professionals?

Bing’s market share increase represents about 1.14 billion searches, or 12.5 percent of the February’s total. But search engine optimisation experts are mixed on whether to spend much time or focus on making Bing part of their marketing campaigns. Chris Thomas, chief executive of Reseo, says that small and medium businesses shouldn’t waste their time. “I wouldn’t be getting too worried about it at all, not when you have other websites delivering more traffic than Bing. I wouldn’t be doing much about it. Google is still delivering the majority of revenue ahead of others.”

According to Thomas, if and when Bing’s numbers get closer to 15 percent of the market share, and Google is dropping, then you should consider optimising for Bing. “But right now,” he adds, “the numbers are just so little.” But Arrow Marketing’s chief executive, Anup Batra, disagrees and sees Bing as a powerful tool for business and marketing. He says, “There is still an opportunity here because Bing is so much easier to optimise. The way Google optimises is through back-links and so on, but Bing works more by what’s on the page. This is good for many businesses. Bing is gaining importance as far as SEO is concerned in this regard.”

Also boosting Bing’s profile is the recent agreement with Motorola making the Microsoft search engine the default on China’s Android phones. This comes at a time when Google is considering closing its Chinese operations because of an ongoing censorship dispute. Bing also offers more user-friendly real-time results and other niche areas, like travel. Greg Laptevsky, search marketing expert, says:

“I think it’s a matter of personal preference at this point. For most basic searches, users will find what they are looking for, regardless of the search engine…I think a lot of SEO experts will tell you that it’s easier to optimize for Bing than for Google. Therefore, Google is less subject to SEO marketing abuse.”

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