We all know Google runs the show for anything search related. Google currently runs about 80% of all organic searches conducted today. They provide the organic results for Yahoo!, AOL, and Netscape. This fact makes it easy for search engine optimization specialists. SEOs really only have to worry about optimizing for one engine, Google. But Google will not be the only player in town in the upcoming months.
Yahoo! is soon going to switch over to Inktomi results, possibly some AltaVista results will mix in (who knows exactly how Yahoo! will handle on a political and technology level both search services). MSN will become a larger factor in the years to come, Microsoft is spending a bundle on developing its own search engine and they should not be underestimated. I have recently become a fan of Teoma, the technology behind Ask Jeeves, which I hope to pick up some steam. And we have FastSearch, the technology that powers AllTheWeb and Lycos. For a complete and fully interactive chart of search engine relationships today, please visit Bruce Clay’s Search Engine Relationship Chart.
So where does this all leave Google over the next year? I believe Google’s market share will greatly be reduced when Yahoo! switched its organic results. I also believe MSN, Teoma and FastSearch, in that order, will have an impact on Google’s market share. As searchers understand the search options available to them, they will seek them out. Ask Jeeves said that the average searcher uses 2.5 search engines during a week (or something like that, the numbers might be skewed based on who they researched). But I do feel that searchers will be more educated and start using what is available to search.
Google’s market share by Q1 of 2005 will be at about 30%, if AOL and Netscape stick with Google. Yahoo! will be about 30%, MSN 25% and the rest will even out amongst the rest. These are my feelings and predictions, I am not a prophet and I have no special magic ball – simply my own feelings. Feel free to comment on them.