The war between Google and Bing has long been fought on bloody cyber-battles between the two search giants. Back in 2009, a comparative study between the two showed one very large difference between the two results. When on search pages, sponsored links to the right attracted attention, but the difference between the two was significant:
- 42 per cent viewed these on Bing
- 25 per cent viewed on Google
- 90 per cent of those monitored preferred to view the paid links over organic search results in both engines
The test was redone again in 2011 to give a fairer comparison of the two. Back when the original study was done, Bing was relatively new in the market and people participating in the study were not used to its features or interface. The most surprising aspect of the new study is how close the new results’ margins are. The battle it seems has come to a near-deadlock.
Paid versus organic search: who comes out on top?
- 90% the study’s participants viewed the organic results at the top. All of the participants viewed the organic results.
When it came to paid ads or sponsored links on the right, the results are very surprising:
- 28% viewed them on Google;
- 21% viewed them on Bing.
Participants/searchers now overlook the paid links
The question of paid versus organic is a long and oft-debated question in search engine marketing. The research conclusions of this study seem to answer the question in a definitive way. Organic is the winner. Most people would advise a combination of concerted paid and organic search engine marketing in order to achieve broadly successful results for your business, but it seems as though this thinking isn’t necessarily correct; nor is it something we should live and die by when using search engines to market a business or brand.
The differences between the two search giants
Well, really, there aren’t many differences. Certainly no huge differences. There’s a differential of roughly 0.2 seconds between those looking at the organic results on Google (0.9 seconds) and those looking at the organic results on Bing (0.7s). That doesn’t necessarily equal a conclusive win for Google. Far from it.
Matt Cutts of Google has made his feelings on Bing quite clear. He’s gone at them for lots of different things, namely the fact that it appears as though Bing copies its search results from Google entirely. Harry Shum of Bing would deny these vehemently, of course, as he has in this forty minute video on the Bing search engine. And there’s no denying the remarkable similarities in Bing versus Google search results. Typing gobbledygook into one gives you the exact same results in another. But in the end, it seems that those squabbles and politics don’t matter to the users. Users are using both relatively equally and the arguments are rendered moot. The battle between Google and Bing is at a standstill and organic search is rising up in its significance.