If you’ve been paying attention to the Internet world lately, it has likely come to your attention that there is a new player in the search game called Bing and the Microsoft and Yahoo deal which has been discussed ad-nauseum since Microsoft offered Yahoo $45 billion in early 2008 has finally come to a close.
What does it all mean? It is going to take time to sort it all out. Whatever the effects of the merger, the effects it has on user experience and advertisers are most significant, and much can be said in that regard. As resident PPC expert and VP of Client Relations, Mike Block, says in his recent blog, Tues News: 8/4 (Big Deals Edition):
Anyone who has spoken to me about my opinions regarding the Big Three (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) in search knows that I rank the user experience with Google at the top, Yahoo as a distant second and Microsoft as an even more distant third. When Bing came out and made some noise, it was my opinion that Bing would be nothing more than an expensive flash in the pan unless Microsoft could make the user experience better for the advertiser through its adCenter product. As it stands, the stubborn folks over at Microsoft still make bulk changes very difficult to perform, offer a poor quality account editor that is incompatible with Apple computers and employ customer service representatives that have always seemed overworked at best and poorly trained at worst.
Block’s quote sums up looming questions regarding the effects of the Microsoft/Yahoo merger quite nicely. Now, lets assume for the sake of this blog that Microsoft gets its adCenter product together and releases a version up to par with Google’s AdWords interface in terms of ease-of-use and user friendliness. This means the backend experience for the advertiser is equal, and relevancy and ease-of-use on the front end is what matters in determining who gets crowned the king of search. In that case, a tool like the one recently released by Microsoft employee Michael Kordahi could well come in handy.
Its a blind search test and its pretty neat. Not only can you see your search results in all three major search engines at once (the blind test is not the only way to do this but still), you can also get an unbiased answer as to which search engine you prefer.
Not surprisingly, according to a recent post on TechCrunch, it has been found users tend to rate anything with the Google logo as better than its competing product/service/what have you. This means Yahoo results with a Google logo tacked on top will rate better than Google results branded with the Yahoo logo, but the blind search test removes this bias and lets you compare apples to apples.
I’ve done a few tests already. So far, I’m averaging an equal preference for Google and Bing results depending on the search. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think! Its pretty cool.