Nielsen pegs Bing as number 2 search engine

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More confusing numbers to analyze in the ongoing search engine battle. This week Nielsen reported that Bing had vaulted past Yahoo! into second place in the search engine market share race. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) remains firmly entrenched in first place. Further, Google's market share remains largely unchanged meaning Bing continues to grab market from its partner, Yahoo! (Ain't love grand?).

It makes a great headline, but I'm not sure it's accurate. comScore has been watching this space for some time. As I wrote last month, comScore has started using a different methodology, but yielded similar results with Bing and Yahoo! both gaining slightly, but Google (surprise, surprise) holding fairly steady. comScore's last report had Bing at 11 percent, while Yahoo! was around 17 percent, a number that's held fairly steady over time as I've been watching these numbers.

It seems unlikely that Yahoo! would drop that dramatically in a short time, so you may want to chalk it up to a statistical anomaly or perhaps a different counting methodology. I can tell you that from my personal blog statistics, that I get very little action from Yahoo! or Bing with the vast majority of search traffic coming from Google.

Greg Sterling writing on Search Engine Land, suggested the growth could be due to mobile search traffic. Microsoft pointed to the Verizon deal in July (although it seems too soon for that to show up like this). Sterling believes that even if this is a one-month anomaly, that the trend is probably accurate.

Given that Yahoo! now runs Bing under the hood, he's probably right. Yahoo! doesn't seem to have many major deals in the mobile search market, and if it wants to stay relevant, it seems it would have to go in that direction. Bing is moving up a bit, but I still think Microsoft should just buy Yahoo! and own its market share instead of chipping away at it month by month.

For more information:
- see the NeilsenWire post

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