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Search Engine Relationships

Mike Valentine

I’ve written extensively on search engines for years and wrote a fun article equating search enigne mergers and updates to an earthquake (coining the word “SearchQuake”) in 2003 with an article titled, “AltaVista Overture Fast AllTheWeb Yahoo Searchquake“, then in 2003 wrote another article comparing those mergers to loving marriages, emotional love triangles and even incestuous relationships. That article got a lot of play three years ago, but I just received a note this week which follows in part:

I read an article that I saved from several years ago that you wrote. I am hoping beyond hope that you have updated this hysterical article that was so informative to many. It was Search Engine Marriages and Scandal in a Summer of Love – Obviously much has happened since you wrote this article …

… (I) want to educate my clients that SEO is important and to show just how complicated from this side of the fence it can be for SEO specialists. If you have an updated article about the dysfunctional family of search engines I would love to read it and with your permission put it on my SEO page.

My response was:

Thank you so much for the wonderful praise for that silly article. Although I’ve made a few other attempts at humor, I’ve not attempted another search engine relationship article.

You may know that Bruce Clay offers a search engine relationship chart And, truth be known, not much of substance has changed in those search engine relationships since 2003. Obviously, Google has gone public, Yahoo has purchased a bunch more companies and MSN has officially launched its own search engine.

But what it comes down to for me is that Google now refers about 65% of all search engine traffic to client sites and Yahoo refers about 10% to 15%, with MSN sending an average of no more than 5% of referred traffic. This applies regardless of ranking! Even if ranked poorly on Google, visitors find those sites at about the same percentages! Obviously traffic increases overall as ranking goes up, but visitors are still referred at similar percentages.

For me that means that optimizing for Google is paramount. The other search engines seem to rank sites well if the same site ranks well on Google. No other search engines send significant traffic with the possible exception of, which sends between 1% and 3% of traffic to all client sites.

As for articles on search engines, you are welcome to put that article on your site if you properly credit me as author.

I recently wrote another article using the term “SearchQuake” in the title, but that one is about the currently ongoing Google Bigdaddy update. I think that search engine updates and relationships will have less effect on ranking in the future, and as stated above, work to rank well on Google now and let the others fall where they may. I advise clients to do the same.