Of course, the winner of this contest was decided right from the outset. Nevertheless the results of this poll are quite interesting. More than 700 IT pros took part in this poll and to my experience this number is statistically significant; that is, it is quite likely the results represent the search engine market share among Windows admins.
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As the time of this writing 86% of 4sysops readers prefer Google as their search engine, and 10% use Bing. Note that these percentage numbers are rounded. This is why the results still appear to change. So if you wait a few days, Bing might have 11% of the votes. However, the overall pattern is stable now and I don't expect any major changes.
In my view, most interesting is that only 2% use Yahoo! Search. 2% use another search engine. It is obvious that IT pros strongly dislike Yahoo! I will say a word about this remarkable result in a bit.
Let us first compare the results of this poll with the overall market shares. According to Netmarketshare, Google currently has 84.8%, Yahoo! 6.19%, and Bing 3.24%. These are global market shares, and the comparison with the results of this poll is difficult because 4sysops is in English. The fact that the Chinese search engine Baidu has a "global" market share of about 3% makes this obvious. Thus I think it makes more sense to have a look at the U.S. search market.
However, considering that the search market statistics of different institutions vary considerably, it is almost impossible to compare the 4sysops results with market shares among average Internet users. For example, StatCounter sees Google at 80.17% and Bing at 8.54% in the U.S., whereas global market shares are 90.08% and 3.72%, respectively.
Regardless of the set of numbers you take, the share of Google users among 4sysops readers (86%) is in the expected range whereas the Bing usage (10%) is above average. One explanation is that IT pros are just quicker than the average Internet user with adopting a new search engine. However, I believe this difference can simply be explained as the Microsoft bonus among Windows administrators.
I must admit that this surprised me a little because in my view Google is by far the better search engine for IT pros. I have been using Bing for a while and whenever my search wasn't successful I switched to Google. Usually, the link to the information I was looking for was at the top of Google's first SERP.
Quite a few SEO experts have been analyzing the difference between the two most popular search engines since Bing was released a year ago. Most of the differences are subtle but one thing is noteworthy in this context. Bing clearly favors big news sites of well-known publishers. These established sites appear more frequently at the top and their backlinks have a higher weight than for Google.
I believe that is the main reason why Google is the better search engine for IT pros. IT pros usually use a search engine to solve a very specific technical problem. But the content on the major news sites is for the masses and usually does not contain specific technical problem solutions. This kind of information can only be found in forums and blogs written by highly specialized experts. Journalists often are not able to dig deep enough because they have to cover a wide range of topics. In a way you could say that Bing still favors the Web 1.0 whereas Google focuses on the Web 2.0.
This is why it is easier to find expert knowledge with Google. I think this also explains the very bad performance of Yahoo! in this poll. Most IT pros know of the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal and some Yahoo! users probably already moved to Bing because of the better user interface. However, this doesn't explain why only 2% of 4sysops readers search with Yahoo!.
Yahoo! is a company that clearly stands for the Web 1.0. They became big in the Web 1.0, and the Web 2.0 is the reason for their rapid descent. A web catalog for the Web 2.0 is useless simply because there are too many Web 2.0 sites. Finding expert knowledge with the original Yahoo! search engine is even more difficult than with Bing.
In my view, Bing only has a chance to increase market share if they give up on their preference for the Web 1.0. A decision engine might be useful if you want to decide to whom you will give your vote in the next elections. Major news sites offer valuable information for these kinds of decisions. However, most people use a search engine not to make a decision but to solve a problem. Obviously, it is better to ask an expert to solve a specific problem than a generalist who writes for a famous magazine.
By the way, if you want to find 4sysops articles, you also had better use Google. According to Google Analytics, Bing only has a "market share" of 3.8% on 4sysops, whereas Google reaches 93.6%. Don't you think that this perfectly proves my theory? 😉
Please tell me which search engine you use and also give me your reasons!