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by Franki

Analyzing the traffic details reported by my Advanced Stats counter, I’ve noticed some interesting trends regarding the various search engines. HTMLfixIT is now getting roughly 98.5% of our search engine traffic from Google. Now we have worked hard to create a site that would do well with search engines, and we have loads of links from other peoples sites to our own, so it isn’t surprising that we do well with Google. What is surprising, is that we do far better from Google than Yahoo, Microsoft and the others despite the fact that their search engine algorithms are growing closer and that now days we usually rank the same or similar for many of our search terms in all engines. Lets take this brief example search string:
‘column count doesn’
Which is the start of a MySQL error that we explain in one of our tutes. The full string is:
Invalid Query: Column count doesn’t match value count at row 1 MySQL
but we don’t need the full string as the partial works rather well to demonstrate my point. and the addition of the ‘ in doesn’t seems to confuse things with some of them. (though it doesn’t change the conclusions I’m drawing here as I’ve tried it with many tech search terms that bring us traffic from Google.)

That string ranks the following in the top 5 search engines.
Google Number 3
Yahoo Number 1
Microsoft Number 1
Altavista Number 1
AOL Number 10

Now for the above term, Google has sent us 213 unique visitors in the past 5 days, Yahoo has sent us 2 visitors for that term and the others have sent us none at all. It sounds like an odd string to use for this example, but I’ve tried it in what is possibly the most searched error message on the Internet as well. “premature end of script headers” and it the same trend is found.

Now I have a friend who has a great many domain names and the vast majority of them are not tech based. They are mostly spiritual in nature, (meditation, psychic readings etc). This friends sites get far far more traffic from the other engines then does htmlfixit, and in fact their ratio of traffic from Google to the other engines is much better also.

So what can we conclude from this?
Well if htmlfixit can rank higher on MSN and Yahoo (for example) than on Google for a popular tech search term, and still get a hundred times more traffic for that search term from Google. Then the logical conclusion is that Google is the search engine preferred by tech oriented people.
That makes sense really, for example; Firefox and Safari both use Google as their homepage, and it is the tech aware users who are installing these browsers (on Windows anyway) on their machines. The people using Microsoft search are likely doing so because it’s the default search engine setup on Windows and they don’t know any better. Yahoo seems to be more about entertainment and eye candy, so they would likely draw the entertainment seeking, less serious searching, younger market.

More proof of the non techie users of Microsoft search is that the most technical search term anyone had used to find us was: “anti virus for windows 98se” which is somewhat lower on the “tech” ranking than CGI or MySQL error rankings. Yahoo is definitely heaps better than Microsoft at this stage, but they are still light years behind Google for tech terms.

As a test, I’m going to see if I can prove this conclusion by using a couple of pre-existing sub-domains and create non tech hotspots for certain keywords. Then after a year or so has gone by, I will analyze the traffic and see how much better the non Google engines do for non techie search terms.

I don’t think I’ve said anything revolutionary in the above, if I’d been asked a week ago what search engine techies preferred, I’d have said Google anyway, but I wasn’t expecting the ratio to be that high and growing. A year ago, about 94% of our search engine traffic was Google, now it’s 98.5%. Since we are talking about many thousands of referrals it’s quite a significant increase.








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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   November 19, 2017, 5:04 am
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