Bing continues to gain share (and game the system, too)

The latest comScore numbers are out, according to a post at The Silicon Alley Insider (they’ll be fully available publically in a few days), and the numbers show that Bing, and Yahoo! are continuing to make small inroads against Google:

Once again, Yahoo and Microsoft gained share at Google’s expense because of contextual search tricks on the sites that turn users’ click-by-click browsing into extra search queries.

But even excluding those tricks, Google lost a tiny bit of share, while Yahoo and Microsoft both gained a tiny bit of a share.

Much of the gains reflect something other than traditional “text box” searches: Bing and Yahoo! have made substantial use of a number of search query “tricks”, which while they do provide some user benefits, they also have the added benefit of upping the search market share numbers.

These “games” played by Bing and Yahoo! include placing “Popular Searches” boxes on MSN.com and/or Yahoo.com, such as this one on MSN:

5466.bingpopularsearches_thumb_7443ecc5 Bing

While each of these links actually go to a Bing search query, they’re something different than a user actually searching for a particular item, and it’s thought that these pre-populated search link aren’t nearly as attractive to advertisers, according to a comScore blog post explaining the tactics last month:

At the same time, comScore recognizes that these are inherently different experiences compared to traditional web search queries. And because context-driven searches are sometimes monetized at different rates than traditional searches, we believe it is important to provide the marketplace with visibility into how they are contributing to search share.

Still, for whatever reason, Bing’s market share numbers continue to inch up, and with the Yahoo/Bing Search Alliance well on it’s way to becoming a reality, the news could be worse for the upstart search engine from Redmond:

  • Unadjusted, Microsoft sites domestic core search market share increased to 12.7% in June, from 12.1% in May. Microsoft grew June core search volume by 77% Y/Y, accelerating from 68% growth in May.