A new survey has revealed that Google is still the most preferred search engine among both UK and US users, in spite of recent controversy surrounding its plans to use customers’ search histories to both modify their individual search results and to introduce targeted advertising.
The survey, carried out by independent media research organisation The Pew Internet & American Life Project, revealed that 83% of Google users claimed to favour Google when it came to using search engines. Trailing behind in a very poor second place was Yahoo, which was preferred by only 6% of respondents.
The survey also revealed that 59% of internet users in the UK and US visit a search engine site every day, nearly twice as many who did so back in 2004.
In spite of preferring Google however, virtually all respondents still voiced their opposition to the search engine’s plans to use their personal data and online histories for targeted advertising purposes.
Whether this will ultimately affect the effectiveness of such targeted advertising remains to be seen.
The findings of the survey have confirmed for many commentators the central and growing importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) as a marketing tool.
Although marketers can pay directly to top a search engine results page, SEO is often favoured as it is a more subtle, ‘organic’ tool, whereby businesses deploy key words and phrases in their online literature in order to increase their likelihood of being ‘unearthed’ and brought to customers’ attention during a general search.