1 in 2? I Need Better Odds Than That!

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According to a recent Nilesen/Netratings Inc. analysis, Google’s market share is now 50%. That’s huge! One out of every two searches is a Google search. If you’re in the paid search marketing game, my advice might be to keep your search marketing simple and advertise only on Google. You’ll be exposed to half of all search traffic.

One out of two is great odds. How can you go wrong with a strategy like that? Why even bother advertising on any other search engine when success is practically guaranteed? We can look to the current NHL Stanley Cup playoffs for the answer.

Being from Michigan and a hockey fan, of course I root for the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings were the best team in the NHL during the regular season and expectations were running high for another championship. The Red Wing franchise is a juggernaut. Great ownership, well funded, a huge fan base, and arguably the most talented players in the game. A real power play!

If you follow the NHL you know it all went terribly wrong for the Wings in the playoffs this year. They drew the lowly Edmonton Oilers, the #8 seed, in the first round. Pundits predicted a sweep for the heavily favored Detroit squad. Well guess what? Detroit lost to Edmonton in the first round. The Wings are now practicing chip shots and doing yard work instead of heading to the Stanley Cups finals like the Oilers.

How could this have happened to the vaunted Red Wings? They ran up against a team of young, motivated, well-coached, never-say-die players with a burning desire to beat the best. That sounds like a new player in the SEM game to me.

Microsoft AdCenter has Google in its sights and aims to chip away at Google’s audience share and someday dominate the paid search market. Google, Yahoo, Ask, and now more than ever, Microsoft are the significant players in search marketing as I see it. Sure Google dominates, but it needs to react to the competition and improve its performance to stay #1. Underestimating the threat of competition, especially a young upstart with a heritage of success, could prove fatal.

A word of advice to paid search marketing practitioners: maximize your results by using the other teams in search as well as Google. Improve your odds by betting on more competitors than the favorite – Great advice in search engine marketing or hockey. Come to think of it, how’s Barbaro feeling these days, eh?

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