Windows 10 is it an SEO game changer?
Not so long ago Microsoft looked to re-establish itself as the leading technology company in all things ‘PC’ and ‘Web’ by renaming and redeveloping its search engine that had previously gone under the name of Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search. From this redevelopment came Bing which was possibly one of the least well received products Microsoft had created and seemed to be doomed from the offset (apologies I forgot Vista). This inevitability came from the ever growing and strengthened position of Google. Even an aggressive marketing plan that compared itself to Google search results could not persuade people to move away from their search engine of choice. In truth in the UK this means moving people from Google.
Although Microsoft decided against spending an eye watering 45Billion+ on acquiring Yahoo (once the leading supplier of search) they did enter into a deal that would see Microsoft’s search results used to power aspects of Yahoo search. All of these interventions did not seem to move people in the numbers they would have hoped for. At the time of writing Bing has approximately 18-19% of the US search market with it partner Yahoo holding a slightly less 12%. This does not come anywhere near the 60%+ that Google still commands in the US; even less so when you look at the UK where Google accounts for over 90% of the overall search market. To make matters that little bit more challenging Yahoo has decided to re-evaluate its relationship with Microsoft by reducing the dependency of Bing powering its results.
So how does this situation tie itself in with Windows 10?
One of the new features of Windows 10 is its search facility. Not only will your OS search your computer it will also talk to you through a featured called Cortana while looking on the web for answers/resources to your query. Now you may have already guessed that when it searches the internet it does not search Google but its own search engine Bing. In my many years of using Windows it has been the case that unless you are computer savvy or very comfortable with your computer the defaults remain the main source of information and functionality. Internet Explorer 6 was a great example of this and for developers meant many hours of tearing out their hair in order to make sure those that used this browser where experiencing (as near as possible) the same look and feel as the more appreciated browsers (Firefox, Opera and later on Chrome).
This is where it becomes even more interesting for search engine exposure
Unless you are willing to employ a third party tool Windows 10 defaults to Bing and is non configurable to search other search engines. What this means is that the not so savvy surfer will no doubt begin to value the result returned by Windows for a given search; maybe even disregarding the fact that the information is from Bing and not the search engine they would normally be accustomed to.
From a business perspective this could start to inflate the overall numbers using Bing and possibly become a real challenger to Google. If this was to be the case, then it would be interesting to see how Google’s lawyers would look at this.
So how we looking in Bing
This could if the above becomes true be what customers start to ask about their online presence. Whenever a UK company considers offering Search Engine Optimization what they really mean is we will look to strengthen your presence in Google not Bing. This could start to affect companies in a positive and negative way if the user begins to click through the Bing results as appose to opening up a browser and searching in the more traditional fashion.
All this relies on people taking up the new operating system as their OS of choice and using the new search facility. With the enticement of the upgrade coming free for the first twelve months and its continual presence on the taskbar (very annoying) this may well become as bigger player as Windows XP and Windows 7 has been to Windows users in the past and present. The initial feelings towards Windows 8/8.1 may just keep people on Windows 7 for a little longer. Diehards of the Windows XP operating system have a more daunting task as there is no upgrade option. And it’s safe to say that with the holes appearing in the OS core code (that is no longer updated) it a little unsafe for the modern internet.
Maybe one day when I’m searching Windows 10 and ask for Google, Cortana will reply ‘Did you mean Bing’.
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