Microsoft Bing Continues Growth in September, But So Does Google

Web analytics firm Compete claims Microsoft's Bing search engine grew from 8.7 percent in August to 8.8 percent in September, sparked by 25 billion queries. Bing users conducted an average of 5 searchers per day. However, Bing's sponsored link click average was 6.4 percent, beating even Google and Yahoo's average of 6 percent. Google paced the market per usual with a 72.6 percent share, growing 3 basis points and serving 9 billion searches for the month. Meanwhile, Bing is trying to gain share by improving its functionality, indexing Twitter tweets for real-time search. However, Google will do the same in a few months.

Microsoft Bing served 25 million more queries in September than it did in August, growing market share from 8.7 percent to 8.8 percent, according to data released by Compete Oct. 22.

The Web analytics firm said Bing's bid to help users find what they are looking for more quickly is paying off. Bing users averaged about 5 searches per user per day in Spetember, while Google users averaged about 5.6 searches per user per day. Yahoo users conducted an average of 7.8 searches per user per day.

The average search number seems to validate Bing's mission to reduce the clicks on the search back button. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Oct. 21, Bing Director Stefan Weitz said Bing collects an exorbitant amount of data to further disambiguate users' queries, ideally to reduce clicks required on its search engine results pages.

For example, Map searches will feature additional results, such as hotel and other travel-oriented information to keep users from flitting from one search to the next. Users also receive captions to search results and can hover the mouse over results to see more info about those results.

This search growth is boosting Microsoft's paid search business, according to Compete. Some 6.4 percent of search clicks on Bing were on sponsored links, besting the industry standard sponsored referral benchmark of 6 percent. Google and Yahoo's share of these clicks ranged in the 6 percent area all year.

Speaking of Google, the search goliath posted 72.6 percent search market share, increasing share 3 basis points from August to September and serving 9 billion queries per month throughout 2009. Yahoo meanwhile dropped a whole percentage point from August to September, going from 15.8 percent to 14.7 percent month to month.

Compete's finding that Bing grew corroborates and conflicts with earlier reports about Bing's September search share from comScore, HitWise and StatCounter. ComScore, considered the industry standard in search engine metrics, also found Bing grew one basis point from August to September.

HitWise found Bing fell from 9.49 percent in August to 8.99 percent in September. StatCounter concluded Bing had a more precipitous drop from 9.6 percent in August to 8.5 percent in September.

The statistics don't tell the whole tale. Yes, Google is dominant, but Bing has some tricks up its sleeve to gain share. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Microsoft executives Qi Lu and Yusuf Mehdi announced deals to index Twitter tweets and Facebook status updates in Bing search results. Bing Twitter is already live, with the Facebook content pending.

Of course, Google met Bing halfway, unveiling its own deal to index Twitter tweets. Google is also rolling out Social Search soon.

All this is to say is perhaps Bing will pull off some surprise gains by indexing real-time content. Of course, when Google begins doing this, it may take the share right back.