Editor’s note: This item is republished with permission from Global Edge Marketing Ltd. The original post can be viewed here.

Finally Google has a competitor in search. Microsoft’s new engine Bing, which went live yesterday, delivers comparable and in many cases more relevant results than its archrival. If, and it’s a big if, Microsoft can take market share from Google, it could be good news for local real estate agents who should benefit from Bing’s algorithm at the expense of larger property portals like Rightmove.

A quick comparison of three high-volume overseas property-search phrases — Property in France, Property in Spain and Property in Portugal — reveal no results for the U.K.’s market leader. Rightmove ranks in the top 10 on Google (U.K.) for all three terms.

Bing’s results seem to favor the homepages of agents and specific country portals over larger, more authoritative and linked-to sites like more generalist overseas portals and information hubs like Wikipedia and newspaper sites. The differences are quite subtle, but you can see the trend by comparing Bing with Google here.

It’s better, but will anyone care?

The reaction from the online marketing community to Bing has generally been positive. As a user, you’ll see a number of improvements to your search experience, including:

  • Superior image and video search.
  • Video playback when you hover your mouse over the search results. Good news for teenagers looking for porn!
  • Useful related search links on the left of the page to help you find what you need more quickly.
  • Useful biographical and historical links. See here for an example.
  • A quick and intuitive user interface.

Although it’s a great effort, the problem for Microsoft is that Google is so deeply ingrained in people’s habits that the improvements may not be radical enough to shift behavior. The likely result is that Bing will take what tiny market share Yahoo has left and leave little dent in the dominant position of Google.

However, Microsoft has huge resources and will likely throw everything behind promoting Bing. If it succeeds, it will be good news for agents and not just because the algorithm slightly favors the little guy. Competition in the paid-search space will keep Adwords prices down.

Copyright © 2009 Global Edge Marketing Ltd.


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