Best Search Engine for Canada

According to Hitwise and reported by Search Engine Watch today, the best quality search engine in Canada is Bing despite being ranked 6th in popularity.


The primary reason given is that Bing is doing the best job of localizing search results. Through our own tests at K'nechtology, we've seen very little difference in search quality from Toronto office. So is Hitwise's data wrong, are our test wrong or has Hitwise simply assumed something about the results based on user behavior.

If you read the article you'll see its based on how many searches a person does before stopping. This assumes that the person found what they wanted when they stopped. Here is where I believe they've made some wrong assumptions.

1. Bing is new and lots of people are checking them out. This means "let me do a search on Bing for something I search on a lot and lets see what the results are." After their initial search or two when they don't see a significant difference between Bing and Google they return to Google as their primary search engine. Hence Bing is ranked number 6 in terms of popularity

2. While Bing may have a slight advantage in localized search, from this article it still doesn't appear that Canadians are doing long query strings and are still sticking to 1-2 word search queries. So if that query includes a geo-location then perhaps Bing is giving better results, but they did not analyze how many people include a city or province in their search. From the various clients data that we've analyzed even when they rank extremely well for an organic search phrase that includes a geo-locations, the vast majority of organic search traffic comes from phrases that don't include a geo-locations. So in my opinion this localization benefit of Bing is marginal at best.

3. Are people simply giving Bing the once over and doing a single or a secondary search and saying "so what, I'll stick to what I've been using".

Ultimately, it is going to be up to users to try Bing, see if they like the results and then to switch their default search engine. For that to happen Bing has to start promoting themselves here in Canada. In the US, I've seen TV commercials, heard radio ads and seen print ad. In Canada, next to nothing except at some industry trade shows. Unfortunately, this holds true for all the major search engines.

Canada's population is comparable to that of California, yet from my observations the amount of money spent by the major search engines here in Canada to promote themselves is a minor fraction of the California spend. Attention all search engines, if you want to take a bite out of Google's market share here in Canada, then start promoting yourselves by something more than word of mouth.


WebTrends 9

Two weeks back, WebTrends announced version 9.0. As with all recent upgrades this version is only be released to users of WebTrends on Demand. The good news is they expect by late this quarter or early October to release version 9 for the installed version.

This approach is both good and bad for users of the software version. The bad part is obvious, we don't get our hands on this latest version which holds so much promised and should make all of our reporting that much more completed.

On the other hand, when it is released, we can be assured that it will be relatively bug free and stable.

My clients really do appreciate that reduced frequency of the minor updates, as they can concentrate on the numbers and not a parade of upgrades and batches (unlike other products). I on the other hand feel that in many instances users of the software version are being punished as they do not always get some of the improved reporting. It is one thing not to release the a, b, c of the same version, but not to release intra version releases (i.e. 8.6) makes me wonder. My best guess is that WebTrends is really trying to get all users to migrate to the on-demand version. While I don't have any issues with it and have several clients using it, for many it is simply not an option based on corporate policies and the legal stance of where data is stored.

Either way, I'm looking forward to WebTrends 9 full release.

PubCon and more

If you've been following my near daily tweats (http://twitter.com/aknecht), you'll know that I'm speaking again this year at PubCon. PubCon which will run from November 10 - 13 in Las Vegas is by far the best networking industry conference I've ever attended. The combination of numerous sessions and what seems an endless number of nightly events make it ideal for making industry friends.

PubCon is first and foremost a search marketing conference put on by the people who bring us WebMaster world. This year the response to the conference from what I've heard has been fantastic despite the economy. By the end of July (then end of the first tier of early bird registration) they were well ahead of previous years. Also the number of people submitting proposals to speak at the conference has increased and made the work of conference organizers that much harder. Only over the past few days have some sessions been announced. I'm still waiting to hear what I'll be speaking on. I'm hoping to be on one of the Web Analytics sessions, but might just end up in a SEO and Design session like have been for the past two years. With some luck perhaps all the sessions will be announced by the end of the month.

If you've thought about this conference in the past this may be your best opportunity. Hotel costs in Las Vegas are the lowest they've been in years. This year I'm staying at the same hotel as last year and the room rate is 40% lower.

Beyond PubCon, I've also been book to speak at a Social Network/Web Marketing workshop series in my home city of Toronto called "Executing Social Media". This event is schedule to take place on October 28th and 29th. The details are still being finalized and I expect the their web site and registration system to be ready within the next week or two. More on this event as the details (location, registration, price) are announced.

Either way, if your at either of these events please tab me on the shoulder and say hi.