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.

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