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Thursday
Oct062011

SEO Initial Search Engine Comparison

So my eCommerce site, Pet Pawfection, has been up and running for about two months now. I've noticed some interesting differences in the search engines to date.

Indexing

Google started indexing the site within the first week or two after I submitted a site map in its webmaster tools. The indexing was pretty aggressive. By the end of the first month, just about every page in the site map was indexed. I also signed up for every related Google service I could find: AdWords, Analytics, Merchant Center, etc. That may have helped Google notice me but I can't be sure.

Yahoo was the next to start indexing but it took about a month for that to start happening. The indexing was frustratingly slow, and to date, Yahoo has only indexed 20-30 percent of the site.

Bing was the latest to the indexing party. Bing finally noticed me a couple of weeks ago and has now passed Yahoo in the number of pages indexed. I estimate about one fourth of my site's pages are now indexed on Bing. Not too bad for a couple of weeks worth of indexing. I plan to update a lot of the product pages (the pages not yet indexed) with more content so hopefully that will help.

Webmaster Tools

IMO, Google has the best webmaster tools, especially when you factor in Google Analytics. Yahoo and Bing were both initially showing inconsistent indexing metrics from one page of the webmaster tools to the next. This problem seems to have gone away in Bing now that more pages are indexed. Yahoo still has some issues on the Statistics page. Yahoo's webmaster tools will be shut down at some point (a result of the merger into Microsoft), but only traffic data from Yahoo is currently being shown in the Bing tools. I still take a peek in the Yahoo tools to compare pages indexed but that is about it.

Back Links

Back links are links from external sites to your own site. Even being late to the game, Yahoo was the first to register most of the back links to my site. To date, it still has the best list. Bing actually displayed back links similar to what Yahoo registered even before indexing began in earnest. This is possible because most back links are targeted at my home page, the first page to be indexed in all of the search engines.

Google was the last to register back links. This is odd since it started aggressively indexing my site soon after I launched it. I suspect it noticed the back links much sooner but just didn't display them in the webmaster tools. So don't be surprised if this happens to you.

Search Results (SERPs)

I haven't done a thorough evaluation of search results but I have noticed one interesting difference. Google provides the best results so far for long tail keywords that appear on my site. However, Bing and Yahoo provide much better results for searches involving my blog topics (The Lap Pack). I'm not sure why there is a difference. I'm going to pay special attention to this disparity over the next month to see if it is just a fluke or something I should be concerned about.

The Skinny

So if you are just starting out on your own web site adventure, be patient. It will take months for your site to be fully indexed with back links and all of the other things you want the search engines to notice. Start with these steps to get the ball rolling:

  • Make sure your site is easy to navigate for both humans and search engines.
  • Make sure your site is full of rich content with as little repetition as possible. Humans and search engines love this!
  • Register your site with Google, Bing and Yahoo webmaster tools and be sure to provide a link to your site map for each. Do the same for any associated blogs you have.

There are many other things you can do, like immersing yourself in the world of SEO, but the three basic steps above are the most important.

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