Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is MSN Better for Business than Google?

Is MSN Better for Business than Google?
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Most search engine comparison tables will show you usage statistics that are something like this:

64% Google

14% Yahoo

14% MSN

08% AOL, All the Web, and all others combined

Those are simple search engine usage statistics. While they might be accurate as far as how much a search engine is used there is a much bigger picture to consider, especially if you own a business Website.

Let me give you an example. I just met with a local florist last month to help him figure out why his pay-per-click numbers seemed so skewed. Although 70% of his visits came from Google Adsense, only 30% of his sales came from those leads. While MSN only supplied 28% of his traffic, it generated 64% of his sales. That's almost exactly opposite what you would assume. Why is this?

There are a number of reasons but here are the main ones...

1) MSN is the default search engine on any new Windows installation. With more people aged 55 plus getting new computers, they generally stick with the default home page of MSN.com.

2) MSN is often the preferred choice for many small business owners and working professionals due to the information available at a glance on the MSN.com home page, such as stock info, breaking news, and anything else you want to customize.

3) MSN has a higher number of users in the age specific financial sweet zones of 34 to 54 and 55 plus than Yahoo or Google. MSN also has more income earners between $30K and $100K than Google or Yahoo.

And a bit more generally, Google seems to be the cool place where kids, teens and tweens go for info. That's perfect if your business caters to this market but if you're looking for the credit card holder who has better stuff to do than surf the Web and wants to make the purchase and move on, then MSN is a good bet.

So how can you start to benefit in time for the holidays? (And yes. I know Thanksgiving is this week.) Here are your best two bets:

The Pay Per Click Method

You can setup an adCenter account at https://adcenter.microsoft.com/ and start getting targeted traffic right away. The drawback of course, is that you are paying for leads. The upside is that the chances of having kids click on your links just out of curiosity are pretty slim.

Organic Search Engine Optimization

MSN is the easiest search engine of all to get natural search engine ranking on and one of the more famous SEO experts, Dave Kelly, even developed a method specifically to get on top of MSN quickly, called Search Engine Loophole http://www.SELoophole.com ($67.) BTW, I found it also works on Yahoo for quick top 3 results.

So, to summarize, it's worth it to take a closer look at MSN. While it might not be the most popular in the world, chances are it is popular with those who want to buy what you are selling.

Mike Small is a ten year veteran SEO specialist and founder of http://www.SEOpartner.com .

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