Search Engine Satisfaction Dips Slightly; Google & Bing Effectively Tied

Look out, Google. In the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index for search engines, Bing has practically matched the search leader’s consumer satisfaction score for the second year in a row, with Ask.com not that far behind.

Bing Barely Behind Google

The scores look like this:

  • Google: 82 points
  • Bing: 81 points
  • Ask.com: 80 points
  • Yahoo: 78 points

On the ASCI scale, 100 would be a perfect score. Google earned 82, or what I’d call a B letter grade. But Bing was just behind by one point, and that makes it effectively tied with Google. Writes ACSI:

Once trailing Google by three points, Bing is now just one point behind Google in terms of customer satisfaction, which is within the margin of error and means that they are neck-and-neck in terms of providing their users with an excellent customer experience.

One aspect users liked about Bing was its design. ACSI noted:

When asked: “What do you like best about this search engine site?,” a full 55% of those surveyed about Bing liked Bing’s ease of use more than any other search engine.

Before assuming that Bing’s recent redesign deserves credit here, keep in mind that Bing is down a point from last year (as is Google). The redesign (which I like) didn’t seem to improve Bing’s score, nor did the increasing complexity of Google’s search page seem to have hurt Gogle, given that Bing had the same drop.

This Year Like Last Year

All in all, it was really a year of nothing largely changing. Yahoo also dropped a single point from the previous year. Ask.com stayed steady. The overall trend:

Yahoo’s challenging, because the ACSI category measures “Portals & Search Engines.” Are customers considering Yahoo as a search engine or portal? It’s not clear. Also measured are MSN (78 points this year) and AOL (74 points). I’ve not listed them, as they seem much more firmly in the portal camp.

Search Satisfaction Drops Slightly

Overall, search satisfaction also stayed about the same, dropping only a point from 80 last year to 79 this year:

The overall rate still hasn’t matched the high of 83 points in 2009. However, ACSI said that the Portals & Search Engines category is the highest rated one in its E-Business Index, which includes internet news and information sites, portals and search engines and social media sites.

ACSI also released new social media satisfaction scores today. See our story on that: Google+ Debuts With ACSI Consumer Satisfaction Score Well Above Facebook’s.

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://twitter.com/ContentAxis Content Axis

    Hope in future too Bing will do the same. In fact now there are every possibilities that Google may lose its dominance on search engine arena. There are many players who are doing great job these days. Start-up search engines like DuckDuckGo and Blecko are doing pretty well when it comes to user satisfaction and protecting user privacy. Google is being condemned by people for it’s sneaking nature.

  • http://twitter.com/MariyaJames Mariya James

    Thats great that Bing is just one point behind from Google which shows that in future there are chances for Bing to dominate the market like Google(presently dominating search all engines) is now.

  • http://twitter.com/i_praveensharma Praveen Sharma

    Bing is making news from past two years and steadily improving their search market share, satisfaction score. That’s really a positive sign for them. But still, when it comes to search market dominance, Google is far ahead and Bing has a lot to do more to be around there.

  • Durant Imboden

    Bing and other second-tier search engines will need to do better than “almost as good as the leader” if they want to unseat Google. They need to find product differentiators that will give searchers a reason to use them. Example: (I always thought Yahoo’s slider that let users shift the SERP’s emphasis from commercial to informational or vice versa was a great idea. If Yahoo had done a better job of making its users aware of that feature, maybe Yahoo wouldn’t be in such desperate straits today.)

  • RobsInternetMarketingReviews

    Bing seems to be developing a little bit of a cult “cool” factor these days – I know the spiderman thing was blatant product placement but I’ve heard in the media and just around people are using the term ‘bing’ as a verb in place of Goog. Especially some hip techno personalities and other younger people who like to go against the grain. 
    Is Google in danger of becoming “my parents search engine”? haha maybe not anytime soon but young people will always want to be different and if there is one thing that is true of popularity, it’s that people love to see you fall from grace!

    Rob
    RobsInternetMarketingReviews.com

  • Alan

    At the moment I find things on Bing they I seem to have lost on Google. There are searches I have done for 8 years or more on Google that in the last year do not turn up the results I used to count on. Mostly Photoshop walkthroughs. I now have to go to Bing to find those walkthroughs as Google doesn’t bring them up anymore. After 8 years of doing the same searches to all of a sudden not see the results I was expecting is kind of a surprise. I guess I should have bookmarked the walkthroughs 8 years ago.

  • Alan

    Rob I love that meme of Matt Cutts on your site! Had me laughing!

  • http://twitter.com/RosalindWGarret Rosalind W. Garrett

    the same searches to all of a sudden not see the results I was expecting is kind of a surprise. I guess I should have bookmarked the walkthroughs 8 years ago. http://AlluringWay.blogspot.com

  • kad01

    Bing is doing amazing still there is a long way to go before it could possibly be equally compared with Google but then Google is also fast developing. Who knows!
    Amazing article! Thanks a lot!
    tech information

  • http://www.gudipudi.com Gudipudi

    But Ask.com? is it still being treated as a search engine ?

  • dsleno

    I’m not surprised.  Especially in long tail niche searches, blending social results often leads to the promotion of timely but low quality content, which bumps more relevant results off the front page. If I want videos, or tweets, or blogs,  let me refine my search. Tossing them all together is just annoying.

  • dsleno

    Yes I think they are in danger of becoming the Oldsmobile of the search engine world. With FB and Twitter and other closed social systems, there’s lots of things that Google can’t index.  Since Penguin, I find that Google provides more diversity and timeliness in results, but too often those signals get ahead of quality.

  • RobsInternetMarketingReviews

    hehe yeah I thought it was pretty hilarious

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.marshall.144181 Steve Marshall

    Ask is Google and Yahoo is Bing, so why are they broken out separately?  Battle of the logos?

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