Are Bing and Yahoo really more effective search sites than Google?

Experian Hitwise survey indicates Bing, Yahoo have higher search 'success' rate

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A new Experian Hitwise report concludes that Yahoo Search and Microsoft's Bing provide users with a higher search success rate.

That raises an interesting question, which we'll get to in a minute. But first the Experian Hitwise numbers:

* 81.4% of searches using search.yahoo.com -- which is powered by Microsoft's search technology -- resulted in a visit to a website, which Experian deems a "success." That percentage is down ever-so-slightly from 81.63% in June.

* Bing logged a July success rate of 80.4%, down (again, slightly) from 80.6 percent in June.

* Google lagged far behind its two main competitors, with a July success rate of 67.56%, up from 66.63% in June.

Yet Google, despite providing a consistently less "successful" search experience, is the clear market leader, powering 66.05% of all U.S. Internet searches in July. The allegedly more consistent Yahoo and Bing, on the other hand, combined for just 28.05% of U.S. Internet searches in July.

(Fun fact: The remaining 5.9% of U.S. Internet searches in July were split among 73 other search engines. I'm not sure I could name a dozen of them.)

So is Experian's definition of a successful search questionable or is Google a lesser search engine than Bing or Bing-powered Yahoo? If it's the latter, you'd have to wonder how Google has kept its U.S. search market percentage share in the mid to upper 60s for years now.

Loyalty didn't keep Myspace users away from Facebook once they concluded Facebook offered a better social networking experience. And loyalty didn't keep users of AltaVista from abandoning that search engine -- once the topic of heated IPO talk -- about 10 years ago once they decided Google was better.

Do any readers think Bing or Yahoo are better search engines than Google? How about one of the other 73? Feel free to spread the word about your favorites in the comments section below.

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