SEW points to YAS (yet another study) which shows that MSN wins in an unscientific relevance test. One would not want to generalize to the billions of results (and infinite queries) that search provides, but if you’re looking for insurance quotes in Ohio, brother, you’re golden. From the study’s intro:
We didn’t start out attempting to figure out which search engines were most relevant, we started out looking for holes in the results. Then we would structure our marketing and search engine optimization projects to fill the holes. This makes it much easier to grab new customers than simply going after the most popular keyword.
To target the holes, we needed to know three things. Which terms to target, where the holes were, and what kind of site was currently filling the hole. Then we could construct a marketing and SEO program that would cost less, and be more effective.
This example was taken from ananalysis for an insurance company in Cincinnati Ohio.
We do our initial research and come up with the twenty search terms for insurance and the types of insurance this company sells. They are most concerned with increasing the auto insurance business.
Our research shows that the most popular term is Cincinnati insurance. We do our research and find that most of the results in the first two pages are well optimized pages, and it’s going to take quite a bit of work to crack.