When looking through the StatCounter stats for a couple of sites this morning, I noticed a trend in the keyword terms that had never really been apparent to me before. I won't divulge the exact term, but I rank number 2 on Yahoo for the term Student *blank*. On Google, I rank at position 8. (Bear in mind that this is a long(er)tail phrase that I never intentionally tried to rank for, so I'v no idea how the page suits Yahoo still well when the term that I do want to rank for is much lower in Yahoo)
Despite being higher in the rankings, I never see any visitors coming to the website from Yahoo for that term, yet plenty coming over from Google. This got me thinking- are there some search engines that are more favoured by certain groups than others, and if so, what does it mean for the webmaster? The (admittedly relatively very small) sample that I have at hand would suggest that the ratio of students or prospective students using Google is far higher than that of students using Yahoo. It might also point to a slightly worrying indication that we're growing up in a 'Google World' where G becomes the first and only search engine that younger people use in schools and home.
Has anyone else noticed similar, or completely different, trends? If so, do you optimize your sites to meet the needs, or use the advertising system of, your target audience's favoured search engine?