AlyssaS - 7:00 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
our combined strength should be put to use IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER ENGINE to split the traffic
The problem is that you are never going to get consensus on which engine to promote!
Take me for instance. I rank best on Yandex.com - really really well, hogging #1 and #2 for some competitive terms.
My next best is Google - where I rank quite well - not as well as I'd like to, obviously, and no where near as well as on Yandex!
Then Bing, where I don't do as well as in G.
Finally I don't rank well at all in Blekko and DuckDuckGo - they prefer all manner of spam to me!
So of course my choice of the alternate engine to promote would be Yandex.
But others may prefer to promote DuckDuckGo, still others may prefer Bing, and those doing well on G at the moment will push G as hard as they can!
See the problem?
Say four engines made it and each got equal share - Yandex, Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Because their algos appear to be so different, you would have to choose which to optimise for. So you have to consciously say "I'm going to forgo 50% of traffic". And even with two engines you absolutely have to rank for to stand a chance, you would always be second guessing yourself that what you do for one engine doesn't hurt you with the other.
The all-or-nothing with G sometimes feels easier as you have the potential to make a killing if you crack it.