SurveyMonkey has completed a study examining SEO assumptions where respondents were shown two search result pages, one labeled “Google” and the other labeled “Bing,” and asked to pick their favorite. Google was the clear favorite, even when the page header labels were changed. The survey was conducted using a selection of adults, age 18 to 60 from various locations across the country, a range of education levels, and household incomes ranging from $25,000 to $150,000+.
379 of the 641 survey participants received a survey asking which of two search result pages they preferred. The Google page was chosen by a clear majority of the respondents. A second survey was given to 262 of the survey participants. In this portion of the survey the headers of the search results were swapped with Google results listed as Bing results and Bing results listed as Google results. A majority of those surveyed chose Google results, even though they were actually Bing search results. Therefore, search results are definitely influenced by the brand of the search.
Bottom Line: We are all influenced by brand, but Google is the clear leading brand in Search. Brand dominance, however, is contingent upon continuing to provide the best, or at least equivalent, utility to users. I believe that Google continues to do this, and that Bing/Yahoo has a severe uphill battle to unseat Google as the #1 search engine.