But Its Not Google – AKA Bing
So a couple of websites have been flinging around the fact that Bing is actually an acronym for “But Its Not Google”. Well that much I’m sure of but what can Bing offer the web world that is different from its previous incarnations (MSN, Live and Kumo)?
First of all Bing takes a page out of Wolfram Alpha’s book by calling itself not a search engine but a “decision engine”. One thing I did notice while doing some research is that Wikipedia is not given nearly as much priority in Bing as it is in Google. This has an impact for SEO because suddenly we can actually rank our clients in top place for informational based searches (in Bing at least) without those pesky Wikipedia entries.
[Speak for yourself buddy, my clients always outrank the weed of the internet! – Kate]
Some of the features have not yet been rolled out in Australia yet. Below is an example of a Bing search made from Australia for “John Howard”.
Probably the most significant change is that Bing now organises search results into categories, however this is one example of Bing Functionality that has yet to be rolled out in Australia, the following search engine results page appears on the same “John Howard” search but conducted through a US proxy:
Note the category menu on the left hand navigation bar, it will be interesting to see how long before all of Bing’s functionality is rolled out worldwide. Another interesting fact that comes out of the launch of Bing is that they are using Yellow pages to render their maps and local listings, could this be the boost that Yellow Pages has needed for the past few years ?
I found a pretty cool feature on the image search section whereby the scrolling is infinite i.e. you never get to the bottom more and more images kept appearing, well up to 1000 images anyway, this is a blessing for someone who hates hitting the next button. The news functionality is pretty limited and cannot even be compared to the Google news functionality. Some really cool features Bing offers are:
• Watch video preview in search results
• Find web pages that link to documents, MP3s, Videos, zips
• Save images & pictures as your search the web
• Get live search results as RSS Feeds
• Limit your search to website that offer RSS Feeds
You can find out how to do all of these functions at this Windows Live Search (now Bing) Tricks blog post.
It seems that Microsoft has included some of Powerset’s LSI features in Bing to help with the analysis of search queries in terms of deciphering what the searcher is actually after. One nifty feature is the mini snippet you get when you hover the mouse over the right hand side of any results, below is an example:
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land did a very thorough side by side analysis of Google and Bing with some searches, the main point to take away from this analysis is that Bing does offer results that are highly competitive with Google and in some cases it offers features that are more user-friendly. In addition Microsoft’s API will allow programmers to use the many powerful features of Bing within their own applications. I found a great mash up here, which allows you to view both Google and Bing’s search results. See how cool this is:
In terms of design, I like it, I like it alot. It does borrow pretty significantly from both Live search and Google but the whole minimalistic design with the constantly changing background picture creates a simple yet enjoyable and dynamic interface.
In terms of how Bing is going to affect our search engine optimisation efforts, that question is actually fairly difficult to answer. Apparently Bing indexes pages that have a 301 re-direct on them as opposed to the page it is directing traffic to. This Bing review notes that “Bing depends more on the location of the content, jobs, product reviews, travel decisions and health keywords. This may mean that content heavy blogs may just miss the Bing boat”. Thoughts on Bing as Related to SEO & Optimization blog entry on Bing comes up with the following conclusions regarding Bing and SEO:
• Inbound Anchor Text seems to be weighted heavily
• Lots of weight seem to be given to keywords in domain names
• It seems fairly similar to the old MSN and Live Search
• It does not value general domain weight/trust as much as Google
• The title of a listing will sometimes feature inbound anchor text instead of the
• All-Flash or Mostly-Flash sites seem to rank better than in Google.
• Displaying “Search History” underneath “Related Searches” so that you can easily return to a search that may have been helpful to you before.
What is clear that so far is that Bing is much better than its previous evolution, namely Live search, is it good enough to dethrone Google? No, however it might just have a chance of taking some of Google and in particular Yahoo’s market share. In addition it puts Microsoft back on the right track in terms of the web as a whole.