Articles written in September, 2012

September 20 2012

Bing Seeks to Prove Its Search Relevance with Bing it On


In a cheeky nod to the 1980s, Bing has initiated its very only Pepsi Challenge-esque blind taste test — Bing it On.

Bing it On prompts users to enter search terms in an elegantly designed page and asks users to choose which SERPs they like the best in five rounds.

The results may be completely antidotal, but Bing doesn’t think so. Bing says that users are choosing their results over Google’s two-to-one. That’s a powerful claim, but not one that can be independently verified.

What this does prove, if anything, is that Bing has upped its game. Its SERPs are no longer as visual as they once were. Instead, they’re giving people more of what they want — information — with an algorithm that seems to put variety first, and influence second.

What this means for marketers is that, more and more, search is segmented. While Google is still the leader, Bing is making an effort to bring more eyeballs its way — an effort that, if these search stats are any indication, will probably pay off over time.

It’s also a good reminder that, while those of us in the tech world may be Google-centric, the rest of the world may not be. And if you still want to be relevant to the rest of the world, it’s time to start taking Bing seriously.

September 11 2012

Search Resurgence by Bing


In a divisive battle between Google and Bing, the two search giants have both made incredible strides in search quality over the past few years. Although Google has held a vast majority of the market share for quite some time, Bing is determined to change search engine user perspectives and garner a bigger piece of the pie. This competition is becoming exceedingly beneficial to business owners with a strong web presence. As the search landscape grows, it is of the utmost importance not to commit your attention to Google alone.

Bing has become so incredibly confident in the quality of their search engine that they have even launched an online challenge with Google. This challenge titled Bing It On was introduced by Bing on September 6th and gives users the ability to perform a search while obtaining results by both Google and Bing in a side by side comparison. Many people might remember a similar test called the Pepsi challenge. Most elements which could identify the search engines has been stripped and allows for a truly blind comparison. After each search the user is asked to choose which results page was more helpful. After 5 searches the users is informed of which search engine they preferred or if there was a draw.

Although this challenge will certainly not give Bing a major boost in search engine market share overnight, it may greatly help their reputation. There is no doubt that Bing is more of a major player than ever. Microsoft’s director of Bing Stefan Weitz was even quoted as saying “if you strip the brands off and show people the results side by side we knew we’d win.”
The table below shows the most recent search share results from comScore. Although Bing is clearly lagging behind Google, they are making strides to catch up.

This will be a long and arduous fight for search engine dominance, but users and business owners can benefit greatly in the meantime. The increase in search quality by both engines will highlight companies that adhere to strict SEO best practices standards and grow their web foot print. If you publish unique and quality content, maintain a search engine friendly site, and abide by SEO best practices then a Bing resurgence can be a great traffic driver for your website.

September 10 2012

Increasing Click-Through Ratios with Better Looking Search Results


Better search rankings are an admirable goal for any website. But the best rankings aren’t very useful if no one is clicking on your listings and helping you meet your conversion goals. The landscape of search engine results pages (SERPs) has changed dramatically over the years — a trend that’s likely to continue. When your listing is competing with images, maps, Google Knowledge Graph, and other dynamic SERP elements, it helps when your listing stands out from the crowd. To get an edge, use these tips to improve the appearance of your SERP listings:

Improve your Metadata — Oftentimes, your metadata is a user’s first impression of your site. You may have optimized your metadata while implementing your SEO strategy. But, it may be worth revisiting — especially description tags. Description tags don’t carry weight for determining SERP ranking, but they are critical in convincing users to click-through to your site. Write compelling descriptions that include a call to action and one or two keywords (if a user searched for these terms, they will be bolded in the description tag and draw the user’s attention). Many sites let Google pull text from the page to create a description, but this is usually unhelpful for users. Get a leg up and increase your click-through rates with punchy description tags.

Use Rich Snippets — Although rich snippets have been around for more than a year, adoption has been rather slow among websites. Rich snippets modify your description with relevant information and images. Not only is this very helpful for users, but it also makes your search listing pop on the page. Google has useful information for understanding and leveraging rich snippets on your website.

Optimize for Site Links — Site links appear under your listing and direct users to your most useful and popular pages. They are perhaps the best way to maximize a listing’s real estate on a SERP:

As you can see, a listing with site links gets nearly three times the space as a regular listing. Unfortunately, site links are an automated feature, so there is no code you can add to your site to generate them. But, if your site is well optimized, you increase the likelihood that Google will display them. Set up a Google Webmaster Tools account and submit your URL and site map for starters. You’ll also want to rectify any site errors you have.

By following these tips, you probably won’t increase the position of any of your pages, but you’ll attract more attention and clicks to for your listings; so it’s worth the effort.

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