On May 28, 2009 Microsoft Ad Network unveiled Bing. Bing is a new decision engine and consumer brand that is set to provide searchers with the initial step in moving beyond search to help make quicker decisions while online (hence decision making engine). Bing was designed to do more than what current search engines do. Instead of having to click through a listing to see a website, Bing goes to the next step by providing a summary of a website with a preview tool. This enables users to quickly decide which website matches their query by eliminating clicks in and out of different sites. The user experience and instinctive tools were intended to help consumers make better and faster decisions and focuses on four major areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.
Bing is here to help users easily navigate through the overload of information on the web. Part of Microsoft’s study that helped the creation of Bing included results from a custom comScore Inc. study across core search engines which shows that as many as 30 percent of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result. The data also indicated that approximately two-thirds of the remaining searches required a refinement or re-query on the search results page.
As Microsoft began building Bing, they kept in mind an understanding of how people really want to use the Web. Bing is Microsoft’s first step toward an effort to bring advancements in search that enables people to find information swiftly and use the information they’ve found to accomplish tasks and make smarter decisions. If you are already a Microsoft Ad Network customer, your ads are being exposed to the searchers of Bing. So depending on your product, you may want to modify your existing ads and make sure that you have strong, straight to the point call to actions for an engine that promotes quick decisions.
Exact match allows your ads to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase without any other terms in the query. With phrase match, your ads will appear when a user searches on that phrase. Searches can contain other terms before or after the query as long as the query includes the exact phrase of your keyword. Broad match allows your ads to appear when a user’s search query contains the keyword, in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations.
These are the match types that we are all most familiar with. However, Yahoo’s match types, advanced and standard do not fall in line with the other major engines. Advanced (the default) selects and displays ads for a broad range of searches based on your keywords, ad titles, ad descriptions, and/or web content. Standard shows ads based on exact matches to your keywords. It also takes into account singular or plural variations and common misspellings of your keywords.
Why does match type even matter, you may ask yourself? Match types allow you the control to filter out irrelevant traffic, thus driving more specific queries to you. Each match type will have its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you used advanced match in Yahoo, you will have an opportunity to generate high levels of traffic. One disadvantage is that your ads will be served on what Yahoo deems as related content. Even though you aren’t bidding on the specific word, your ad could still be displayed. For example, if your website had content related to shoe accessories, your ad might show when someone searches for “shoe repair”. Standard is the other option in Yahoo. It is more similar to exact, except your ads will display for misspellings and plurals of the keyword. One benefit to using this match type is you have more control of when your ads will be shown. Standard will limit the amount of irrelevant clicks. However, using standard will also limit your traffic.
When creating accounts in Yahoo, the default match type is advanced. If you are thinking about using standard, change the match type at the account level, campaign level and ad group level. Determining your advertising goals prior to setting match types will help you capture the amount and type of traffic you are seeking.
Last week, in a rare unified move, all three major search engines announced support for a new “canonical URL tag” designed to help search engines understand a website with multiple URLs displaying the same content. Basically, all a site owner needs to do is add this tag to the head section of all versions of a duplicated page. So, for example, this tag:
would be added to the head section of all the versions of the same page shown below:
By adding the canonical tag to all these potential versions of the page, it tells search engines that all these URLs are essentially the same page and should be treated as such. This allows them to easily determine which page should be listed and at the same time ensure that all the linking value for these pages is preserved and combined under one URL.
The introduction of this new tag provides an alternate way for site owners to address duplicate content issues created by the way their site is designed. Up until now, the only solution that worked for all three search engines was to restrict the access of the robots to duplicate pages using instructions in the robots.txt file, robots meta tags or both. Any website owners that have been using the robots meta tag or robots.txt file to deal with this and who decide to switch to the tag will need to remove any instructions restricting access to duplicated pages from their robots.txt files and/or remove the robots meta tags so that search engines can find the new canonical URL tags.
Unfortunately, for some websites, using the robots meta tags and robots.txt file may continue to be the only viable solution to duplicate content, because although this new tag addresses the issue of which page should be indexed, it does not resolve the crawling problem associated with duplicate URLs. Since search engine robots do not realize that these pages are all the same until after they have been crawled and indexed, they may still waste valuable crawling time accessing the same content and potentially delaying the indexing of unique content. Furthermore, all three search engines have indicated that they will view the canonical URL tag as a “suggestion” and will still be using alternate means to determine which URL should be displayed in duplicate content situations. This is why the best course of action is not to give search engine duplicate URLs in the first place and using robots.txt, robots meta tags or the canonical URL tag should only be used if there is no way to program the site to be search engine friendly.
More details about this new tag can be found here: