Get Ready to Bing it On!

If you’ve visited Bing’s home page recently, you’ll see a “challenge” at the very top:

Clicking on this challenge will take you to “Bing It On“, where Bing and Google are pitted against each other in the ultimate search-off (of sorts).

According to the Bing Team, people chose Bing search results over Google’s nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests. Their research is based on a representative sample pool of over 1000 participants. Very impressive… but that wasn’t the case when we took the challenge. Check out our results here, where we only favored Bing 1 out of 5 times.

Breaking it down even more, we ran additional challenges in different categories to see how the two search engines matched up:

– Restaurant and food searches in specific locations: Google clearly had the upper hand with microformat markup which displays the visually appealing 5 star ratings.
News searches (such as The Emmy’s  and the Endeavour space shuttle): Both Google and Bing were closely matched displaying the main search topics with recent news stories underneath.
How-to and tutorials (such as how to change a tire and how to make pizza): Google and Bing were also evenly matched with a diverse amount of instructions and videos from different sources.

Of course, there are many other tests you can run and different search combinations you can try. This little experiment is a great way PR move for Bing when so many have expressed public distrust and disappointment in Google’s search results. Make sure to take the challenge for yourself and let us know what you think of the outcome!

Bing and Yahoo: Other Pieces of the Pie

If the Panda and Penguin updates have got you feeling down about organic search engine marketing, there might be some hope. Instead of waiting for algorithm updates to fix your website, your time could be spent analyzing and optimizing for Bing and Yahoo. By the way, Matt Cutts has said that the next Penguin update will be “big”!

I know what you’re thinking, Google dominates about 66% of all searches… but what about the rest? Don’t be so quick to brush of the other search engines! (FYI Yahoo results are now powered by Bing.) Take a look at some benefits of optimizing for Bing and Yahoo and why you might want to look into it:

Bing Disavow Links Tool – In order to help fight negative SEO and give you more control of your link building efforts, Bing has recently launched this tool. This feature allows you to block link juice from unnatural or suspicious sources that your business isn’t associated with. Hopefully, Google will get a hint and help SEOs out soon!

Bing and Yahoo Go Hand in Hand – Since summer of 2010, Yahoo results are powered by Bing. Tada, you’ll get a 2 for 1 bonus if that’s where you want to focus!

Different Search Algorithm – Since Bing and Yahoo run on a different formula than Google, this can be used to your advantage. For example, the other search engines seem to favor older domains more than Google does. In some cases, this also holds true for an emphasis on exact match domains (in case your URL is older and you chose it early on.) No need to worry about that just yet with Bing and Yahoo. As for title tags, Bing and Yahoo will stick with the ones you chose, unlike Google who chooses what they think is better.

Target Audience – Depending on your industry and audience, it could be helpful to optimize for Bing and Yahoo as well. Many people are still stuck using Yahoo while others have sworn off Google in favor of Bing. Google isn’t the only one even though all this algorithm update news have made SEOs obsessed with it.

Before you go crazy trying to optimize for these other search engines, it will be more useful to track/analyze where you are first before going all out. Make milestones of what is worth and not worth pursuing. Optimizing for search engines should always be the second thing in the back of your head, people being first. Even though a giant like Google can be frustrating and cloud your goals, it’s helpful to keep your assets on Bing and Yahoo and possibly work harder top optimize them for further staying power in SERPs.

organic search engine marketing

Microsoft Gets So.Cl

microsoft so.cl

If you heard that Microsoft has launched a social networking site, the first idea that comes into mind that it’s a competitor to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Wrong. In their own words, Microsoft So.cl is an “experimental research project” and the goal is to help users search for, express and share ideas through collages.

So.Cl’s Quiet Unveiling
So.cl actually launched in December of last year and was aimed at students. No surprise here – So.cl is powered by Bing, which pulls visual content that can be added as a story to the community. Like visual and viral trends seen on Twitter and Pinterest, So.cl is meant to be a place where the stories are amplified and classified by specific interests. Of course, this social community isn’t for just any user and it’s completely self-aware of the fact as it still clearly touts a “Microsoft Research” banner under the logo.

The Power of Visuals
Looking through the site, you’ll see a common theme of discussion, sharing and discovering. Instead of the me-centric attitudes of other social networking sites, So.cl is interest-based. And it’s not just about finding and sharing pictures, you can also post news articles and video. Speaking of, another interesting feature is Video Party where you can group chat with your others while watching YouTube videos. Again, these video parties are based on a specific topic, so you’ll be watching and commenting in real time. (Kinda reminds you of the early, good-ole AOL chatroom days, doesn’t it?)

What’s Your Impression?
While I appreciate So.cl’s subtle introduction and differentiation from other social networks, it’s not really clear if this site can hold it’s all against the giants. But then again, So.cl doesn’t claim to be a game changer. I guess we can only wait and see what direction it takes on next. Like with many social media sites, privacy is a concern. Did you know what your friends are able to view your search history? Be wary of your questionable searches! Besides that, nothing else really stands out in my mind. What do you think of So.cl?

Bing’s New Portal for Your Local Business

Google has its Places and Bing now has its Business Portal.

If you’re looking for another effective (and free) way to enhance your local business’ online presence, you should take advantage of Bing’s new feature. Just like with Google or Yahoo, you can claim and verify your business listing online.

Social Media Links

Next, you can fill out all the details of your business. There’s all the usual things: hours, logo, services, photos but you can also add links to your social media profiles – which is pretty cool!

Mobile Options and Specialties

If you happen to own a restaurant, Bing has a feature that I’ve never seen before: optimizing a menu for mobile devices.
For any business owner, you can also go into more detail about what products and services you offer by choosing a category and adding specialties. The keywords you add here will help with your SEO efforts.

Promotions

And of course, no local listings should be complete without an option for promotions. With Bing Business Portal, you can add coupons and other special deals that will help bring traffic to your place of business.  You also have the extra option of promoting these deals in Bing search results, your business listing and even on your Facebook Page!

If you’re a local business owner and haven’t taken advantage of this free tool yet, what are you waiting for?

Competition Among Top Search Engines

Google Dominates

Google continues to dominate as the top search engine in the United States. While a select few reign over the search engine industry, there is a great range between the top three largest companies. As of September 2009, about 70.5% of users use Google, 17% used Yahoo! and 9.3% sided with Bing. With such discrepancies, the number two and three search engines are losing a great deal of market share to the Google giant. In the past, Google and Microsoft have been fiercely competitive. From competing web browsers to applications, Microsoft has jumped directly into Google’s game with the unveiling of their new search engine in summer of 2009.

Does Bing Size Up?

The commercials seem promising, but does Bing really size up to Google? Formerly Windows Live Search and MSN Search, the new search engine has boldly labeled themselves as the “decision engine”. Some experts believe that Bing is a great improvement from what it used to be, and that it has the potential to threaten Google’s success. While the size of that threat is arguable, Bing offers relevant results that are competitive to those of Google. Another obstacle for Bing to overcome is attempting to win over loyal Google users. Bing is relatively young to Google and time will tell whether or not their technology and measurable marketing efforts will pay off.

New Competitors

Although Google is all we hear about when it comes to search engines, the market outside of the United States is drastically different. For example, did you know that AltaVista is the number one preferred search engine in Canada? The Swiss prefer Abacho, while China is no stranger to altogether banning access to Google. Google is great at recognizing competitors and making valuable additions to their company. Did you know that Google acquired Google Earth from a smaller company in 2004? New technology is emerging all the time and Google is definitely keeping their eyes peeled for new competitors.