Bing is very social

Bing has a strong relationship with Twitter and Facebook – enough to index “half a billion tweets and two billion Facebook updates every day” and use social signals in assessing authority of pages.

The Intersection Of Search & Social, Casie Gilette, Search Engine Land (Mar 13)

Bing indexes half a billion tweets and two billion Facebook updates every day. Bing also integrates with LinkedIn, Klout, and are looking at Google+ data. That’s a lot of information!

 

According to Forrester, Bing is using all of these social signals to help determine authority. The search engines want to provide the best content from the best people, and social can help them determine who/what that is. Forrester noted that social signals are in fact influencing rankings, but only as part of an overall pattern. For example, when a large number of people are sharing or linking to a site, this attracts Bing’s attention. To determine if it truly has value, they may try to rank it higher and see what happens. He did however say that there is not a direct connection between number of likes and tweets to rankings.

Bing and Google drop search terms

Karen Blakeman asks Is Bing dropping search terms? (Mar 1), and it likely is. Gone are the days when we could count on search engines searching for ALL our terms. Too often our search terms are nowhere to be seen – even on large results sets.

Karen gives two ways to force Bing to include all terms. Interestingly, use the Boolean AND, or the prefix inbody:xxx

At Google we need to use Verbatim search, or intext:xxx. Don’t know about AND.

Bing Saves but for how long?

Bing is testing a bookmarking-page-saving feature called Bing Saves. See this dashboard. It seems to save the page, Pinterest style. Why?

Bing Saves, Search Bookmarking Feature, Now Public Beta, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Mar 4)

Search engines have had bookmarking features before and discontinued them. Of course you have to be signed into your account, and you’re giving Bing information about your interests when you do that. There might be some convenience to this, if you are a big Bing user. But, mark my words, the moment you start to rely on Bing Saves, Bing will close the service. Google and Bing remove features arbitrarily all the time.

Bing for specific niches

Don’t think of Bing as a web search engine you don’t use: think of it as a platform you could use across Microsoft products and especially in MS mobile apps and Windows 8.

How Microsoft is differentiating Bing’s search service, BY GADJO CARDENAS SEVILLA, WHATSYOURTECH.CA vis Calgary Herald (Jan 28)

More recently, Bing’s portfolio of products has expanded into apps and services like Bing Maps, Bing Translator , Bing Weather and Bing News and Sports. …

This categorizing of search into specific niches allows for better targeting of intended users. On the web, these specialized sections and Windows 8 apps , manage to feel friendlier, more user targeted and lifestyle oriented.

Yahoo and referrer data

Yahoo is changing all search to secure servers where the referrer is not recorded – meaning loss of referred data such as search terms for search marketers.

Yahoo Search Goes Secure, Taking Referrer Data — An Indicator Of Yahoo’s Popularity — With It, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Jan 22)

In fact, this is another piece to a shift by all search engines to reduce referrer data except for advertisers.

Score points for Bing

Do any of these  five things that Bing is said to do better than Google impress you?  From Five Things Bing Does Better Than Google, Lifehacker (Dec 16)

  • Prices on air flights – claims to be able to forecast increases.
  • Video search – Bing does have better display and search filtering aids. Try it.  Image search has topical filters too.
  • Find online courses at a university (presumably US) – No – doesn’t work for me.
  • Filtering images by usage license – simply select the tab. It is true that Google’s is difficult to find.
  • Bing rewards for using it.
  • Search operators:linkfromdomain  (only if you do SEO).
    contains – unique to Bing.  – as in contains:ppt nanotechnology – would find a page about nanotechnology that links to a powerpoint. Frankly, though, if you really want a ppt on nanotechnology – look for filetype:ppt intitle:nanotechnology – do that at  Google or Bing.

Here’s another — Bing offers live help if your query looks difficult. Haven’t seen Google ever do that.

Bing Help Guide

Bing Help Guide

Bing and TripAdvisor

Great – use Bing for travel searches and get TripAdvisor content.

Bing Integrates TripAdvisor Tools, Content Into Search Results, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Nov 21)

Bing will now display TripAdvisor reviews and photos as well as TripAdvisor’s hotel price comparison tool in SERPs. TripAdvisor’s full content library including restaurants, hotels and attractions will reportedly be available to Bing.

For example, on my search for Palm Springs, Bing gives me:

  • vistpalmsprings.com
  • wikipedia
  • tripadvisor with access to over 47,000 reviews

Google has:

  • visitpalmsprings.com
  • www.ci.palm-springs.ca.us
  • visitpalmsprings.com – again
  • wikipedia
  • and in 7th spot tripadvisor

Good as the placement is in Bing, I will likely search tripadvisor directly.

How close is concept-based web search?

How far into concept-based web search have Google and Bing moved? It’s hard to say.  Likely Google is further along with in than Bing – as we see in this posting by Bill Slawski, Concept Based Web Search (SEO by the SEA, Nov 4).  Bing acquired Powerset several years ago, noted for its support of semantic, meaning-filled search on Wikipedia.  But Slawski notes that there is no sign that Bing uses it today – although Bing has some white papers on the concept knowledge base Probase.  Of interest –

In short, how Probase works is to take a searcher’s query and sort it into possible term sequences that might include concepts, entities, attributes and keywords. It may then identify the intent (or the semantics) of those term sequences based upon a set of query patterns.

Slawski had proposed in 2012 that we should learn how to do concept-based web seach and do less keyword searching — Should You be Doing Concept Research Instead of Keyword Research? (May 28, 2012).  It seems Bing  has stalled. What about Google? We’ll have to wait for Bill Slawski to figure it out for us.

Bing Twitter Connection

Bing maintains its strong connection with Twitter to support its social search.

Bing Renews Its Firehose Deal With Twitter, TechCrunch (Nov 1)

Unlike Google, Bing has made social search a cornerstone of its strategy. Its close relationship with Facebook has long given it the ability to highlight posts from the popular social network, as well as from Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Foursquare, Klout and other services in its social sidebar. With Bing’s latest redesign, which dropped the number of columns on its search results pages from three to two, the social sidebar now features even more prominently on the site.