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What Bing needs to bring to the table in 2011

22 December 2010 BY

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Last monday I had an interesting discussion on Twitter with Paul van Oosterhout and Bart Schuijt about Bing. We were discussing what Bing would need to become a good alternative for Google. We had some ideas ourselves but I decided to involve a few more people on this question. So I started asking people “What does Bing (primarily) need to do in 2011 to become a major competitor for Google?”

Back to the basics

The first response I got from many people was that Bing needs to get better basic results. Although Bing has many great verticals, many of them even better than Google’s, search starts with the basics. When the basic results aren’t satisfying chances are people aren’t going to use the verticals either. They’ll probably just return to Google, no matter how great the verticals are. Maybe they will use the verticals sporadically but people are animals of habit and mostly will stick to one search engine for all their needs.

Better basic results means improving the search algorithm. Improving the search algorithm means investing time, collecting data and testing. Regarding the collection of data Bing obviously has a disadvantage to Google who seem to anticipated the need for data long before Bing. But with the partnership with Yahoo! and Facebook, Bing might just get a boost they need. Of course improving the quality of basic search results is a long term strategy. The focus should not be to become better than Google in the next year, but to become satisfying for the general user and retain the users they already have.

Utilize the verticals

Ask anybody about the strong points of Bing and they are probably going to mention one of the many impressive verticals. Whether it’s the travel vertical, image search or maps, Bing has developed some great verticals. But they don’t exploit this nearly enough. They should promote their verticals much more.

They do not only need more promotion, they primarily need a rollout beyond the US. I know a lot of people in Europe who are very eager to use Bing’s verticals, but here we are stuck with “Live Search with a Bing logo pasted on top of it” (Bas van den Beld). The verticals could be a great way to attract more users and if the basic search is at least satisfying people might just stick with Bing. It’s quite clear Europe is ready for Bing, when will Bing finally be ready for Europe?

Push Bing

No matter how good your search engine is, you have to get users to try it. As mentioned before, the search engine people use is part of their habit. To break that habit is tough but extremely necessary. However, there are ways to get people to use Bing instead of Google.

First of all Bing could target the younger audience to influence their first choice for a search engine. When people choose to use Bing at first and they like what they get, there is no reason for them to switch search engines, as there is no reason for the current Google-users to switch to Bing.

Another way to get users to use Bing is to be the default search engine people get in their browsers, on their phones and wherever they search. This means an investment in becoming (or staying) the default search engine for new PCs, smart phones, browsers, Facebook and other social networks, but also for ISP errors, parked  domains and publishers. In the words of Nichola Stott: They need an extremely aggressive business development strategy.

More?

Of course there’s much more Bing can do to make 2011 the year of Bing. My question to you: What does Bing need to bring to convince you to use it instead of Google?

AUTHORED BY:
h

Jeroen van Eck is a consultant search engine marketing at the online marketing company E-Focus in the Netherlands.
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  • http://www.basvandenbeld.com Bas van den Beld

    FYI, I interviewed Stefan Weitz last year in Berlin about the future of Bing. You can find the video here on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150131767242785

  • http://www.remivanbeekum.nl Remi van Beekum

    I think this article covers most of it. Indeed Bing has some very impresive verticals, but their core search engine isjust not good enough and so people will not switch to them and probably never find out about those verticals.

    In my opinion their ranking system isn’t that bad, but they do a bad job at crawling and at fighting spam. So they need to build a real crawler (this one is a total joke) and start indexing. And their spam filtering needs to be improved. I see too much websites stuffed with keywords or with loads of linkspam still ranking at Bing.

    And the third point they need to work about is internationalization. They seem to have a strategy of first making a good search engine. And than start making it international. I think that’s not a really bad idea, but on the other hand, they may come across some problems later that should be foxed at the core. And the internet isn’t really country-based anyway..

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    Yes Bing is in the shadows of Google, but they can make some changes to become more of an usable search option.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.firstfound-blog.co.uk/ Andy @ FirstFound

    I think they’re trying to push Bing with a massive ad campaign, but Google’s just so all pervasive. Need information? Google it. Need to find directions? Google Maps. Collaborating on a blog post? Google Docs…

    It’ll take a lot to replace Google in the habits of others – and it’s about more than just search.

  • http://nonamills.co.cc/ Nona Mills

    I think this article covers most of it. Indeed Bing has some very impresive verticals, but their core search engine isjust not good enough and so people will not switch to them and probably never find out about those verticals. In my opinion their ranking system isn’t that bad, but they do a bad job at crawling and at fighting spam. So they need to build a real crawler (this one is a total joke) and start indexing. And their spam filtering needs to be improved. I see too much websites stuffed with keywords or with loads of linkspam still ranking at Bing. And the third point they need to work about is internationalization. They seem to have a strategy of first making a good search engine. And than start making it international. I think that’s not a really bad idea, but on the other hand, they may come across some problems later that should be foxed at the core. And the internet isn’t really country-based anyway..

  • http://www.andersfloor.nl Anders Floor

    Bing should not make the mistake that being a good search engine is about being a good search engine. It’s about much more.

    For one thing, it’s about being embraced by the people that create the apps, the sites and the platforms. Reach them and you’ll reach their audience. Google started offering countless of free tools and utilities to developers. Take a look at http://code.google.com/labs/ – the list is endless. Google Maps, Google Feedburner, Google AdSense, Google Analytics etc… they’ve got nothing to do with better search algorithms, but nevertheless everything with strengthening Google.

    Meanwhile, Bing can be disregarded by the entire development community without any fear of missing out on anything. That needs to change. Bing needs to offer tools that are unique, valuable and complementary to their basic search service. If they can’t create it, they should buy it.

    It shouldn’t even be too difficult. Social Media is a place that’s open for business. Everybody worldwide is using it, yet social search still sucks. For example, it’s virtually impossible to find out what people are saying about your brand without paying huge dollars to specialized firms. Where are the search engines? Hello? Bing? Wake up dear. Fortunately Google’s pretty much wrecked every social project they’ve attempted (Orkut? Wave? Buzz?) so there are still chances, but Bing needs to grab this train. Miss it while Google catches it and you’re gone.

  • Pingback: Search in Europe: it's a one company show, focus on the verticals - Search Engines - State of Search()

  • http://www.zulit.com Terry Zulit

    Yeah – really. Bing is currently being successfully over powered by spammers. Especially in the finance game. Do a search for this keyword;

    2500.installment.loan.bad.credit.paydayloangoon.com

    Take a look at the top two pages of results. Identical and the same guy.

    And there hundreds of finance keywords being spammed with ease in Yahoo and Bing. They nothing but a laughing stock at this point, especially after they failed so bad with the PPC merger.

  • Terry Zulit

    Sorry – this is the keyword term. I but one of the spam URLs by accident.

    2500 installment loans

    Wow – now that is a problem.

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