PPC, Local and what people think about Bing

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  • June 2, 2009

Reading what people are saying about Bing is fascinating because every criticism of the results I’ve seen is based on something other than the actual algorithm.

Some bloggers are saying that Bing doesn’t have the right sponsored links showing up which is interesting because that isn’t the core feature of a search engine. Google has set the bar very high with AdWords because the adverts are so relevant and high quality that people actually find them useful. The fact Google spends a lot of time promoting and refining the system to entice as many advertisers as possible gives AdWords a huge inventory advantage over anybody else.

Another major issue will be local results – Google is on a mission with the enhanced local dashboard to get as many local companies signed up to Google Local as possible so they can build a huge inventory of accurate data. Microsoft needs to offer something better if they want to compete.

The Mirror has an interesting analysis of the iPhone 3G search results saying that:

we’re not getting the information we’d like to see thrown up when we type in a heavily searched for product, like iPhone 3G or Palm Pre: just a few sponsored links at the top.

Bing shows the following results for “iPhone 3G“:

  • www.apple.com/iphone
  • www.apple.com/uk/iphone
  • www.o2.co.uk/iphone
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone
  • reviews.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/​0,39030107,49297328,00.htm
  • shop.o2.co.uk/promo/​iphoneindex/Pay_And_Go/​3G
  • www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/19/​3g_​iphone
  • shop.o2.co.uk/promo/iphoneindex
  • store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_​iphone/family/​iphone
  • www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/index.cfm?​ReviewID=2145

While Google shows:

  • www.apple.com/uk/iphone/
  • www.apple.com/iphone/
  • www.o2.co.uk/iphone
  • www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/3357867/The-Apple-iPhone-3G-and-me.html
  • www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/211809/apple-iphone-3g.html
  • news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7443543.stm
  • stuff.tv/Review/Apple-iPhone-3G/
  • www.trustedreviews.com/apple/news/2008/06/09/iPhone-3G-The-Full-Details-Disappointments/p1

I actually think the Bing results are better in this case if you want to buy an iPhone although if you want a review then perhaps the Google results are better. Certainly nobody could say one set was better than the other.

Microsoft needs to figure out exactly what people want when they search – from what people are saying so far it’s not the organic results that matter. The way to win the search war seems to be by building an inventory of Local, PPC, Shopping, Image and Video results and Google is unstoppable in that respect.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

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