Posts Tagged ‘ Bing

Google & Bing Disagree On Rel=Canonical Implementation

Google vs Bing Rel=Canonical

Bing recently posted an article:  Managing redirects – 301s, 302s and canonicals

As someone that works with Enterprise level sites on a regular basis, I deal with duplicate content & the canonical tag a lot. What really jumped out in Duanne’s article is this (emphasis added is my own):

Something else you need to keep in mind when using the rel=canonical is that it was never intended to appear across large numbers of pages.  We’re already seeing a lot of implementations where the command is being used incorrectly.  To be clear, using the rel=canonical doesn’t really hurt you.  But, it doesn’t help us trust the signal when you use it incorrectly across thousands of pages, yet correctly across a few others on your website.

A lot of websites have rel=canonicals in place as placeholders within their page code.  Its best to leave them blank rather than point them at themselves.  Pointing a rel=canonical at the page it is installed in essentially tells us “this page is a copy of itself.  Please pass any value from itself to itself.  No need for that.

This surprised me as it contradicts what we’ve been told by Google, and also contradicts my opinions on best practices for the canonical tag. I have a deep respect for Duanne, so I’m only raising this as an issue because the rel=canonical tag is supposed to be jointly supported by Google & Bing, yet we’re getting very different direction on how it should be used.

For instance, in this Google Webmaster Help video (H/T to James Constable for the link), Matt Cutts says “it doesn’t hurt to have this on every page of your site.”

Likewise, in the Google Blog, Maile Ohye of Google says “Yes, it’s absolutely okay to have a self-referential rel=”canonical”. It won’t harm the system and additionally, by including a self-reference you better ensure that your mirrors have a rel=”canonical” to you.”

Further evidence Google says its okay to have both a self-referential rel=canonical tag as well as to use the canonical tag site-wide can be found in this SEOmoz post, as well as another Google Webmaster Help video from Matt Cutts saying its okay.

I asked some of the top SEO minds on Twitter as to their opinion, and they all seem to support the notion that is okay to use the canonical tag site-wide and include self-referential canonical tags. Here are their responses:

 @Thos003: I use rel=canonical on it’s own page to deal with URL strings. I find this article disturbing

@rbucich: of course you can! Either I don’t understand the question or the person who said no doesn’t

@ajkohn: Yes. I think rel=canonical is a safeguard for HTML barnacles that might attach themselves to the canonical URL.

@james_constable: YES it needs to for all ad tracking, parameter non sense you need to avoid dups.

@dannysullivan: i wasn’t aware this was a problem. i guess i don’t see that it is. google said it wasn’t bit.ly/pxoxwx

@halvorsen I do.

So, it seems were at an impasse – what are your thoughts – is it okay to use the rel=canonical tag sitewide? Is it okay to use the rel=canonical tag on the canonical version of the page?

Will you change your recommendations to clients (or your own sites) on how they should use the rel=canonical tag based on Bing’s latest blog post?

Your comments are appreciated.

**Update @MattCutts chimes in:

@nickroshon certainly it won’t mess things up with Google to do it on every page. Can’t speak for MSFT/Bing, of course. (link)

@nickroshon self-loops on canonical pages are fine. Otherwise you’re stuck doing per-page logic for every page; not fun. (link)

Matt Cutts tweets back

**Update 2: This post has gotten some great conversation going, and also picked up by a few other sites, so I wanted to link out to that as well. It appears the SEO community finds this to be an important issue, and it’s obvious duplicate content is the thorn in everyone’s side…thanks to all that have shared my post!

How Bing Could Own 40% Of the Search Market

In my latest post on the iCrossing Great Finds blog, I talk about how a partnership between Firefox & Bing could lead to a substantial gain in search market share for Bing, as well as a huge money maker for Firefox. Check out a short excerpt below, then head over to the Great Finds blog to read more!

Brands that invest in search engine marketing pay close attention to the market share of search engines like Google and Bing to inform their search spend. Hence search practitioners closely review monthly market share reports like this one – a process akin to watching grass grow given that market shares change by a fraction of a percent at most each month.

But recently a partnership with Yahoo! allowed Bing to increase its market share significantly (although mostly at the expense of Yahoo!). Soon Mozilla’s Firefox may force marketers to re-examine their search spend. A contract between Firefox and Google – which makes Google the default search engine for the Firefox browser – is set to expire in November 2011.

If Bing takes advantage of this situation by supplanting Google as the default Firefox browser, Bing could end up owning about 40 percent of the search market.

Read more over at Great Finds

The Perfect Storm for Bing to Go Mainstream?

Bing Vs Google

This could be the perfect storm for Bing to gain market share and become a substantial threat to Google – or so we better hope.

Last week, Google and Verizon announced a deal that may very well kill net neutrality for mobile devices, as PC World reports.  This sentiment is echoed throughout the industry including this post from my colleague and industry expert Rob Garner on MediaPost. This crucial misstep has revealed Google is not a benevolent champion of free speech and internet neutrality, but that they’re no different from any other company that holds a monopoly-sized share of the market – greedy. In fact, the only real difference between Microsoft in it’s peak and Google now is that Microsoft didn’t try to pretend they were benevolent good guys, whereas Google wants you to drink the “Don’t be Evil” Kool-Aid until it poisons you. This Silicon Alley Insider article frames this phenomenon quite well.

But this isn’t all about Google making a major misstep and turning off many people (like myself) who were once Google fanatics.

For Bing to take off and truly become mainstream, they need not only a good product, but users motivated to try something new. Before, I had no reason to venture away from Google – it has always provided great results, great products (usually for free), and claimed to be the champions of the internet, free speech, and net neutrality. Why change search engines if Google has everything I need and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Now I have the motivation to change – I’m jaded with Google. Add to that, Bing (finally) has the product worth switching to (or at least trying…).

Bing has revamped their search results since former “Live” and has actually has been ahead of Google in integrating Social Media into search results, which is an increasingly important part of the internet to users. Bing was the first (and has still done the best job) at integrating Twitter into it’s search results, they were the first to add Foursquare into their Maps, they were the first to add “infinite scroll” to their Images (which Google even admits was a copy cat move of Bing here), and much more.

While Google’s algorithm is still a bit more sophisticated, Bing is also catching up in this area. To the untrained eye, Bing’s algorithm is usually pretty decent. I hate to say it, but they still have their work cut-out here…luckily Google has also been slacking recently, as Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz points out the growing amount of spam in Google and the disappointing recent progress at Google in doing anything about it.

To webmasters, Bing is catching up to Google in their offerings as well. They are revamping Bing Webmaster Tools to include more useful information, and they will be integrating Yahoo Site Explorer (an invaluable tool for webmasters & SEOs alike) into the Bing Webmaster Tool suite.  Again, they still have plenty of catch up with Google’s robust offerings, but they’ve made a ton of progress and it’s a very good start.

According to Hitwise, in July Bing held 9.85% of the search share and Yahoo held 14.37%. Yahoo searches are now powered by Bing as of this morning (August 19, 2010), which means that those numbers should still be pretty accurate, implying close to a 25% market share for Bing.

That 25% market share, combined with a Google PR nightmare and a significantly improved Bing experience could be the perfect storm to disrupt Google’s smooth sailing…and let’s all hope so.

Not only is Google’s threat to net neutrality a reason to hope they have a valiant competitor, but competition itself is a good thing for both engines. I like choices. Clearly Bing’s competition has spurred Google to innovate further, in many cases stealing or building upon ideas Bing introduced first. Competition is good for everyone, and it means that Google no longer has so much power they can single-handedly undermine net neutrality. In a wierd sort of way, Microsoft could be the last hope to prevent Google from becoming an evil monopoly – who woulda thunk.

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Bing! Goes the Internet Goes Viral (with Lyrics)

So Bing had a contest to see which fan could create the catchiest Jingle for their search engine, and the winner was just announced via their YouTube channel today. Catch it in it’s full glory below:

Lyrics to Bing Goes The Internet:
Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet,
Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet,
Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet
Bing Goes the Internet…
If you’re looking to learn how to dance like me – Bing goes the Internet
If you want to find some pants like me – Bing goes the Internet
If you’re looking for answers to all of life’s questions – Bing goes the Internet
If you’re looking for fixes to all of life’s messes – Bing goes the Internet
Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet
Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet
Bing, Bing, Bing Goes the Internet
Bing Goes the Internet…

While dorky and a little strange (in all fairness, it is about a search engine), I do find the video pretty funny, catchy, and “viral” enough for Microsoft to choose it as the winner and generate some buzz (which it is succeeding in). A video doesn’t have to be high-quality and incredibly thoughtful to go viral, it needs to be something original & noteworthy – sometimes being awful will give it a better chance of it going viral than the opposite (for instance, had this video been sung by Kelly Clarkson with professional dancers…yawn)

MG Siegler of TechCrunch wrote a scathing review of the jingle, and I quote:

“Catchy” is one word for it. Another is “awful.”

Sure, the song will get stuck in your head, but so does the sound of seals barking, or cows dying, if you listen to them for long enough.

But as bad as the jingle is, the video is much, much worse. It’s some guy in pajama pants doing really bad interpretive dance nonsense with awful effects and a Bing backdrop. The entire time I’m watching this, I’m thinking: So this is what hell looks/sounds like.

Mashable posts a more favorable review of the song, describing it as:

And we have one word for the well-produced Jonathan Mann video: creepy. It’s actually polished – probably because this guy records a song every single day on YouTube, which alone is a weird shtick…The entire contest was a bit weird to us, but you know, most good viral marketing campaigns are a bit odd. And this barely cost Bing anything to do.

The entire time I’m reading this, I’m thinking:

  1. This TechCrunch review is awesome. MG Siegler would have moved up a notch on my list of deliciously witty & sarcastic bloggers if I kept one.
  2. This is an intentionally goofy/odd video, which the TechCrunch review didn’t seem to pick up on, but Mashable surely did (which blows my mind, I usually can’t stand Mashable due to their inability to ever be insightful).
  3. It is fueling the fire for this contest, Bing itself, and particularly for Jonathan Mann, as this review is picking up steam and being passed around twitter. Consider it officially viral.

The author of the song fires back to the TechCrunch review, which you can check out here:

The bottom line is this: Microsoft paid $500 to the winner, and in return got millions of views between the buzz the competition generated and the resulting viral spread of the video. Now that is an awesome campaign, and I do believe that Microsoft was probably insightful enough to know this video was just awful yet goofy enough to do the trick.

When people ask how do you “make something go viral”, this is how you do it… (Editor’s Note: you can’t make something go viral or not…the content is either viral worthy or not, and there is little you can do either way)

Here’s one more from Jonathan Mann, where he was featured on the Rachel Maddow show a few months back for his song Hey Paul Krugman (A song, A plea):

Is it Too Soon to Worry About Yahoo! & Microsoft Bing Search Partnership? (Yes)

Is it too soon to start worrying about Yahoo/Microsoft Search Deal?

Is it too soon to start worrying about Yahoo/Microsoft Search Deal?

The world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is going wild today with the news that Yahoo! and Microsoft announcing a 10 year partnership. Search Engine Land has been doing a great job covering this news, complete with liveblogging the press conference and getting inside interviews.

However, a lot of coverage out there is starting to speculate into what the SEM industry needs to do and how this changes things, particularly this post from SEOmoz speculating the Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo Deal Changes for SEO. I think we all need to take a few deep breaths and not get ahead of ourselves here. Here’s the fine print from the Search Engine Land article that is all to easy to overlook:

…At full implementation (expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory approval)..

That’s 2 years AFTER the Federal Government approves the deal. And don’t forget the shareholders need to approve too. Given the size of Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as the Government’s Anti-Trust folks and the DOJ’s interest in maintaining competitiveness in the industry, which is already in an oligopoly if not monopoly state already, neither the shareholder nor the Government approval of this deal is likely to come quickly (or possibly at all). The Washington Post has a great article explaining some of the legal hurdles and is already commenting on the scrutiny Microsoft and Yahoo will face. If it will take 2 years after this approval, we’re talking light years in the tech world.

Think about 2+ years ago. Twitter was practically unheard of. MySpace still dominated Facebook. The iPhone hadn’t been released yet. 2 years is HUGE!

As part of the professional SEO community, I think it’s important we keep this all in perspective. This deal could be ground-breaking, but not any time soon. It’s important to think about what all this could mean, but remember that right now all that has happened is Carol Bartz and Steve Ballmer shook hands with each other. We should educate our clients on the details of the agreement, but let them know its nothing to start worrying about yet. Even in a few years, when everything is “fully integrated,” at the current figures Bing will only have a miserable 15% of the market compared to Google’s 78%, making its market share less than 1/5th of Google’s.

So my message to you is this: stay calm, keep current on the deal (because the agreement is going to change, especially once the legal issues start being scrutinized), and continue go about your business focusing on the search engine that ridiculously dominates the other one or two out there, even when you combine #2 and #3’s market share. In all seriousness, Twitter could overcome Bing/Yahoo in two years in terms of number of searches, traffic, hits, revenue and more, as their new home page certainly shows a redoubled interest in search:

Will Twitter Have More Search Share than Yahoo/Bing in 2 Years?

Will Twitter Have More Search Share than Yahoo/Bing in 2 Years?

Photo credit Yahoo and Twitter