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Posts tagged with: Bing

Bingbot – Bing Web Crawler

bing-web-crawl-bingbotBing has just announced that they are going to change the name of the bing web crawler (a.k.a user agent) to Bingbot. In the past Bing’s user agent was known as MSNBot.

Microsoft’s Bing Crawl & index team has been testing a beta bot for quite some time along side their regular MSNBot, and now they have decided to remove the beta name from the Bing crawler and change the name of the crawler to reflect Microsoft’s new brand for search – Bing. They also highlighted that instead of the old msnbot 2.0b showing up in your server logs, the updated user agent will be:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0 +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)

The HTTP header From field will also change as shown below:

From: msnbot(at)microsoft.com will become From: bingbot(at)microsoft.com

Even though they are making this change, bingbot will still honor robots.txt directives written for msnbot, so webmasters are not required to make any changes in the robots.txt file.

If you feel that your site is not being indexed properly, or your search traffic from Bing has decreased dramatically you can contact the bing crawl & index team at: bingbot@microsoft.com.


Bing Gains Search Market Share (Jan 2010)

Microsoft's Bing - Gains Search Marketing share in January 2010 Bing seems to continuously gain market share (a bit by bit) as the rest of the engines (especially Yahoo) sees a decline. Well, we all know how Microsoft’s Bing is gaining all these market share so easily. They are literally still spending millions on advertising to advertise their engine and go mainstream.

In the month of January, Bing’s share increased to 11.3%, up from 10.7% in December. That’s up from 8.5% a year ago.

  • Google (GOOG) fell to 65.4%, from 65.7% in December, but up from 63% a year ago.
  • Yahoo (YHOO) fell to 17%, from 17.3%. That’s down from 21% a year ago.
  • AOL (AOL) fell to 2.5%, from 2.6%.
  • Ask.com (IACI) gained market share up to 3.8%, from 3.7%.

It seems like if Bing continues to grow at this current rate, they might be able to go pass Yahoo in another year or so.

(Source: Silicon Alley Insider)


BingTweets – Real Time Twitter + Bing Search

Bing along with Federated Media has developed quite a nifty service called BingTweets, which basically allows you to keep an eye on the twitter trending topic in a more detailed and real-time manner. Twitter trending topic by itself is not exactly very useful as it doesn’t really give you a context of what is happening. Moreover even though twitter’s built in search is ‘real-time’ but users always need to click a ‘button’ when new results are added.

bingtweets

BingTweets does a really good job of bring real-time conversations about the trending topics and at the same time bringing up the web search of that particular query on the same screen. Thus users will get a context of what these trending topics are and at the same time get more real insights on some of these topics. Because the fact is 140 characters isn’t enough to convey a full news to someone, however if people starts talking about “X” and it becomes a trending topic, then clicking on that will not only show you the conversation that is happening about X but at the same time give us some real insights from the Bing search results for that particular query.

One of the neat thing about BingTweets is, it pulls in trends from Twitter and automatically filters into categories such as “Popular Now,” “People,” “Places” and “Products” enabling easier navigation of the ever changing trends on the Web. You can also fire off a search on any topic of your choosing to see the related search results from Bing and Twitter discussion.

Whitney Burk, Director of Bing Search writes:

…when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince comes out tomorrow, you may want to scan the official reviews, local theater listing, AND the latest Tweets on the movie to help you decide whether to rush to see it. With BingTweets, you can cover all that ground in one place.

So check out BingTweets and let me know if you find it any useful!

Read what other says about BingTweet:

Federated Media Teams With Bing For BingTweets. It’s Exactly What It Sounds Like – Techcrunch.

BingTweets: Bing + Twitter Search Results Side-by-Side – Mashable

BingTweets Integrates Twitter and Bing Search, Literally – Search Engine Journal


Bing Cries Out Loud at Google

Little Background: Bing was down for over 36 hours which is why Google sort of indexed their “Error” page for one of their domains – Bing Travel. Many days has passed, but it seems like Google hasn’t updated the search snippet. Matt Cutts replied in Techcruch with a screen shot saying the problem has been fixed — But apparently the issue is something else. Read on…

bing-tweet

This morning when I was reading this story on Techcrunch, I initially thought of blogging about it, but as i scrolled down I saw Matt Cutts’s responses in the story where he pretty much cleared the air stating that this was just a fluke and certainly not intentional (well these were not his exact words, but I think I sort of made it up). But anyway that’s not the point. The point is he actually showed everyone a screen shot (http://www.mattcutts.com/images/bing-travel-snippet.png) where the problem seemed fixed:

bing-travel-snippet

matt-cutts-reply-techcrunch

Based on Matt’s screen shot I did a search for “bing travel” in Google and found the snippet to be back to normal. I noticed that the last date of cache was indeed 9th July, just like what Matt said. But many people were still complaining that they can’t see the ‘updated snippet’ and at that time I thought that this may be a DC issue (Google has many data centers and they take time to propagate).

However after 6 hours or so, I noticed that Andy Beal is covering the story in Marketing Pilgrim. So I became a bit curious and tried the search again this time only with the key phrase “bing and to my surprise I got the same old snippet –

bing-temporarily-unavailable

Then I looked up the cache of both pages and it seems like Google has two version of Bing Travel page indexed –

Version 1: http://www.bing.com/travel
Last Cache Date: 4th July

bing-travel-cache-old

Version 2: http://www.bing.com/travel/ [This one basically has a forwarding slash at the end of the URL]
Last Cache Date: 9th July

bing-travel-cache-new

Hopefully this is temporary and both Google and Bing looks into it rather than playing the blame game.


Bing Translator

bing-translator Do you ever come across a situation where you need to quickly translate a page or some text which is not in the language that you speak? Then you should really give the new Bing Translatorhttp://www.bing.com/translator a try.

Bing Translator currently supports about 15 languages including – English, Dutch, French, Chinese, Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese Korean, Russian, Spanish and many more. If you have previously used any translation service like Google Translate, then you probably already know how to use it. Bing Translator has a very easy to use interface, just dump some text or a URL in the left hand box on the page and select the source language (auto-detect is default) and select the language that you wish your text/website to be translated to and finally click translate!

bing translator screenshot

This neat thing about this particular translation tool is – if you are translating a website, bing automatically opens both the original and the translated page side by side in a frame. If you click on a particular section of the page it also highlights that portion of the page in the translated version. So in terms of usability, I personally find Bing Translator awesome. However Google Translate supports more languages at this point of time but I’m sure that Bing will catch up with them in no time.

bing translation example

So if you ever need any translation done try Bing Translator!


Bing Webmaster Center

bing-webmaster-centerYesterday I wrote a review about Bing and how this new search engine from Microsoft really impressed me.

Today I’ll be reviewing the new Bing Webmaster Center – www.bing.com/webmaster which is sort of like an all-in-one dashboard of the webmasters for the Bing Search Engine. Previously a similar version of the Webmaster Center was known as Windows Live Webmaster Center. Google and Yahoo both has similar dashboard – Google Webmaster Central & Yahoo Site Explorer.

What is Bing Webmaster Center?

Just like any other Webmaster dashboard, Bing webmaster center has many tools targeted towards the webmaster community that anyone can use to access his own website’s information & other useful details as recorded by Bing.

So if you are a webmaster and want to know how Bing is looking at your website, how its ranking your pages, which pages are more valued than others, what are your inbound & outbound links then this dashboard is a must have.

Why should you Signup for Bing Webmaster Center?

Previously most of the people never really bothered to optimize their pages for MSN/Live Search (which is now Bing). Due to the very small market share, Microsoft Search was never popular among the webmasters. However according to the Stat Counter’s global stat of search market share, Bing’s popularity seems to be growing exponentially as it has already overtaken Yahoo’s usual number #2 spot after Google.

stat-counter-stats-bing

Now you may say that this is probably because of the initial ‘hype’ and their expensive media advertisements, however if you read my Bing Review where I concluded that Bing is a pretty good alternative to Google, then you may think otherwise.

The main advantage of Bing would be its Mass reach to the general population. Do you know what is the very first thing people do when they buy a new computer? I remember reading an article where they had a huge list — Installing Anti Virus, Installing IM, Installing Firefox and somewhere in the middle of the list I remember reading “Changing the default search engine of IE back to Google!”. That didn’t strike me as odd even for a second, in fact if I were to make my own list, I think It would be ranked between #1 – 3.

Microsoft has a OS market share of over 90%, which all comes with Internet Explorer as their default browser. And when it comes to Browser market share, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has a market share close to 70%.

So you can imagine, if Microsoft’s new search engine Bing sucks even a bit less compared to their previous search versions – Live/MSN, many people may not bother to switch to Google or any other search provider for that matter. My first impression of Bing is – its going to stick, and Google is going to see a bit of competition after many years of market dominance.

So before everyone starts to realize that getting your site up in the Bing Search Engine has a lot of value for your business, you should start to look at some of the very basic things that you can do to make sure that bing is crawling and indexing your site properly and certainly there is no better way to monitor it than using their very own tool that they have provided to the community – Bing Webmaster Center.

How to Signup for Bing Webmaster Center?

Signing up with Bing Webmaster Center is very easy and FREE. The only thing that you will need is a Windows Live ID. Typically if you have a @hotmail.com, its already good enough. However, if you want you can also use @gmail.com or any other email address for that matter and make it a Windows Live ID.

Step 1: Go to http://www.bing.com/webmaster and Sign-in with your Windows Live ID

Step 2: Once you are inside the dashboard, you will need to add in your website. You will need to provide a web url (www.domain.com), your sitemap address (www.domain.com/sitemap.xml) and the webmaster’s email address for communication purpose.

Step 3: Once site has been successfully added, you will need to verify the ownership of their site by following any of the following verification method – Meta Tag Authentication ior XML file Authentication. Both the authentication is pretty simple and straight forward.

Step 4: After successful verification, you should be able to see your website listed in your dashboard.

What can Bing Webmaster Center do?

Currently, Bing Webmaster Center contains the following tools and features to support webmasters to access data and manage their websites on Bing:

1. Robot.txt Validation – This tool allows webmasters to check their robots.txt file for any incompatibilities with MSNBot that may affect how their site is indexed on Bing. Read more on Robot.txt Validation on bing.

2. HTTP Verifier – This tool basically lets you check whether your webserver has HTTP compression and conditional GET enabled to reduce bandwidth uses with browsers that support these technology. Read more about these features before you decide to play with them.

3. Site Summery – Bing Webmaster Center, also shows a nice site summary for each of your sites which includes – Last crawl date, total number of indexed pages, domain score, top 5 pages of your domain along with their page score crawl date and so on.

bing-webmaster-center-site-summary

In case you are wondering what domain score is, its basically just a measurement of how authoritative Bing views your domain to be, with five green boxes being the highest rating and five empty boxes being the lowest. Similarly Page score is the same thing but instead of the domain level the measurement is done on the page level.

4. Crawl Issues – This section allows webmasters to find out about any issues Bing discovered while crawling and indexing your site. This information can really help you track down missing or bad links, find pages blocked from our index by your robots.txt file, identify URLs that may be too long, and isolate page with content-types that are not supported by Bing. You can read more on the crawl issues here.

5. Backlinks – This is definitely a very neat and useful tool. Since Google takes quite a while to update the backlinks, most of the webmasters depends quite a lot on Yahoo Site Explorer to check for inbound links. I found Bing’s Back link checker pretty handy and accurate. You can use this tool to find out which webpages (including your own) are linking to your site. This information can help you identify who is talking about your site, useful information for learning more about your potential audience or customer base. They also have a filtering option where you can exclude results from a domain or show only results from a single domain. You can also specify a domain (microsoft.com), a sub-domain (technet.microsoft.com), or a top-level domain (.com).

6. Outbound links – Just like the backlinks page, Outbound links page gives you information about web pages your site is linking to.

7. Keywords – Bing has a Keywords tool which basically shows you how your website performs against searches for a specific keyword or key phrase. This tool is useful for understanding how users (who often choose websites based on keywords searches) might find your website. You can use this keywords tool to e the Keywords tool to also get webpage scores for a keyword or key phrase. This tool enables you to evaluate the webpage score for a given keyword or key phrase for the webpages in your website. The webpage score is a measure of how often a webpage is returned when a user is searching based on that keyword or key phrase. You can easily review webpage scores for a given keyword or key phrase, type the keyword or key phrase in the Keywords box, and then click Search.

8. Sitemaps – You can use sitemaps to give Bing a list of URLs to index for your site. Simply enter the sitemap URL and click submit to send your sitemap to Bing. Bing also has a sitemap ping service which allows you to nudge bing whenever your site updates. To notify MSNBot when you change an existing sitemap or add a new one, enter the following in your browser:

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=[your sitemap web address]

And thats pretty much it! So what you waiting for? Sign up with Bing Webmaster Center now!

Don’t forget to check out Bing Webmaster Community and the Bing Webmaster blog for more news & Updates.


Microsoft’s Bing.com Search Engine

bing-search-logoFinally the past speculations became a reality – Microsoft has re-branded their live search and came up with a completely new and innovative engine called Bing, which can be accessed at bing.com.

The reason I call it innovative and new is because, this is the first time I’m seeing something positive from Microsoft. At least now they are trying to look straight instead of trying to eat out other companies.

They did a complete re-brand of their Live Search which was previously known as MSN and sometime last year there was a rumor that they wanted to call it Kumo (which probably would have been a complete branding disaster in my opinion).

But luckily they came to their senses and named their revamped Search Engine -> Bing. Now couldn’t they just work on their existing brand “Live” instead of creating a whole new brand “Bing”? Well probably they could, but i really don’t wish to go into any debate on which would have been better and such. They have re-branded their search to Bing already and that’s how it is (and hopefully that’s how its going to stay..).

My only advice to Microsoft would be to stick to a brand and give more emphasize on the core of the product/service that they are providing. If people are not using their search engine, definitely there is a reason behind it and changing names and creating fancy TV ads doesn’t make the problem go away. After a while people eventually figures out that this new hyped brand is actually the same shitty MSN search.

Now this post is becoming a bit ‘anti-microsoft’ … so let me change my approach for a bit and say what I feel about Bing.

Bing Search is Awesome!

Yes I said it! I never thought I’d complement a search engine that is not Google. But I guess I just did. The reason I’m probably the last one to report this Bing story in the Blogosphere is because while everyone was busy writing about Bing on their blogs, I was doing some extensive testing with Bing. I have played with the engine day and night, making it exhausted and taking it to a level that my ip was probably blocked out from Bing for a while.

And after comparing all the data, I can say that Bing is awesome and It is a pretty good alternative for Google & Yahoo Search. But is it perfect? – Hell no! There are tons of issues with bing, that I’d definitely address in my blog (which is why i even created a new category here called “bing”, where all my bing related posts will go).

My Take on Bing.com

bing-search-engine-home

There are many things that I like about Bing. None of them is probably original, majority of the features that I’ll highlight here are probably already implemented inside Google & Yahoo. But I don’t think for a user its important to know who has implemented what first and so on. As long as the search engine is user friendly and has everything that a user needs – he will be happy to use it. These are some of the things which bing has really impressed me with:

1. Speed: Bing.com is pretty fast, the home page has a high quality image which takes a bit of time to load on slow connections. However, when you put in a search query and click search the result page comes almost instantly – just like Google. Previously with both Msn & Live search speed was a major issue. People loves Google because of its lightning speed. Well certainly Bing is almost catching up with Google on that regard. Since Bing is still new I believe they can still do a lot more tweaks and make the engine even faster in future.

2. Auto Suggestion: Bing automatically suggests search queries as you type in the search box (very similar to what Google does now). Its a very neat feature which saves a lot of time when you are searching for something very obvious but unsure of its spelling and how to phrase it properly and so on.

bing-auto-suggest

3. Look and Feel: Many people complained about the design of Microsoft’s previous search engines. But personally this time I have found Bing’s design very soothing and consistent throughout their site. The high quality picture on the home page does make it look very cool compared to Google’s simplistic design (However Ask.com has been doing this for a long time already and they even let users to choose their own background).

4. Best Match: Microsoft calls this feature of Bing – “Best Match”, which basically refers to the ability to get relevant information instantly without leaving the search results page. Google has been doing this for a long time for many queries like time (e.g. Time Tokyo), currency conversion (e.g. 1000 USD = ? EUR) and also flight and package tracking of different providers.

Apparently Bing.com also has couple of neat best match queries to get relevant information quickly. Best Match results include customer service numbers for retail sites, the ability to track a package right from the search page, deep links to common pages within the site and much more.

bing-best-match

5. Site Preview: This neat feature of Bing allows you to hover over a search result to see a preview of the site’s content, which helps you determine whether the site is likely to contain the information you’re looking for — before you make that click. Well this is definitely useful, however the hovering feature only works when I move the mouse towards the end of the the listing which is pretty annoying! Moreover, I figured the preview is very small so it doesn’t really tell you much about the website anyway. A small snapshot of the page would be nice, something like what snap.com is already doing. But again this is a feature that not everyone may like, so keeping all these additional things ‘optional’ may be a good idea.

6. Instant Answers: Bing also provides near instant answers to many queries. For example, entering a flight number will return the most recent flight information and display it prominently in the results, saving the hassle of going to a separate page. Other Instant Answers on Bing include stock prices, local weather, sports scores and more. This feature is also not new as both Google & Yahoo have been doing it for a long time. But its really good to see that Bing has really caught up with most of the useful features of both Google & Yahoo.

7. Related Searches: Bing does show some good related searches when you search for a term. This definitely helps to refine a search query and also come across other useful and related terms.

bing-related-search

8. Image Search: Bing has a pretty awesome image search. Occassionally images do appear within the web search results for certain queries, just like Google’s Universal Search. However their dedicated Image search page is also pretty neat and has a very handy left hand sidebar to refine the search by size, layout, colour, size etc.

bing-image-search

9. Travel Search- Bing has a very cool search interface for travel related searches. You can just enter your travel particulars and bing automatically searches different travel portals and shows you hotel prices, air fares and so on.

10. Shopping Search – Bing also have a dedicated interface to deal with the shopping queries. It sort of promotes the previous Microsoft Cashback program. Try doing a search for any product and you will get a pretty good idea of what it does. (E.g. Nokia E63)

Bing Product Tour Video

Bing vs. Google – Search Result Quality

To me, the quality of the search result is the most important factor that leads me to decide which provider stays as my default search in my browser (currently its Google in all my 3 browsers – Google’s Chrome, Firefox & IE 8).

Bing provides a nice way to do a head on head comparison of Bing & Google, they named the feature – Bing Search Challenge. Basically it opens both Bing & Google on the same browser window and let you perform a search on both on them and match the results. [This isn’t new as well, it was done by Hakia way back..]

But its a good way to convince people who are thinking about making a switch that the engine that they are about to switch to is indeed better and provides better results. I have tried a number of queries in both Bing & Google to perform a side by side comparison. In most cases I noticed that Bing did pretty well compared to the old Live.com results. However still in most cases I find that Google can interpret the natural language way better than bing. However for many queries Bing actually performed better than Google! I’ll try to do a separate post with all my test search phrases and the result comparison. But for now you can take a look at Greg’s post in Search Engine Land.

There are lots of other things about bing that I would still like to mention, but due to a bit of time constraint I’m ending this post here. If you want to learn further on bing you can head over to their PressPass page, which contains a lot of information on each of the bing’s features.

Also if you are a twitter user you can follow the bing team on Twitter – (@bing).

So have you tried bing.com? Whats your feedback? Please share in comments!

Update: Are you a Webmaster? Try Bing Webmaster Center today!

What others are saying about Bing?

Bing Off to a Good Start: Takes #2 Spot Ahead of Yahoo – Read Write Web

Microsoft’s Bing Vs Google: Head To Head Search Results – Search Engine Land

Microsoft Bing: Much better than expected – Cnet News

Microsoft’s Bing Search Arrives Early, and Impresses – FastCompany

Bing off to solid start, but not that good – CNet News

Bing Opens Up. Is It Good? It’s Too Early To Tell – Mashable

Bing Goes Live—Here’s What You Can Do With It – Lifehacker

Bing.com; Is it Worth Switching from Google? – Marketing Pilgrim

Bing: How Useful Is Microsoft’s New Search Offering? – CNN

Microsoft vs Google: Bing It On – Sitepoint

Live Search : The sound of found: Bing! – MSDN Blog