Although Microsoft spent untold billions of dollars on Bing, you would have to say that it has failed miserably by any measure you care to use. Certainly here in Australia it would be lucky to attract 3 % of search volume, despite what some surveys may tell you. I suspect most of that traffic is coming from users with a new PC that still have Bing set as their default search engine or home page. I also suspect those same people still have the plastic on their furniture!
This is odd, though, if you consider that at one point Bing’s algorithm was just as good as Google’s. And if you believe Matt Cutts, it was not only as good as Google’s, it was in fact Google’s. The search scene might become more interesting, however, with the release of iOS7. Yep, Apple to the rescue!
Bing: Default Search in iOS7
At Apple’s WWDC event a few months back they announced that the default search engine for Siri would be Bing. Given the exponential growth in mobile access to the web this is a very interesting twist in the search wars.
Whilst I enjoy using many of Google’s fine products, I acknowledge that I am only a Google customer when I am using Adwords. The rest of the time I am the product being sold to advertisers. I’m OK with that for the most part except when I forget that Google is also crawling links in my Gmail and discovering clients staging sites and indexing them (yes, I understand robots.txt and noindex). What will be interesting with iOS7 and Siri search is to see how I will be treated as a customer. How will that effect user’s apathy towards changing their default search settings? Maybe Bing’s future is not just with plastic covered couch owners but with a new voice activated search swarm.
Ranking in Bing
Traditionally, ranking in Bing has happened by default if you focussed on getting ranked in Google. Bing has not evolved as quickly as Google in the last 18 months and suffers from a lot of the old techniques that used to get you ranked in Google. Things like getting lots of worthless backlinks from junk sites still seems to work well in Bing as does having the keyword in your domain name. A couple of years ago, Bing and Google results were very similar. Now it seems Bing is littered with a lot of web spam, which Google has been eliminating from its own index.
Let’s Welcome More Search Competition
Quite frankly I’d love more competition in the search market. Google’s dominance does concern me. Not just in search but in email, mapping and now profiles. They are demanding with Google profiles that there is no place for anonymity if you want to use their products. Their former CEO Eric Schmidt said as much in 2010.
I am a free marketeer and have no problem with the crowd flooding towards the best product, which right now is Google, but I hope Bing will rise as a quality competitor in the future as they are the only one on the block with deep enough pockets. As much as I like the blekkos or Duck Duck Gos of the world, they don’t have the capacity to be as up to date as Google.
Siri and Search
It’s not clear at this stage how popular Siri search will be. Its success will depend on a number of factors, including simplicity of use and accuracy of results. Even if users do begin to use Siri to search the web, if they don’t get relevant results they will soon move on… Probably back to Safari and Google.
What are your thoughts on the search wars? Do you fear Google’s dominance in the market or do you welcome it? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk