I really hate to do this, but Bing, get your Geotargetting in Google Sorted out
OK, lets face it, Bing does not have the volume that Google has when it comes to search. I am pretty sure they would love to have it, but the fact is that I have seen the search volume from Bing to a number of my sites below 5%. Now that they are working with yahoo! to power more results, they have ended up with a higher search share, a share that they ended up buying, as opposed to organically growing. Obviously this strategy of buying search volume isnt reasonable from a long term growth point of view, excuse the pun, but they need organic growth.
Getting it Wrong
I find it interesting that from my point of view, little thought may be put into play when it comes to the search results for competitors. What do I mean? Well let’s take an example first.
I am a Mom and Pop shop (sorry Bing, but you are!).
A customer comes to my shop to buy “blue widgets”.
I show them the “blue widgets”, but also point them in the direction of the Supercheap Superstore round the corner that also stocks “blue widgets”. Customer ends up going to super store to buy said widgets. Whats more, doesnt return to the store to buy anything else, as I asked them to go to the competition last time.
Sounds incredible doesnt it?
In the example above, you would assume that this is an absolutely insane move, however, Bing is doing exactly that.
Run a search for UK:
Bing has a number of verticals that it could have dropped into that space, instead of a direct link to their key competitor.
Marginally better – Bing Search for UK Maps:
Or Bing Search for GB Maps:
As you can see, Google Maps are being touted in the organic results, despite Bing owning a decent Map Facility.
So what am I saying here? Manipulate search results? Get rid of Google results from these searches? Yes. absolutely and utterly yes. If the seach engine wants to retain the current search volume, it needs to start looking at where it’s bleeding traffic to competitors. Anyway, in my opinion, search engines should not index other search engines, unless its for a brand search. (I have actually raised this with Matt Cutts before, and it seems that dogpile simply changed their search results URLs.)
Processes and Steps
Although I have only taken a short view, i.e. a handful of queries, Bing Search Engineers will probably have a larger and more correct view of how they are flowing traffic to google. I would then make it a priority to improve those specific SERPs so that the user journey and experience improves in the long run. Acquisition is great, but retention should also form a large portion of the strategy.
Bing Being Bonkers?
Yes they are . Of course my view is slighlty jaded, but the game of capturing the market share is insane, with Bing merging and consolidating its resources (live search, MSN search Facebook search), spending insane amounts on buying the share, and spendig Millions in marketing it. Personally I think that the Tools for webmasters are pretty cool, and Mel Carson and his team have done really well to improve Microsoft Adcentre involvement in the community.
I think that the rest of the teams at Bing need to start getting a little more commercial in their approach, and stop trying to imitate the leading search engine, and potentially treat their site as any business should, improving conversion, usability and “stickiness“.
Note: I am not saying they should take the ASK route, but maybe just manipulate their results slightly…
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile