Now that Bing is officially a major player, it’s time to ask some important questions. Are Bing video search results delivering a winning performance? Does Bing match searcher queries with relevant results? For advertisers, what is needed from an optimization standpoint to make your video standout among a search crowd?
Let’s use the popular music group “Black Eyed Peas” as an example. After conducting a series of different searches with the band name being the basis of the query I observed the following:
Query 1: black eyed peas. Images of the band were among the top positions, while the video results were at the bottom of the search results page along with a search volume/popularity graph, which is something new and different to the search world. I’ve yet to determine the full impact/effectiveness of the search popularity graph. If anything, the graph can reveal and/or validate the popularity of a searcher’s query and show other popular musicians Bing users are searching for(e.g., Metallica). However, when clicked through, this option only offers a video link on the sidebar, not a video thumbnail on the main page, which in my opinion is a shortfall, given the online video demand as well as the musical nature of the query. This is another opportunity to connect with the proactive video-seeking audience.
Query 2: videos black eyed peas. The video results were the last listing on the first page of the search engine results page.
Queries 3 and 4: black eyed video peas and black video eyed peas. The first page of results did not deliver any inline Bing video results for either query, though there were text-only links to videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
Query 5: black eyed peas video. Inline Bing video results were in the top position.
Now what can we learn from this small example? Also, does this example apply to other types of queries? Well, it appears that Bing delivers top ranking video results based on an intuitive, logical query structure. For example, the keyword “video” delivers high ranking at the end of a query vs. at the beginning or in the middle of a query. I performed similar tests with other types of keywords, not just music-oriented keywords, such as “Chicago Bears” and “Apple iPhone,” and had a similar experience.
However, the logic is only one observation; it also seems that the keyword density of the terms also play a key role in the ranking. In the listing above, all of the MySpace videos include “black eyed peas” and “video” (twice) in their title tags.
Using GoRank, a free SEO tool, you can analyze the keyword density for these terms within the MySpace URLS, and discover that the word “video” has an average density of 3.74% and the phrase “black eyed” has an average density of 3.21%.
These are solid percentages that indicate Bing places a great deal of value on the words appearing on the page. Therefore, advertisers should ensure that they are including valuable content within their title tags, descriptions, etc.
On the other hand, the YouTube page does not contain any instances of the word “video”, but the phrase “black eyed” has a density of 14.17%. This is due to YouTube’s practice of showing links to related videos, and all of these links contain the phrase “black eyed.” Bing may give YouTube default visibility for search queries that contain the word “video” even if the word “video” does not appear on the YouTube page.
Another interesting thing to note about Bing video search results is that once you click on a video thumbnail result you may have a different experience depending on the source. For example, the “Black Eyed Peas” YouTube video opens a pop-up video while the MySpace video is played directly from Bing. By using pop-ups and hosting other videos, Bing encourages the searcher to stay on the Bing site, an attempt to increase retention rate and further interactions with Bing. Additionally, Bing allows a searcher to play video snippets directly from the search results, which is another way to entice searchers and encourage more interaction.
As announced this past July, Bing and Yahoo! are joining forces in the search world. After the deal finalizes, Microsoft’s MSNbot (showing up in referrer logs as either msnbot/1.1 or msnbot/2.0b) will be the crawler for both Yahoo! and Bing. This means it will be doubly important for advertisers to optimize their video assets for the bot and Bing’s search algorithm. According to comScore’s September 2009 U.S. core search engine rankings, Microsoft sites make up 9.4% of search engine share, while Yahoo! makes up 18.8%. Once these search houses consolidate under the same technology, they will make up nearly 30% of the search share, taking on powerhouse Google, (64.9% of search engine share). It’s up to Bing to prove to searchers, specifically the rising pool of video searchers, if it has what it takes to deliver the most relevant, useful results that can stack up against Google.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.