Which Finds The First-Ever Website Better, Google Or Bing?

For the 20th anniversary of CERN making Web technology available to anyone royalty-free, the European science lab has restored the very first website to its original location. Could today’s search engines of Google and Bing, which didn’t exist when the site was first posted, find it now? Time for a test. The answer turns out to be tricky.

Searching For The Page By URL

The easiest test was to see which of them had the page listed by searching for it by its URL, which is:

http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

It looks like this, by the way:

The World Wide Web project

Google found it when I searched for its URL:

http___info.cern.ch_hypertext_www_theproject.html - Google Search

Bing did not:

End of test! Google lists the page, has it included in its collection of billions of pages across the Web that were all born from it, while Bing does not.

Searching The Way People Really Search

Most people who are looking for the first-ever webpage wouldn’t do so using the URL, however, especially when that URL hadn’t even worked for over 20 years, until a few days ago.

My assumption is that most people seeking it would do a search for something like “first web page” or “first ever web page.” To test this, I started typing “first web…” into both Google and Bing, to see what they suggested. Those suggestions come from the most popular searches that people actually do.

I got this back:

As it turns out, people seem to be seeking the page by searching for terms like:

  • first website
  • first website ever
  • first website ever made

Finding The First-Ever Website

I did a search for “first website,” and here, some might argue that Bing wins. This is what I got from Google:

first website - Google Search

The arrow points at the info.cern.ch page, which makes sense. CERN had been redirecting the URL for the first website to the info.cern.ch site for years, until it changed that yesterday, according to a CERN blog post that explains more.

But, CERN’s info site isn’t the first-ever website. It leads to it now, yes. But, it’s not the actually first website. Now consider Bing:

first website

Bing lists the info.cern.ch site, just as Google does. But further down, it also lists a copy of the first-ever website, a copy that’s been located off CERN until this time.

That copy is located here:

http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

It’s hosted by the W3C, an international group that took over leadership of the World Wide Web’s development after its origins with CERN. That copy is actually what CERN used for its restoration project.

If you are trying to find the actual first-ever website, using those words, Bing’s actually pointing to it better than Google. It’s not pointing you to it at the restored location, but neither does Google. At least, Bing gets you to an exact copy of the first-ever page, where it has long been archived.

Stand By For Change

This is likely to change in the near future. For one thing, CERN now links to the first-ever website using those exact words, like this:

Cern

Having those words in the anchor text — in the link — is a very powerful link signal to both Google and Bing that the page being linked to should rank for those terms, when it happens from an influential site like CERN.

In addition, as news stories about the restoration project begin to disappear, that will give a greater chance for the actual page to start moving into Google’s top results.

So, stayed tuned. And while you’re waiting, you can learn more about the origins of the WWW from CERN’s information site about the web, its page about the restoration of the first website and from the W3C’s A Little History of the World Wide Web.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Features: Analysis | Google: Web Search | Microsoft: Bing | Stats: History | Stats: Relevancy | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.spinxwebdesign.com/ Alan Smith

    I will go with Google :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/whartleybooth William Hartley-Booth

    Then do it on the new beta graph search bar in Facebook (powered by Bing) and its the second link. Facebook wins :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/whartleybooth William Hartley-Booth

    My search term was “first ever website”

  • http://www.facebook.com/pedro.martheyn Pedrito Lopez Martheyn

    Bing capabilities are quickly changing – for good. I think Bing its providing a better experience to consumers in general, but again you can’t judge base on a few queries.. With that being said, Google remains #1 in the world, however it seems like a new version of david and goliath could take place in here.. Let’s wait and see what the future will bring us..

  • http://www.facebook.com/kumar.rajjesh Kumar Rajesh

    Bing

  • http://www.seriouslyspain.com/ Seriously Spain

    Bing beats out Google for me 90 percent of the time, as Google is now serving up the websites of mega-corporations that are paying them to be on top of search. So, if I don’t want to have to wade through eHow, TripAdvisor and EBay, I no longer use Google. (I actually no longer use Google, I use Bing. A far more ethical browser, IMO, and Microsoft a more ethical company than Do No Evil Google).

  • http://www.seriouslyspain.com/ Seriously Spain

    Oh and Bing is gaining market share every month. That’s because savvy internet users are now realizing how Google’s constant ‘algorithms’ have done nothing but offer us mega-corporation websites and spam.

  • http://www.richamorindonesia.com/ Rich Amor Indonesia

    I try to search on my new article. And I found that google catch my text at the homepage but isn’t index the url of my post. Bing is slower, because they couldn’t index my recent update of my site, and isn’t index my post yet.

    So, I go with google.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312352434 Marcello Porcu
  • getspread

    this a new site where u can submite ur links ,, must check out .. http://www.getspread.com

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