Is there anything more visually appealing than Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing? The engine greets you with spectacular landscape images, complemented by a wealth of historical information and interesting facts. These compelling bits of information also lead you to other areas within Bing, such as the video results page.
The Bing homepage is a great place to be if you happen to be a video site that is closely aligned with one of these featured destinations. However, what if you are not the video site that is linked to the beautiful architecture of Prague, for example? How can you ensure your videos are included within Bing’s search results?
To start, advertisers may submit their Web sites and sitemaps to the MSNbot through Bing’s Webmaster center. Additionally, webmasters have access to tools that assist them with indexation and optimization, including:
- Robots.txt Validation Tool – Checks for incompatibilities with MSNbot to assist with indexation
- HTTP Compression and HTTP Conditional GET Test Tool – Tests Web pages to see it they support HTTP compression and conditional GET, which reduces bandwidth for browsers
It appears there are many key factors that come into play when optimizing your video site for Bing:
- Video Sources: MSN, AOL, MTV, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube, MySpace, DailyMotion, MetaCafe
- Date of Video
- Keyword Relevancy: Title, URL and Description
- Length: short (< 5 min), medium (5-20 min), long (> 20 min)
- Screen Size: standard and widescreen
- Resolution: low, medium and high
The source page and its associated text, as well as the timeliness of the video, seem to have the highest weight within Bing’s algorithm. For example, when you search on the term “Ronald Reagan,” the majority of the results pertain to Nancy Reagan and the recent unveiling of the Ronald Reagan statue in Washington DC. There are several duplicate versions of this coverage from large publishers such as USA Today and YouTube. There are additional video results related to Ronald Reagan; however, they are not as relevant. For example, there is an old trailer for a movie starring Ronald Reagan, which primarily features Bette Davis. There is also a video for the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. These results are not ideal for the query “Ronald Reagan,” presumably about the man himself.
The same search in Google provides a completely different experience. The majority of videos are directly focused on the former President of the United States. These results are not as recent; however, they are much more relevant to the search. There is also more variety in the available results. Searchers looking for videos on Ronald Reagan would be more likely to benefit from the Google search results vs. the Bing search results.
Not only are the final results different in the two search engines, but so is the way they are visually displayed to searchers. For example, the default Bing results show videos that have very little description; they include the title, publisher, length of time and date when available. The default Google results, however, include all of these attributes as well as a detailed description of the video. On the other hand, Bing offers a feature that enables searchers to hover over the video thumbnail to preview a shortened version of the video without a click (Live Search had this for about a year, but people are rediscovering it as part of the Bing launch).
Advertisers should pay close attention to these key differences between Bing and Google. To ensure videos get optimized in Bing, advertisers should effectively incorporate relevant tags on their video source pages as well as include descriptive text. They should also try to utilize the latest and greatest versions of their videos. Lastly, advertisers should ensure their videos appear on sites that both Bing and Google are crawling for the video results pages. Bing in particular seems to be pulling videos from “trusted” video sources, such as CNN, USA Today, YouTube, etc. If an advertiser’s video is located on a site that is not considered a select Bing video source, then, it is less likely to appear in the video results.
According to comScore, Microsoft Sites increased its average daily penetration among U.S. searchers from 13.8 percent (May 26-30, 2009) to 15.5 percent (June 2-6, 2009). Additionally, Microsoft’s share of search result pages in the U.S. increased from 9.1 percent to 11.1 percent during the same time frame. These are great strides for the new engine; however, only time will tell its real success. Is this spike in growth merely due to the aggressive marketing push behind Bing or will the engine prove to be a legitimate “decision engine” that experiences continued adoption and retention over time?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.