An Open Letter To Bing: 50 Ways You Can Beat Google
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms… has marked the upward surge of mankind.” – Gordon Gecko, Wall Street Dear Bing, Come autumn, you will be powering Yahoo’s search algorithm. But […]
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms… has marked the upward surge of mankind.” – Gordon Gecko, Wall Street
Come autumn, you will be powering Yahoo’s search algorithm. But let’s not fool ourselves: Google’s real share of organic search has been at a monopolistic 70% since 2002 (8 elapsed years). Even if we adjust for the recent puffery suggesting your combined reach equals half Google’s share, enterprise marketers know your combined engines will drive, at best, 20% of organic search traffic, to Google’s 80%. For every Bing, there are four Googles, and even more the farther you go into the long-tail. The fact is, over the past eight years no amount of consumer advertising has convinced meaningful numbers of searchers to abandon Google search—even when better search results were offered elsewhere (remember AltaVista, Ask, and Yahoo campaigns?). We all know more is needed.
Compounding your market-share problem: We search marketers—the professionals influencing website content, design, architecture, networking and social media decisions—have all been market-trained to care about Google alone. Recent market news only underscore continued Google-centricity.
First, it is symbolic if nothing else, that Google was awarded last month patent status on its “reasonable surfer” link quality algorithm last month. This algorithm is like PageRank 2.0 in terms of SERP quality significance, even though the application was filed in 2004. Add in the qualitative review on the SMX panel analysis of Bing vs Google SERP quality and today’s search marketer is left with one conclusion: while Bing’s SERP results are in better shape than ever, you are unlikely to lead in algorithmic quality and more likely to be playing catch-up for some time. Regardless of market noise, search marketing SEO strategies have no reason to change: We still must take care of Google first, and let our Bing/Yahoo results take care of themselves.
Your issue is that the search industry is stuck in a Google-reinforcing feedback loop—Bing is on the outside looking in. But now as the solid #2, you have an opportunity to lead by creating your own positive feedback loop. With the right strategy, search marketers will support your quest for increased market-share, because real competition means innovation that will benefit the entire industry. To succeed, your strategy must ultimately convert today’s Google-indoctrinated search marketers into Bing users and evangelists. Your chief Yusef Mehdi’s keynote at SMX Advanced gives me confidence you want to move in this direction, but that you need some encouragement to go deeper than just webmaster tools.
So as a search marketing practitioner and business leader the past 10 years, let me suggest 50 features with which Bing can displace even the most ardent Google-lover, and become indispensable to today’s organic search marketing process. I’ve divided them into the two funnels that marketers want to manage—demand and supply.
Keyword demand—Managing impressions, position and click-through
- Let me upload and save all target phrases (those with coverage in PPC, organic and those without any coverage yet)
- Starting with my PPC phrases, tell me whether I have organic coverage in each market
- Show me data that encourages experimentation around the combined value of PPC + organic coverage
- With my organic Bing keyword clicks, show me how many impressions I made
- Show me my precise positioning for each organic impression
- Show me my click-through rate on organic impressions
- Help me identify highest or lowest organic positioned pages within a keyword market
- Help me identify all pages ranked within an organic position range
- Help me identify the phrases that get highest or lowest organic click-through rates
- Help me identify phrases that get most or least organic traffic volume
- Let me see and sort this data over the last 12 months
- Charge me a fee for longer trending, if you must
- Give me keyword demand/impression data to help me make business decisions
- Make it exportable and portable via API to integrate elsewhere
- Continue making data available for Excel pivoting, but please, don’t force me to use it
- For phrases that drive traffic, intelligently suggest related phrases I should buy in PPC
- Let the performance data do your selling
- Make it unnecessary for me to run 3rd party rank checkers
- Make it unnecessary for me to run 3rd party keyword research tools
- Tap into the motivational power of competition
- Let me see where my competition is positioned for phrases
- Let me see how many organic clicks my competition received for the phrase
- Show me my average position rank across my domain or any filtered segment of keywords
- Show me my competition’s average position rank across their domain, or any filtered segment of keywords
- Show me organic keyword ranking movement over time (within reasonable limits)
- Show me how many of my pages you have crawled
- Show me each URL you have crawled
- Show me how frequently you have crawled each URL over a timeframe
- Show me each URL’s indexation status
- Help me identify my crawled and un-indexed URLs
- Provide guidance why a page was not indexed
- Report on my ratio of crawled vs indexed pages
- Help me identify my indexed but un-clicked URLs
- Show me which URLs you think are duplicated
- Show me the authority/original document
- Let me de-index or canonicalize my URLs without having to rely on my IT
- Let me filter my indexed pages (or a competitor’s) based on attributes like URL, body copy, meta or inlink anchor text
- Let me export these for action
- Show me page response codes you see for each URL (301, 302, 307, 404, 500)
- Show me the keyword themes you associate with each of my URLs
- Show me which URLs you see pointing to a current page and top anchor text used to link
- Show me my URLs by title, crawl frequency, keyword themes, indexation status, traffic volumes and next crawl date
- Let me explore my competitor URLs along the same exact dimensions
- Let me bulk upload a list of my URLs to de-index
- Make available through API keyword market impressions, internal links, external links, indexation, positioning and crawler activity
- List any penalty history for my domain—reserve this for websites with a history of white hat practices
- Let me click anchor text to see which URLs use that anchor text, and let me download so I can modify in my CMS if I need to
- Don’t make me learn a new advanced search taxonomy
- Show me my URLs that are moving in rankings or clicks
- Show me my competitor URLs that are likewise shaking it up
Page supply—Managing crawl, indexation, and yield
Above all, make Bing irresistible for marketers to avoid.
I’m not talking about gaming engines here; I’m talking about creating a new game, where you play a leadership role advancing a data-driven science of organic search marketing. A science that, being 2010, has been repressed far too long out of fear of offending “almighty” Google. Balancing such unparalleled openness and algorithmic transparency will obviously demand a proportionate investment towards your engine’s organic quality to prevent manipulation. But hey, you’re already doing that, right? So put your smarts, vast resources, deep motivation, search prowess and web topological data to work solving legitimate marketing problems the industry is attempting to solve on its own.
You’ve bought all the share that’s up for sale. The rest must be earned.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.