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What the Bing! Should You Make The Switch?

Oct 1, 2012 / by Darin Berntson


Will Bing Out-Social Google?

Does the average Joe or Jane REALLY prefer Bing to Google’s search results?

Let me start with a side note. Last Thursday was Google’s 14th birthday. Did you notice, did you care, and did you send Google a present for being your favorite search engine? Since you probably did not… Bing and Klout sure did, in what could be more of a shot across the bow of sorts, letting Google know they are coming up right behind them.

Yes, Bing aligned with Klout… You know the “we stalk you online and give you an online credit score” site. I joke a little here, as Klout is an online influencer site that people either love or hate. Either way, Klout is one of the best and well-known “people graders” on the web. Sure, they have competition and a lot of criticism, but Klout has their own “clout” in that they have many brands that love working with them. Their list now includes Microsoft and Bing.

What does all this mean to you? You will now see Klout information on the Bing sidebar showing results in the People Who You Know section. Not only will you get search results, Bing and Klout will try to connect you to “experts” on the subject you are looking for. Time will tell if this is a big deal or not.

Bing It On - Take The Search Engine Challenge

Those of us in the industry pay the most attention to Google when it comes to search engine optimization and pay-per-click, and we typically use Google for all of our own searches. However, should we start to take notice of Bing?

According to Bing, “people choose Bing web search results over Google 2 to 1 in a blind comparison test”. The question is, will preferring Bing in a sidewalk test, coupled with some fun advertising, make people actually switch to Bing?

Granted, Bing is now branding themselves better, but they have much larger hurdles to jump over. It is not like Coke vs. Pepsi where a shopper goes into a supermarket and grabs the soda they just tasted. Bing needs to convince users to change their computer (and minds) away from their Google default settings.

Google is the search engine version of Kleenex, while Bing is the off- brand. Not that it is a bad thing, but if people want to know something, they “Google it”. Sure, you can Bing it, but all of the other verbs of Bing sound funny. “I’m Binging it now honey”, “I just Binged that Dave”, or would you say, “When I Bang that, I found these 2 shirts for $15.00 each”? It is just odd. OK, the verbs thing was more of a goofy rant, but you get my point on branding right. Google has a leg up, and apparently, Microsoft and Bing do not care. They say, just go to 'Google' it on Bing.

Does the average consumer really care what results they get? Will they scroll and scroll until they find what they want? Or is everyone only happy with the first page results?

Let's Do This Bing!

Let’s see how the Bing it On Challenge worked for me. Here is my own test on subjects I like (don’t judge me):

#1: Best Disneyland Restaurant: The trained eye can pick out Google like Lindsay Lohan in a mug shot.

Gotta give this one to Google. #1 reason is the Rel=Author photo in the first result and the rest are from popular Disney fan sites that I know as well as popular foodie blogs and Yelp. What Bing serves up unfortunately nothing of interest to me.

#2 Best Movie of All Time

The results on the right look like Google, only because of the Rel=Author again. Not to mention, the results just look correct. These sites make the most sense to me. How about you?

#3 Start Trek’s Best Villain (I said don’t judge me!)

WOW, this one is a draw for me. A few of the same results in different rankings, but on the left has some video in the results (Bing BTW). It is too close to call. Qapla'!

#4 Mazda vs Hyundai - I own one of each, so what do the SERPs have to say?

I think I prefer the one on the right as it has some Yahoo Answers callouts. Otherwise, I am somewhat bored with both results actually. I think I would refine my search.

#5 Social Media Management Tools – Well, it is what I do? No I’m not a tool. I use them.

The right wins easily! Pictures draw the eye baby! For me, seeing that real people are reviewing these helps me want to click.

Here is my final score.

Damn you Google, you won this time. I did some other tests as well, not so much on the long tail search, but more with just one keyword… such as boogers (yes I’m a little childish) and Bing served up better, photo-centric results for that. Check it out for yourself, if you are not squeamish.

In the end, my results may not be the same as yours, and I have more of a trained eye as to what to look for, so maybe my answers are a bit biased. I think Bing is doing a very decent job. Bings search volume continues to climb, and a very large chunk of the population uses it daily for search (including my dad). Therefore, to ignore Bing from a marketing play would not be a good idea.

Wrapping This Puppy Up!

Was this “birthday present” Bing sent to Google really a present after all or did the "shot across the bow" backfire? Or did Bing make a huge advancement into the social search engine battle with their affiliation with Klout and their new "Bing it On" marketing play?

As Bing continues to improve its offering, I feel as if the Microsoft search engine will gain more in popularity. Bing is making strides to be a great alternative to Google, as well they should. And to advertisers and internet marketers out there, you best pay attention and take advantage of what Bing has to offer, this is something that Google is NOT always getting... eyeballs!

What do you think? Have you taken the Bing it on challenge? What did you think about that Klout announcement last week? Feel free to leave comments below.

Until next time…


Topics: SEO Blog Social Media

Darin Berntson

Written by Darin Berntson

Darin "Doc" Berntson is the former Senior Community Manager for SEO.com. He oversaw SEO.com's content strategies and social media department. He can be found at many events locally and nationally as an attendee, or a speaker.

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