Should You Even Worry About Bing?
So many webmasters focus on Google, but some in the SEO industry say that Bing is the underdog that should get more respect. Should it? For quite some time now, Bing has tried to oust Google as the king of search. Unfortunately, Bing has also been criticized for copying Google's search results and basically piggybacking on the success of big "G."
What Bing Really Does
Last year, Google started running something of a "sting" operation to monitor its competitors' search results. What it found shouldn't be that surprising to regular users: Bing was caught cheating. Of course, Bing doesn't deny this. One of the more notable examples of Bing copying Google is the search test "tarsorrhaphy." Searching for this phrase in Google brings up something that looks like this:
Google shows the misspelled word along with the correct spelling option. Now, look at Bing's search results for the same search term:
What do you notice? Bing returns the same search result in the number one spot as Google. The difference is that Bing omits the option to correct the spelling. It simply shows the corrected result. Now, Google loves the fact that it has the best spell correction system of any search engine on the market.
What makes this really obvious in the eyes of Google is that this particular word is a very rare search query. What are the odds that Bing and Google would serve up the same exact result? Another red flag went up in 2010 when Google found that its Microsoft-owned competitor was showing a much greater overlap with Google's top 10 results than in the previous months.
Now, Bing doesn't outright copy Google. There are a lot of queries that Bing doesn't copy Google on. However, there were also plenty of times that Bing was caught copying Google's results. Google's sting operation consisted of building a code that would allow it to manually rank a page for a certain search term. Google then created roughly 100 "synthetic" search phrases - phrases that few people ever search for. Initially, the search phrases didn't return any results in Google's search engine nor in Bing's. Then, Google artificially placed a page in its search engine as a match for its synthetic search phrase. The result? Bing started to show the same result as Google. Here's the kicker, the only reason the artificial page appeared under a made up search phrase was because Google forced it to be there. Clearly, Bing was caught red-handed.
None of this should be a surprise to critics of Microsoft. The company is often accused of ripping off its rival Apple in the software industry. More recently, Acer has accused Microsoft - it's own software partner - of trying to be too much like Apple. While emulation is a form of flattery for some, Google isn't happy about it and it's not doing Bing any favors.
Bing: Where Are The Profits?
It's no mystery that Bing is a sinking ship, financially. Its $1 billion quarterly losses have been plastered everywhere in tech news - most notably last year when it hatched a scheme to stop the bleeding. However, some Internet marketers and SEOs might not be watching this as much as they are watching Bing's rising market share. An argument could be made that Bing could overtake Google in a few years, but that's predicated on Bing radically overhauling its search algorithm and its ability to "change the game fundamentally".
As of now, Bing still plays second fiddle to Google. What does this mean for you?
Stop Worrying So Much About Bing
While Bing gains market share, that won't mean anything if the search engine goes bankrupt. This is one of those instances where you need to look at the numbers and not simply search trends. Google's financial situation looks a lot better than Bing's.
At the end of the day, Google is still king of the mountain in more ways than one. Users are unlikely to dump Google, and not just because of its search. Users are bathed in a world of products like Gmail, Google Scholar, YouTube, Blogger, Google Calender, Google Maps, and other Google services that have become staples on the web. When you're constructing your next SEO campaign, it's probably safe to put all your eggs in the Google basket. It's not going anywhere. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Bing.