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Archive for the ‘Keeping up with the Search Engines’ Category

Google & Bing Admit to Having Whitelists / Exception Lists

posted by Radames Ortiz
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last week, our SEM team at Schipul – The Web Marketing Company, attended the SMX West conference in San Jose, CA. One of the much anticipated panels included “The Spam Police” featuring Google’s Matt Cutts, Bing’s Sasi Parthasarthy and Blekko’s Rich Skrenta. The panel was moderated by Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan.

One of the interesting topics of the panel was Google and Bing’s take on whitelists & exception lists. They spoke on how some sites might be excepted in their search algorithms using white lists, exception lists, wikipedia lists, etc.

During the panel session, Danny Sullivan pressed Google and Bing regarding this issue. Both search engines admitted to having “exception lists” for sites that may get affected by algorithmic signals. They also claimed that these lists did not improve the sites’ rankings in the SERPs.

According to an official statement by Google sent to Search Engine Land, “Like other search engines (including Microsoft’s Bing), we also use exception lists when specific algorithms inadvertently impact websites, and when we believe an exception list will significantly improve search quality. We don’t keep a master list protecting certain sites from all changes to our algorithms.”

To read more about Google and Bing’s response to having exception lists check out the full transcript of the Spam Police panel or listen to the audio of the panel below.


Be sure to let us know what you think about Google and Bing having exception lists in the comment below.

Stephen Colbert to Bing, you got “hiybbprqag!”

posted by Radames Ortiz
Thursday, February 3, 2011

“For the first time ever, someone’s search history has been busted for something other than porn.” – Stephen Colbert

Earlier this week, Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, reported that Google has proof of Bing copying their search results. Bing fervently denied this accusation and instead accused Google of click fraud involving “honeypot” search results.

Well apparently, the SEO community were not the only folks who had an opinion on the matter. Comedian Stephen Colbert, despite being sponsored by Bing, poked fun at the search giant.

He briefly described Google’s sting operation and how they made nonexistent words like “hiybbprqag” to turn up in search results, only for the same results to show up on Bing a month later.

Colbert goes on to say, “Evidently, ‘hiybbprqag’ is a word meaning, you got served.”

The video is pretty hilarious, so be sure to check it out.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bing Gets Served
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

Also, what do you think about Google calling out Bing? Or Bing’s defense regarding Google’s accusation of copying their search results? Let us know in the comments.

The Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance

posted by JMO
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well, it has finally happened. After coming to a basic agreement in July and finalizing the terms in December of last year, Yahoo! and Microsoft have received regualtory approval from the U.S. Government and the EU. The result is a search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo! in their combined battle for online advertising with Google. The new search platform has been named Search Alliance.

Ads in search on the two partners will be powered by Bing, and their combined audience is estimated at 150 million Americans and over half a billion people worldwide. All of the ads will be served from Microsoft AdCenter.  The two companies are currently working out the technology details, so all of your ads on either network will stay the same for the time being. The hope is to have everything running off of the Microsoft AdCenter by Q4 2010 to capture the valuable holiday season.

What this means for advertisers

If you manage or use either Yahoo! or Bing search advertising, then nothing will change for a few months. The new merger should reach out to all advertisers with ample notice and instruction on moving over accounts, or possibly have everything moved over automatically. We will see how this works out in the Fall or possibly later. There is no hard deadline set for the transition, but it is coming.

The combination of the advertisers may end up affecting your campaigns in more ways than just an interface change. With the combination of searchers, there will also be a combination of advertisers. Currently if you run campaigns in both search engines you are competing in separate auctions for your PPC ads. This split can keep the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) lower because the number of advertisers (bidders) is lower. With this new merger, the combined pool of advertisers may cause the CPC to go up for some of your keywords.

Currently we see the cost of keywords in Bing and Yahoo! to be between 40%-60% of the cost of the same words in AdWords for similar position. These cost savings are a primary motivator to advertise on the Yahoo! and Microsoft platforms. While this new paring will grow the number of searchers it could also increase the bottom line. We won’t know for sure until the move is completed, but it may be a good idea to start planning for an increase in the cost of keywords.

The major benefit to advertisers is the consolidation of advertising. Search Alliance will become a one-stop-shop for PPC advertising. The alliance will instantly become the #2 search advertising platform, so advertisers that run ads on Search Alliance and on Google AdWords can easily capture a large percent of the overall search market.

The bids for keywords will probably go up, but they are still not likely to be more expensive than AdWords. Google currently maintains about 80% of the search market, but that extra 20% can be the difference for some online advertisers. The new Search Alliance between Yahoo! and Microsoft will make capturing that audience easier than it has been before.

You can subscribe to The SEM Blog to stay up-to-date with the changing landscape of Search Engine Marketing and Pay Per Click Advertising online.

Twitter Teams up with Google and Bing

posted by JMO
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Twitter recently partnered up with both Google and Bing to allow them to search and index the full stream of tweets. Both companies are taking a different approach to how to showcase the data. Here is a look at each one.

Bing Twitter Page and Search

Bing actually created an entire page at which displays trending topics in a cloud at the top followed by a listing of the most active links below. Each link is followed by a couple of related tweets. There is some mystery as to which tweets are being selected. It does not appear to be the first tweets or the ones from people with the most followers. It also seems the links are tied to the trending topics, and are not necessarily the most popular links on twitter.

Bing Twitter Search for the Yankees.

Additionally, Bing adds the ability to search the twitter stream in real-time. After searching a term (like Yankees) and you 4 selected tweets followed by some of the top linked content relating to those words. You can view the full tweetstream and either allow it to continually refresh or pause it a read a few. Be careful with some of the top trending topics, as they can start refresh faster than you (or at least I) can read them.

The Bing search adds some value with the related links, but the selection of how these links (and top two tweets) are chosen is still not fully known. Hopefully some of this will get ironed out as Microsoft continues to make progress in developing this search option.

Google Social Search

Google takes a completely different approach to the fire hose of Twitter data. While this may not be their long-term plan for the data, they are currently integrating it with a few other services in Google Labs. At the Google Labs Experimental Search, you can join the experiment, which gives you the option to use Social Search. Once you have signed up, when you search for something on Google and click Show Options you will see Social at the bottom. Selecting it gets you into the special Social results.

Google Social Search for Yankees

These results will show links from different people you are connected to and how you are connected to them. It also gives you the option to view results from a single person. Google creates these connections using your Google Profile (you created that, right?). I have Twitter as one of my links, as well as my YouTube account. Google scans these two networks to search for connections I might have, then it searches through that data.

This is much different than a full Twitter search, but in many cases it may be more useful. You are probably more interested in what the people you know and follow have to say than the rest of the Twitter universe. It also works to filter out all of the spam that currently plagues and Twitter trending topic. The links go to tweets, blogs, and other links related to the search, which adds some additional value to just searching the twitterstream.

These two new ways to search Twitter are still early in development so expect some changes and improvements in their results over time.