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Bing, the Poor Decision Engine?

July 27, 2012 · 9 comments

in SEO

They say it’s “the decision engine” but many times I feel like it’s the “which decision looks the least terrible engine”.

I work for a Pittsburgh SEO firm called Eyeflow Internet Marketing and like many other SEO consultants out there I search for our keywords on a pretty regular basis. I know… it’s exactly what I tell my clients not to do but I just can’t help myself.  Just the other day I was thinking about how I never bothered to check Bing and shortly after going to Bing I remembered why?

Everything I know about ethical SEO practices is consistently undermined in the top 10 Bing results.  Even in Google you’ll find an obvious black hat/spam website in the search results from time-to-time but it is much rarer and at least Google will let you report those sites. It is little features like this that make Google very web developer / SEO consultant friendly.

I’m sure by now you’d like to see exactly what is causing me to feel this way about Bing’s search results. Let me show you…

Bing Search: Pittsburgh SEO

This is the search result in Bing that really offends me on a personal level. We work very hard at our company to make sure we’re optimizing sites in the most white hat way we know how. Then I go and do a search like this and Bing’s results tell me I shouldn’t even bother.

pittsburgh seo bing

What’s wrong with these results?

a) Keywords in the Domain: Heavily favoring keywords in the domain name, regardless of quality.

b) Duplicate Content: Results 1, 2 & 10 have nearly 100% duplicate content!

c) Poor Geo-Targeting: 60% of the results aren’t located in Pittsburgh.

Bing Search: Pittsburgh Lawyer

Now I’d like to show you a more general search since SEO companies tend to approach their own websites in a very different way than most traditional firms.

pittsburgh lawyer bing

What’s wrong with these results?

a) Directories: 40% of the results are lead generation or directory websites. These typically provide very little use to users and are heavily filled with advertising.

b) Doorway Pages: Results 3, 4, 5 and 10 are obvious doorway domains. Created just to capture specific keywords.

c) Duplicate Content: The doorway pages above have a lot of duplicate content.

d) Keyword Stuffing: Result 8 is a real Pittsburgh based lawyer website but the footer is stuffed with keywords.

Both of these searches returned results that are not only direct violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines but also Bing’s very own web development standards. It makes me wonder if Microsoft is really planning on having Bing around in the next 5 years.

Conclusion

After seeing many results like these it seems impossible to truly optimize for both Google and Bing as focusing on Bing could potentially have you penalized by Google. This also means that blackhat SEO practitioners still have an opportunity with Bing as long as they are willing to risk their Google results.

Since Google has the majority market share and optimizing for Google also gets you some Bing results it looks like you’re better off focusing on Google’s guidelines. What do you think?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex July 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

None of mine websites are optimized for bing. Because I like Google and I think that they still have the most relevant results.

Reply

Reg-NBS-SEO July 28, 2012 at 1:24 am

The reason Google has the lion’s share of the search market is BECAUSE it has better search algorithms.

Google produces much higher relevance results.

One also has to consider the searcher’s input.
If I were searching for a lawyer, i would be much more inclined to us the longtail.
Instead of “Pittsburgh lawyers” I would be searching “Family law lawyers Pittsburgh” or “Criminal lawyers Pittsburgh”.

When I search Bing for Criminal lawyers Pittsburgh I get http://www.criminallawyerpittsburgh.com/ which is EXACTLY what I want and I need go no further.

If this is not good enough, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th results are directories.

Reply

Chris Hornak July 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Good point Reg-NBS-SEO but if you actually goto criminallawyerpittsburgh.com you will see it’s not really a directory of lawyers in Pittsburgh. It’s someone trying to capture leads. The site is obviously designed to capture keywords which is not working for Google but since Bing isn’t as good at detecting this type of low quality site they have it in position 1 which shows with the write over-optimization you can do well in Bing but not Google.
Chris Hornak recently posted..Don’t Over-Optimize Your WebsiteMy Profile

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saha July 31, 2012 at 4:18 am

These results are annoying. Majority is optimizing sites for Google not for Bing. Because Google is search Giant and produces most relevant results.
saha recently posted..How to make Entire Div ClickableMy Profile

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Nishadha Silva July 31, 2012 at 6:57 am

Some annoying results for sure. But Bing market share is slightly increasing especially in US so I think its better to optimize for Bing as well, and hopefully they will iron out their mistakes.
Nishadha Silva recently posted..Increase Referral Traffic by Tweaking Referral SourcesMy Profile

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Barry July 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wow – those “Pittsburgh SEO” results do suck. I think my results are different from yours but they are still nothing but keyword domains and spammy titles. There is even a spam press release about some company writing their 200th post. What an accomplishment!
Not one in the top ten that doesn’t have “Pittsburgh SEO” at or near the beginning of the title. Who do they think they are fooling? When a normal person searches for something, I don’t think they expect to see keywords. They would rather see a company name or something that sets the site apart from all the junk.
Even your own company is guilty of that one, but maybe it is a necessary evil.

Google’s results are not a whole lot better.
Did a little digging on you and looks like most of your links are from one real estate site and a lot of article marketing sites. Looks like that works for “Pittsburgh SEO”. is that a localized strategy or do you rank well for some SEO keywords without Pittsburgh?
And does SEOMoz know you kidnapped their robot? 😉

Reply

Chris August 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Hey Barry,

We’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years so you’re going to find all kinds of links in our profile. I’m sure there are some questionable ones consider 10 years ago those strategies worked and worked well.

Our more modern process is focused on merging SEO with online branding. Of course the core of good SEO is creating great content. With that in mind we’ve created an SEO grading tool seozio.com and a free do it yourself SEO guide http://www.eyeflow.com/learn/ebook/.

Obviously I’m going to be biased of the search “Pittsburgh SEO” and my point wasn’t to say we’re better than any other SEO company in the area. There were just some obvious results that shouldn’t of been there.

As for the robots what can I say it’s trendy in our industry to have robots on your website.
Chris recently posted..Don’t Over-Optimize Your WebsiteMy Profile

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Reg-NBS-SEO August 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm

@Chris
If I go to http://www.criminallawyerpittsburgh.com/ I find a site for Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Aaron Tomczak which fits the (Criminal lawyers Pittsburgh) search 100%.

Reply

Chris August 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm

True, I guess this shows that Google has trained my brian to spot over-optimized websites and this website totally fits the description.
Chris recently posted..Don’t Over-Optimize Your WebsiteMy Profile

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