Tag Archives: bing

Digital Marketing Social Media

Social Search is the future

Last year we brought you news of Google’s plans in Social Search. Take a look at that post to see Google’s Matt Cutts talk all about what it actually is.

Finding out what your friends think

Briefly, Social Search is when results and content posted by people in your social circle are surfaced in the search results page.

For example, lets says you’re searching for an ‘Italian Restaurant in Reading’. It might be that recently a friend of yours has visited an Italian Restaurant in Reading and has made a comment about it on Facebook. Social Search would return a set of results that included the comments made by your friend, since they are relevant to the search results.

All of us are more likely to follow the recommendation of a friend than someone we don’t know, so social search is also about making search more relevant to each one of us.

Facebook and Bing in on the act

Now its the turn of Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing to socialise search. In the US they have just completed a tie up to make search “more social”,

What they plan is that when a user searches for something on Bing or using the web results in Facebook, if any friends have ‘liked’ an item related to that search that person’s image will appear alongside the search results.

Bing has added more depth to its people search too, by making the results based on the user’s Facebook contacts. So when a user searches for an individual, friends or mutual friends get shown higher in the search results.

In a blog post Facebook commented “Everyday most of us make decisions with the input from people we trust and this is a way to bring friends’ recommendations to online search.”

At the moment the change is just in the US – we’re yet to see plans for the UK.

Try it out!

Try switching your settings on Bing to US and trying out social search. Do you think there’s a future in it, something genuinely useful to people? Or is this just another search gimmick? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

How many searches per month are carried out on Twitter?

There’s a story over on Search Engine Land that discusses the number of searches carried out on Twitter every month. This is following the redesign on the Twitter homepage to make the service more search focused.

At the Twitter Chirp conference Co founder Ev Williams said that the service is handling a massive 19 billion searches per month. That, incredibly, is more than Bing and Yahoo combined. And that’s from a service that is in reality just 3 years old.

Here’s the official monthly search figures of all the top players, according to comScore:

Google: 88 billion per month
Twitter: 19 billion per month
Yahoo: 9.4 billion per month
Bing: 4.1 billion per month

Google numbers are for more than just the search engine, and include those for images, maps and –crucially – YouTube). As you can see, Twitter is now in position 2.

However, there are a few holes in Twitter figures. For a starter they’re self reporting. Secondly, those searches are often made by third party applications such as desktop clients tweetdeck and Seesmic.

And thirdly – and most significantly – many are ‘standing queries’ that are being carried out on a users behalf. For example, one of my columns in Tweetdeck is a search for ‘webeden’, so I can have a look to see if anyone is mentioning us. I’m not making that search every day, but did it once when I set up Tweetdeck. But now Tweetdeck is carrying out that search on my behalf every 150 seconds throughout the day.

Last but not least, many users choose to display their Twitter profile or a keyword search on their websites. (If you want to do this watch our tutorial on how to put your Twitter profile on your website). In these cases it’s the actual websites that are making constant, standing searches on Twitter.

So the figure of 19bn might be not quite what we’d understand as 19bn if it was searches being carried out on one of the traditional search engines. They aren’t all individual varied searches for information, products or services.

As for the actual Twitter Search page, it contributes just ‘ a few million’ searches per months. Here’s our in depth guide on how to search on Twitter.

Do you find Twitter search useful? Were you even aware it existed? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Stone the Crows! Google market share actually drops!

It seems like every week we rack up another success story on Google’s road to riches. But for the first time I can remember, this is one that goes against that trend.

Wait for it: Google’s share of the UK search market actually DROPPED in February! According to stats from the AT Internet Institute, Google dropped by 1.6%, losing ground to both Bing and Yahoo.

I’m not saying they’re in trouble: Google market share is still at 89.2%. No reason to panic. Yahoo gained 0.6% giving them a 4.1% share. Bing added 0.7% which places it at3.8%. These figures were of course collected before Bing kicked off its huge Advertising campaign.

Google is much more favoured by Brits than Americans: US market share for the search giant stands at around 65%. Europeans love Google too: in France it has 89% market share, and in Germany it stands at 94%, and in Spain its 93%.

Last year we announced that Yahoo and Microsoft would be merging their search engines. In the last couple of weeks, US regulators have finally given that deal the go ahead. The new search offering which will all be powered by Bing means that when it comes to search engines its now just a two horse race.

If you’re not sure which search engine you prefer, try testing all three alongside, and stripped of branding, to see which one gets on best in the blind search test.

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Digital Marketing

Microsoft starts advertising Bing in the UK

Despite some ups and downs, Microsoft’s newest search engine ‘Bing’ has generally been judged to be successful.

The search engine has some innovative new features, not least of which is the ability to preview web pages before you actually click through to them. From a look and feel perspective it’s very pleasant – the starting screen is usually a stunning landscape picture.


Market share

In the US it has captured a significant share of the search engine market, although this has come at the expense of other Microsoft search platforms, and Yahoo, rather than market leading Google.

There of course it has been helped by an advertising campaign estimated to have cost in the region of $100m – quite a persuasive amount of money.

In the UK Bing is capturing just 4% of the search queries, vs Yahoo’s 6% and Google’s 88%. But all that may be about to change as Microsoft announced they would kick off a huge campaign for the UK search engine.

A Decision Engine?

The campaign questions the need for the “information overload” that Google provides. It champions Bing’s ability to deliver clear and concise results. The creative carries the strapline ‘Bing and decide” and attempts to position Bing as a ‘decision engine’. Microsoft wants users to imagine that Bing cuts through the clutter of the Internet to find the answers they need.

There are three TV ads in all – kicking off today and running for three months – and you’ll start to see ads for Bing on Social Networking websites too.

Here’s the first one:

Are you a fan of Bing? Have you even tried it? What about having a go at the blind search test to see which search engine you really prefer? Leave us a comment below.

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Google Products

Who is Google’s biggest challenger?

On this blog we’ve talked quite a bit about the market share of each search engine. Despite their best efforts to launch new search engines such as Bing; or to combine their search engines; neither Microsoft nor Yahoo appear able to challenge the dominance of Google.

But may be the challenger is coming from a different direction. Last year we ran with a story that said that Facebook was the fastest growing search engine. And Facebook is growing in all other areas too.

Facebook is good for News Websites

For example, according to Hitwise traffic from Facebook to US news sites has tripled over the last year, whilst Google’s share has remained static.

This has emboldened news publishers such as Rupert Murdoch to demand money from Google for their content, or face being locked out of it.

Now that Facebook has passed the 400m user milestone, it might be Facebook that is the biggest threat to the way Google wants to run things.

Google on the Run

Is Google scared? Well for the first time ever they splashed out $5m on a TV ad during the Superbowl a few weeks ago. Is that a proactive move or a reactive one?

Facebook already has a cosier relationship with news providers, who often choose to publish their content on Facebook.

Of course Google claim that actually they are helping news publishers, sending them an estimated 4bn visits every year.

With Facebook and Twitter of course the content is entirely at the publishers’ discretion, and they get to see who is reading it; both features that Google does not let them have.

Some have speculated that were Facebook to launch a comprehensive web-wide search engine, Google would lose huge traffic overnight.

Google Buzz Fail?

Then too there is the launch of Google Buzz – a defensive move surely, as Google tries to muscle in on the social media landscape.

Do you think the Google Empire may be having a wobble? Or have Google got nothing to worry about; Facebook is no threat to them? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

We can’t get enough of search engines

According to a recent report by website monitoring firm ComScore, Internet users love affair with search engines continues to deepen.

For the month of December 2009, worldwide search volumes increased by a massive 46% over the same month in 2008. That means there that just in December there were 131bn searches, more than 4bn for every day of the month.

The country with the most searches was the US, with 17% of the global share. The UK hit a total of 6.2bn searches, more than punching its weight per head of population. That’s 100 searches for everyone in the country, and is a 35% increase year on year.

And which search engines are being used? Of course its Google who dominates, with 67% of the global search volume. Google grew by 58% over the 12 month period. But it was a great year for Microsoft, who saw a huge 70% growth year on year, from 2.4bn to 4.1bn searches. Yahoo was up a much more modest 13%, hitting 9.4bn.

And as have mentioned previously, it is Facebook that has also hit the search headlines, delivering 1.5bn searches, up 54% year on year.

“The global search market continues to grow at an extraordinary rate, with both highly developed and emerging markets contributing to the strong growth worldwide. Search is clearly becoming a more ubiquitous behaviour among internet users, which drives navigation not only directly from search engines but also within sites and across networks”, said Jack Flanagan, executive VP at ComScore.

Do you always search on Google? How can you be sure that you prefer it? Why not take a blind search test? And then leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

When a URL shortener doesn’t shorten the URL

Those of you who are regular users of Twitter will already know what a URL Shortener is.

For those of you less familiar, a URL shortener…. shortens URLs! It makes website addresses shorter, so that it’s easier to paste into an email, a Tweet, or a text message.

For example, let’s say you wanted to show someone the WebEden video tutorial that shows you how to put AdSense on your website. The full URL is http://webeden.co.uk/blog/video-tutorials/website-builder-tutorials-how-to-put-google-adsense-on-your-website/.

If you’re trying to cut and paste that into a Tweet then it uses up lots of character space. Bear in mind that you only get 140 characters to make your point – this URL uses up 115 of them in one go.

If you put this long URL into a URL Shortener (bit.ly for example), you end up with http://bit.ly/5CVnmy. Anyone clicking on this second link will automatically be sent onto the first, long URL. And this second URL is just 20 characters long, leaving you much more space to say other things.

There are lots of URL shortners out there. Popular ones include http://tinyurl.com and http://bit.ly.

More and more big brands are launching them too. Google have goo.gl, Facebook have fb.me.

We often give Microsoft a hard time on this blog, but this time they have done something which deserves a bit of mirth. Because Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com has launched a URL Shortener… which is in fact longer than their main URL!

Binged.it‘ is in fact 1 character longer than the normal bing.com domain! This may not seem like a big deal, but when the whole point of the product is to use up as few characters as possible, this seems an odd decision. As Techcrunch pointed out, there are other options including ‘bin.gd’.

Have you tried using URL shorteners? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Bing stops growing. Yahoo continues shrinking.

Bing was big news last year. Despite some ups and downs, Microsoft’s newest search engine, was generally judged to be a success.

The icing on the cake for Bing came when Yahoo and Microsoft tied up a search deal that would see Bing results replace Yahoos on several Yahoo properties.

But whilst that deal is tied up with US regulators, both companies are having a harder time in the current market place.

According to figures from web measurement firm ‘Neilsen’, the market share growth of Bing had come to a halt in December.

And the story is worse for Yahoo, which continued a decline which began several months – if not years – earlier.

9.9% of all US searches in December were on Bing, down from 10.7% in November,

Over the same period Yahoo slid from 15.3 % to 14.4%. Back in July Yahoo had as much as 17.1%.

No guesses for where this market share has gone: Google was up 1.9% in December to 67.3%. Back in August it was 64.6%.

Bing’s slide is all the more worrying for Microsoft because they had a big US advertising campaign for Bing in December, which positioned the service as a ‘decision engine’ rather than a search engine.

Of course these are all figures for the US. In the UK, Google powers close to 90% of all web searches.

Do you just stick to Google, or do you try all the others too? How do you know whether you prefer Google? Leave us a comment below.

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Google Products Social Media

Google & Microsoft stoke up ‘Real time’ battle by… doing exactly the same deal with Twitter

A couple of months ago we talked about the ‘Real time’ battle being played out by Google and Microsoft. The emergence of Twitter has a search engine that can tell you what people are discussing right now, made both Google and Microsoft to develop their own angle on ‘real time’

Whilst Microsoft’s Bing opted to include Tweets from prominent Twitters within their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), Google decided to rapidly index and promote blog posts and other recently added online content.

Both major players have now elected to try and beat each other at the Real Time game by… doing exactly the same thing. A couple of week’s ago they announced that they would feature live Tweets from the full Twitter index.

This is how Paul Yiu from Bing put it: “Twitter is producing millions of tweets every minute on every subject you can imagine. The power of those tweets as a form of data that can be surfaced in search is enormous… Working with those clever birds over at Twitter, we now have access to the entire public Twitter feed and have a beta of Bing Twitter search for you to play with.” The service is currently only available in the US.

And on the same day, this is what Marissa Mayer from Google had to say “We have reached an agreement with Twitter to include its updates in our search results. We believe our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months.”

Bing is already starting to include Twitter results in the US. In the UK we have to wait; and everyone has got to wait a while for Google,

Seeing as they have decided to do exactly the same thing, the winner will probably the search engine that chooses the most effective integration. Twitter produces a lot of ‘noise’ – irrelevant or irreverent Tweets that people may well not find useful to see in the SERPs.

As for what it means to website builders and your social media strategy, this means that is going to be more important than ever to make sure you are effectively using Twitter to communicate with your website visitors about your website. If you use Twitter as a customer service and communication tool, more people than ever will witness your customer care. As we discussed previously, the SERPs for your brand searches influence a lot of potential visitors to your website. More than ever they need to see that yours is a website that they want to interact with.

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Digital Marketing

The world’s most popular search engine gets a lot more popular

Another day, another statistic about how big and popular Google is. This time its ComScore, who have just released the research that total internet searches are up by a colossal 41%.

And you’ve guessed it: Google is the search engine that has driven most of that growth.

What’s amazing about this statistic however is that the change is so huge in what is considered to be a fairly mature market.

Its one thing to grow massively in your early stages, when any change represents a big percentage. But when you’re already very big, which search engines are (using search engines is by far the most popular online activity), then even significant absolute growth is usually just a few percentage points.

Here are the specifics: Global searches went up from 80 billion to 114 billion between July 2008 and July 2009. And Google grew from 49 billion searches to 77 billion. That means Google has hovered up 67% of the global search market.

Elsewhere, Yahoo grew just 2% with searches rising from 8.7 billion to 8.9 billion. That gives it 7.8% of the global search market. Chinese search engine Baidu went up 8% from 7.4 billion to just under 8 billion. Even though Baidu draws it user base from just one country, that still means it has 7% of the global market.

Microsoft, by contrast, saw very healthy growth of 41%, but this was from a fairly modest base of 2.35 billion searches.

In terms of a global break down, most searches happen in Europe, which produced 32% of searches. This was followed by Asia Pacific (31%), North America (22%) and Latin America (9%).

Where will it all end? Is this just the tip of the iceberg, or the top of the hill? No wonder new entrants want to grab a piece of this market. Leave us a comment below.

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