Posts

VDaySearch.png

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and that means searches related to the holiday are already starting to spike. Thankfully, you still have time to get campaigns running before Valentine’s Day searches peak.

Bing recently released data giving insight to key trends for Valentine’s Day-related searches (including gifts, candy, flowers, restaurants and jewelry), as well as ad performance to help inform your marketing efforts this year.

bing-ads-valentines-day-searches

According to the data, this week is likely already seeing an increase in searches compared to last week, but next week will be the height of Valentine’s Day fever. Desktop saw an especially notable spike in the final week before the big day, jumping 77 percent. In comparison, mobile searches rose by 71 percent.

In total, mobile made up 32 percent of Valentine’s Day-related searches and 17 percent of clicks across Bing last year.

The best day for Valentine’s Day-related searches was February 11 last year, but candy and chocolate searches didn’t reach their height until February 13.

bing-ads-valentines-day-searches-category-by-day-800x542

While many get an early start on larger purchases like jewelry, it isn’t a surprise that Valentine’s Day card shopping is often done last-minute. From February 12 through Valentine’s Day, cards sales skyrocketed, showing the need to customize your budget and bidding strategies depending on what products and services you provide.

Click-through rates saw their highest point overall between the February 10 and 14, averaging 4.9 percent. On desktop, CTR reached its peak in the afternoon of February 12, while mobile didn’t top out until late on Valentine’s Day.

For more data about Valentine’s Day search and keyword trends, check out Bing’s full presentation on Slideshare.

BingLogo

As of January 1st, Bing is officially powering AOL’s search results as the result of a long-term deal made by the two companies in June of last year. Rick van der Kooi, Corporate VP of Microsoft Search Advertising announced the change, saying:

“Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.”

Van der Kooi also shared some interesting bits of information to help illustrate the scale of the partnership, including:

  • 1 in 5 searches happen on Bing.com
  • Bing also powers search results for the third largest search provider in the US (Yahoo)
  • With Bing now powering AOL searches, the engine now powers close to one-third of all US PC web searches.

The company looks to gain even more ground by acquiring the built-in audience from AOL, which is responsible for generating billions of search queries a year.

Unlike Bing’s deal with Yahoo, Bing’s will be powering 100% of AOL’s search results across all devices. In the Yahoo agreement, only 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search results are powered by Bing, with no support for mobile.

BingLogo

Like Google, Bing has been increasingly focused on delivering a mobile-friendly version of the web to its growing number of mobile users. Now, Bing has released a tool to help webmasters ensure their site meets the search engine’s standards for mobile-friendliness.

Specifically, the tool reviews your site based on the following criteria to decide if your site is mobile-friendly:

  • Viewport and Zoom control configuration
  • Width of page content
  • Readability of text on the page
  • Spacing of links and other elements on the page
  • Use of incompatible plug-ins

The tool will also notify webmasters if any of the above criteria were inaccessible or blocked, so you can remedy the problem.

MobileFriendly

Like the tool Google offered shortly before it released its “Mobile-Friendly Algorithm”, Bing’s tool delivers an overall verdict as to whether you site would be considered mobile-friendly by the search engine.

NotMobileFriendly

It will also explain what issues it detects and explain why your page fails, if that is the case.

Both Bing and Google’s tools reportedly detect essentially the same things, with little difference between the ultimate results. However, Bing’s tool is significantly faster and easier to use.

BingLogo

While most people are getting ready for Halloween by preparing their costumes and making sure they have plenty of candy for trick-or-treaters, Bing is getting prepped by launching Halloween-related Cortana searches and a special Bing map showing the locations for haunted houses in the US, UK, and Canada.

In fact, Bing is prepared to help you make a last minute costume decision if you’ve waited this long. Just ask Cortana, “What should I wear for Halloween?”

Bing-cortana-what-should-i-be-for-halloween-338x600

Cortana’s holiday spirit doesn’t end there. The search system has a new “guess the horror movie game” that will help keep you bide the time until Saturday. To start the game, just use the phrase “guess the horror movie.”

Bing-cortana-halloween-game-774x600

Big Maps has also been given a spooky makeover for Halloween, complete with a “frighteningly fun color palette and a new set of Halloween-themed icons.” The map has been updated to also highlight local haunted house locations for Bing users in the US, UK, and Canada.

Bing-spooky-map-2015-800x391

Bing is also making changes to how they show e-commerce results for costumes just in time for the holiday. The company says costume images from e-commerce sites will now include its shopping cart badge sowing how many sites have the specific costume for sale.

Bing-Halloween-shopping-cart-badge-515x600

A similar badge will also be used on food images to direct users to recipes for frighteningly delicious Halloween treats.

BingLogo

On October 1st, Bing is shutting down Link Explorer, a link analysis tool that has been available from the company since June 2012, according to a new announcement. This is likely bad news for the many webmasters who used the tool to gain a deeper understanding of their own inbound links or to get a look at the links pointing to competitors’ sites.

According to the announcement, Bing isn’t shutting down the tool due to lack of popularity or demand, but because they had simply outgrown it. The size and architecture of Bing’s index have reached the point where there is just no way for Link Explorer to prove effective.

“We will no longer be able to power Link Explorer inside Webmaster Tools,” the company says — while suggesting its own Inbound Links tool as an alternative. Bing’s Duane Forrester explains the Inbound Links tool is more efficient for assessing your own links.

Link Explorer’s powers were limited since its inception as it only gave a view of a limited sample of your backlinks, meanwhile the Inbound Links tool you can view and export up to a million inbound links in just a few clicks.

Forrester also encourages those who used the tool to evaluate their competition to look for one of the many third-party alternatives available, saying the third party tools “provide even more comprehensive link analysis” than provided by Link Explorer.

Bing is swinging back at critics with new data that shows Bing Ads is successfully serving Yahoo search ad click volume.

According to a new Bing Ads blog post, Bing Ads delivered ad clicks against more than 99 percent of Yahoo desktop traffic and approximately 90 percent of traffic from mobile devices over the last month. The click volume continues to average 99 percent of Yahoo’s April baseline click volume as well.

The post also says that a 1 percent deviation month-over-month is a normal reflection of seasonal queries.

 yahoo-click-volume

In April, Yahoo and Microsoft renegotiated their search partnership after six years, which led to rumors that Bing Ads would not be successfully serving Yahoo search ad click volume, but the data disputes those claims.

Under the old deal, Bing Ads delivered all the desktop search ads across Yahoo properties, but the new deal allows Yahoo to serve up to 49 percent of that traffic from its own Gemini ad system. Additionally, both companies can now sell their own ads, which previously only Yahoo could do.

bing-predictions-lentucky-ncaa

The first round of March Madness games begin in earnest tomorrow and Bing is helping you get prepared for the big NCAA tournament. The search engine is offering predictions and tournament brackets so you can gauge the best picks for each match-up and even get in on the action by submitting brackets to the official contest on NCAA.com.

Anyone searching for terms such as “NCAA,” “March Madness,” or “college basketball” will immediately see the entire tournament bracket, as well as Bing’s predictions for every one of the 69 games.

The responsive search features are the result of a partnership between Bing and NCAA announced last week, which allowed Bing greater access to stats and data. According to Bing, the wealth of data took over seven hours of data crunching Sunday evening to prepare their predictions this soon.

In a blog post, Bing Predicts chief Dr. Walter Sun claims there are more than 9.2 permutations involved in the tournament bracket, and explains how Bing used over 10 years of data to inform its predictions.

This includes offensive and defensive statistics, conference success in previous tournaments, the proximity of tournaments to each team’s home campus, the style of each team, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and many other factors which might result in them favoring certain match-ups over others. After ingesting these initial data sets, we applied our analysis of web and social sentiment to tune our predictions, resulting in projected outcomes for each of the 67 games of the tournament, including both predicted winner and probability of the team winning. We then present to you the 1 bracket which we think is the most likely to transpire.

Bing has pegged the Kentucky Wildcats as the team who will take the championship this year, which isn’t exactly a daring prediction given the team’s perfect 34-0 record. Bing’s team of statisticians are not the only team thinking the win streak will leak the Wildcats to win it all. The analysts from Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com give Kentucky a 41 percent chance of winning. For comparison, the second most likely team, Villanova, only received an 11 percent chance.

Bing’s special results page for the tournament also includes game schedules as well as team breakdowns similar to what the search engine showed during last year’s World Cup.

Bing’s partnership with the NCAA has most likely given the search engine a lead on preparing this search feature. Currently searching for anything similar doesn’t show anything special on Google, but that will most likely change before the opening games tomorrow.

yahoo-search-appAccording to new data from web traffic analytics provider StatCounter, Yahoo has reached its highest share of the U.S. search market in more than five years thanks to a recent agreement with Mozilla.

In December, Yahoo’s search share jumped to 10.4 percent, up from 8.6 percent in November. The new share of the search market came at the expense of Google, who was previously the default search engine for Mozilla’s web browser Firefox.

In late November, Mozilla agreed to a five-year partnership with Yahoo, breaking a 10 year partnership with Google. December marked the first full month during which Yahoo was the primary search engine on Firefox.

The drop brought Google to its lowest share ever recorded by the analytics firm, falling from 77.3 percent to 75.2 percent.

SearchShareDec2014

“The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on U.S. search,” says Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter. “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”

Bing also saw an increase in their share of the search market last month, though not nearly as significant of an increase as Yahoo. From November to December, Bing’s share rose from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent. The “other” category stayed practically the same, fluctuating from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.

quality contentOver the past few years, search engine optimization (SEO) has endured a drastic shift from focusing on building link profiles filled with as many links of any quality that you could accumulate to emphasizing the value sites offer to users by assessing content quality. Of course, as the shift has occurred many online marketers were left wondering “what exactly is quality content and how do search engines judge my content?”

Google has remained fairly tight-lipped on the subject, only suggesting a few obvious and time-tested strategies for improving content for users. However, Bing’s Senior Program Manager, Michael Basilyan, went into great detail on how Bing evaluates content quality in a recent blog post.

In Bing’s case, the algorithm looks at multiple factors including relevance to specific queries, authority, utility, and even the overall presentation of the content. Basilyan encourages content creators to be ever-aware that every search is made by real people wanting real information to help them, rather than meaningless paragraphs crammed with keywords.

If you want your site to be visible on Bing’s search results and your content to be useful to users, Basilyan recommends focusing on these three areas:

  • Authority: How trustworthy is the content, the author of the content, and the website it is published on? Signals from social networks, cited sources, and name recognition is considered when determining an author’s authority.
  • Utility: How useful and detailed is the content? Content that provides appropriate levels of depth, along with supporting information, is considered to be more useful for searchers.
  • Presentation: Is the content presented in a way that’s easy to read? A well-presented page is one that makes its content easy to find, rather than one that forces the user to sift through unrelated material to find what they really want.

The blog post also highlights that Bing does not discourage the use of advertising, saying “Bing will promote and support websites and webmasters that provide ads relevant to the content of their website.” But, if your content interferes with usability it may also affect your visibility and Bing’s own assessment of your content.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Love her or hate her, chances are if you were searching for a celebrity this year using Bing, you were probably looking Kim Kardashian. Thanks to her highly publicized marriage to Kanye West and her “break the internet” magazine cover, Kardashian was the top searched for celebrity on Bing in 2014, topping a list of mostly female celebrities, according to Bing’s latest list of search trends.

Bing Trends compiles the most popular searches across 15 different categories every year, including everything from top news stories, athletes, and vacation destination searches. There is even a list of the top ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos shared online this year.

Keeping in line with past lists and similar findings from Google, the list of most searched for celebrities is absolutely dominated by women, with females taking eight of the 10 spots. Notably, the Kardashian family occupies more than one spot on the list as younger sister Kendall Jenner also makes an appearance on the list.

Top 10 Most Searched Celebrities

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Beyoncé
  3. Miley Cyrus
  4. Katy Perry
  5. Justin Bieber
  6. Joan River
  7. Jennifer Lopez
  8. Kendall Jenner
  9. Kaley Cuoco
  10. Robin Williams

The lists also covers the biggest events and news stories of the year. Capturing the most attention of the entire year was the World Cup, however numerous more serious world news stories such as the rise of ISIS and the protests in Ferguson also claim spots on the list.

Top 10 Most Searched News Stories

  1. World Cup
  2. Super Bowl
  3. Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet
  4. Winter Olympics
  5. The Rise of ISIS
  6. Ray Rice Controversy
  7. Shooting in Ferguson, Missouri
  8. Ebola Outbreak
  9. Brittany Maynard Death with Dignity Debate
  10. Ukraine Conflict

The top searched Musicians is also notably female-heavy, with Justin Bieber being the only male to hold a spot on the list. Other controversial figures also sit near the top, such as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Of course, at the top of the list sits Beyoncé for another year.

Top 10 Most Searched Musicians

  1. Beyoncé
  2. Miley Cyrus
  3. Katy Perry
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Justin Bieber
  6. Jennifer Lopez
  7. Selena Gomez
  8. Taylor Swift
  9. Nicki Minaj
  10. Carrie Underwood

You can see the other findings for categories including “political movers & shakers” “most-searched athletes” and “celebrity births” on Bing Trends.