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New research from Yext and Forbes reinforces just how important it is to keep the information on search engine results relevant to your business accurate and up-to-date. 

The findings from more than 500 US consumers indicates that people automatically assume only half of the information they see in search results is accurate. Additionally, those consumers then hold the brands responsible for any inaccurate information about them, even when it appears outside of your official channels.

The study also revealed a few more bits of interesting information:

  • 57% of respondents say they bypass search and visit a brand’s official website first because they believe the information there will be more complete and accurate.
  • 50% of consumers regularly turn to third-party sites and apps to find information about brands.
  • 48% of those surveyed said a brand’s website is their most trusted source of information.
  • 47% say they are more likely to trust a third-party site over a brand’s website.
  • 20% of current and new customers trust social media to deliver accurate brand information.
  • 28% of consumers avoid buying a brand’s product after seeing inaccurate information.

Marc Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer of Yext elaborated on the findings, saying:

”Our research shows that regardless of where they search for information, people expect the answers they find to be consistent and accurate — and they hold brands responsible to ensure this is the case.

… there is a significant opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition through verification on and off of their own websites.”

You can download the full report here.

bingtimelineteddyrBing is quickly expanding their new timeline feature for celebrities and historical figures. Just a few weeks after premiering the feature for athletes participating in the Sochi Olympics, Bing has added the feature to searches for about half a million famous people.

If you haven’t seen the timeline feature, it is similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph, as both highlight important information on figures in a concise column. For example, the column includes standard information such as height, spouse, children, and parents. But, with the timeline feature, Bing also includes a chronological list of important events or dates in the life of the figure you searched for.

The timeline includes footnotes for all the major events, as well as listing the year they occurred. But, don’t expect to get those results for every celebrity. Bing says that in some cases where “you would be more interested in another type of information” about the celebrity, the timeline information won’t be shown in favor of more relevant data.

Search Engine Watch points out that this is most true for actors and singers. When you search for Prince, you won’t be shown a timeline. Instead, you will be shown information about his most popular sings, albums, and even romantic interests.

bingtimelineprince

If you use Bing and haven’t run into one of these timelines yet, just keep searching for celebrities or historically important people. Bing has made it clear the half a million celebrities with timeline featured are just the start of an even more robust search result system.

The biggest question this raises is whether the timeline will always be exclusive to celebrities, or whether Bing’s relationship with Klout may indicate an intention to expand their Klout-verified snapshots with features similar to timeline. Would you want searchers to be able to automatically see a timeline for you in a search engine?

Most people nowadays use Google as their primary search engine.  Well, something not everyone realizes is that when you’re logged into your Google account, Google keeps track of all searches you do with their search engine.

What this is intended to do is to enhance your experience with Google (although many people have conspiracy theories as to what their purpose really is).  The results are varied, but Google will keep track of every site you visit and display that on their search results, in addition to adjusting the order of the search results for you based on which sites you showed a preference for.

So that means if you visit one site several times while logged in and found them through Google, the next time you do the same search that site will be quite a bit higher on the results pages.

For any SEOs, this means it will not show accurate search results for keywords you do searches on.  Which is not something SEOs want to happen, if they’re looking for accurate results.

To get around this, you want to use Google when you are not logged in to your Google account.  Only then will it show unadjusted search results, which may still vary based on which server serves up your own results.  But it will not be affected by Google’s personalization of your own search results.

Whether or not they still track you based on IP address is something I’ll leave up to the conspiracy theorists, but for those of you who want a more objective search result, I recommend staying logged out of Google unless you need one of their services at that time.  Or else use a different computer/browser to do your Google searches that you want raw unaltered search results with.