It's easy for businesses to get caught up in Google's expectations for their sites, when trying to market through search. That's certainly a wise thing to do, considering Google dominates the search market by a huge margin. Still, there are other search engines that people are using, and it is also wise to make sure your site is performing to the best of its ability in those too.

I'm obviously talking about Yahoo and Bing, but Yahoo's share is declining, while Bing's is gaining. Furthermore, if the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo goes through, Bing search will be talking over Yahoo anyway.
We don't hear as much about what Bing wants out of a site for rankings, but Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center has shared some dos and don'ts of link-building for Bing. Not surprisingly, a lot of his advice for honoring Bing's policy, does not differ too much from advice that Google would give you. It is, however, still always nice to see how they feel, just to clear up any possible confusion.

Like Google, Bing places great emphasis on quality links to determine its rankings. "Just don't make the mistake of believing it will result in instant gratification. Successful link building efforts require a long-term commitment, not an overnight or turnkey solution," says DeJarnette. "You need to continually invest in link building efforts with creativity and time."

What Not To Do

DeJarnette shared a list of things that you should avoid in your link building efforts, if it is a good Bing ranking that you are after. Here is what Bing says will get your site reviewed more closely by staff:

1. The number of inbound links suddenly increases by orders of magnitude in a short period of time

2. Many inbound links coming from irrelevant blog comments and/or from unrelated sites

3. Using hidden links in your pages

4. Receiving inbound links from paid link farms, link exchanges, or known "bad neighborhoods" on the Web

5. Linking out to known web spam sites

"When probable manipulation is detected, a spam rank factor is applied to a site, depending upon the type and severity of the infraction," says DeJarnette. "If the spam rating is high, a site can be penalized with a lowered rank. If the violations are egregious, a site can be temporarily or even permanently purged from the index."

What To Do

DeJarnette also shared some tips for getting more quality links. Following are Bing's tips for effective link building (paraphrased):

1. Develop your site as a business brand and brand it consistently

2. Find relevant industry experts, product reviewers, bloggers, and media folk, and make sure they're aware of your site/content

3. Publish concise, informative press releases online

4. Publish expert articles to online article directories

5. Participate in relevant conversations on blogs/forums, referring back to your site's content when applicable

6. Use social networks to connect to industry influencers (make sure you have links to your site in your profiles)

7. Create an email newsletter with notifications of new content

8. Launch a blog/forum on your site

9. Participate in relevant industry associations and especially in their online forums

10. Strive to become a trusted expert voice for your industry, while promoting your site
Most of the stuff DeJarnette shared is nothing any savvy search marketer is not already aware of. That said, there are clearly plenty of online (and offline for that matter) businesses out there that don't have savvy search marketers on the payroll. It can be quite helpful when a search engine itself lays out what to do and what not to do to help webmasters get better rankings.


Google has announced that the Iraqi government has launched a dedicated YouTube channel. It can be found at youtube.com/iraqigov.

The Iraqi government joins the Pope, the Royal Family, Queen Rania, and the presidents of the United States, France, South Korea, and Estonia in having YouTube channels to communicate with the public. Here's a YouTube message from Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

"Earlier this year, I visited Baghdad as a guest of the U.S. State Department to engage in conversations about the role of technology in Iraq," says Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management for YouTube. "In discussions with elected officials, private companies and NGOs, I routinely heard the desire to connect with fellow citizens, Iraqis outside the country's borders, and cultures across the world."

"But it wasn't just the Iraqi Government who expressed an interest in YouTube — I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of awareness from a wide variety of Iraqis," he continues. "One young student told us she uses YouTube to understand what is really happening in her country based on the variety of opinions, citizen journalism and news reports uploaded to the site. There was little difference between her examples and those we often hear in other countries, which speaks to both the global community on YouTube and the universality of the video experience."

On a related note, Google CEO Eric Schmidt himself visited Iraq this past week, where he met with government officials. He offered the following video via YouTube's Citizentube site:

It's quite interesting to see how online video, social media, and YouTube in particular are changing the way governments connect with the people. It is likely that even more countries' governments will follow suit in the future.


Microsoft has launched a new site for Bing, where users can go to find out the latest features that have been implemented into the search engine (excuse me, "decision engine"). The site's called Behind Bing.

"You can see each feature in action though a screencast, see me talk about why we did it the way we did (for those who like to geek out), and get some drill-down details," says Bing's Stefan Weitz. "For those of you pressed for time, check out 'Features for You' at the bottom of the site which highlights some features that I thought were especially cool depending on what and where you are."

Behind Bing

Highlighted on the site currently are sections looking at:

- Real-time search
- Bing Local
- Weather/Event results
- Enhanced Results
- Enhanced hover
- Bing for mobile
- Videos
- Bing Travel
- Bing Health
- Visual Search
- Bing Shopping
- Wolfram Alpha
- Search Sharing
- Reference
There are videos and other sections for "explore," "overview," and "insight guide." If you don't regularly keep up with Bing's announcements or search news in general, this should serve as a good place to check out from time to time just to see what the search engine has been up to, and to stay informed about any functionalities that you may have otherwise missed. That will of course require that Microsoft keeps it updated.

On a related note, all of the features that Bing announced last week are supposed to be "100%" live now for all users, but that doesn't seem to be accurate, as I am not able to access some of the new stuff yet.


Bing has managed to turn retailers' heads in a big way. After looking at statistics from part of 2008, SearchIgnite reported that retailers spent almost 50 percent more with Microsoft's search engine this time around, which puts Google and Yahoo partly to shame.

Or, to be more precise, "Retailers have spent 47% more on search ads on Bing in Q4 this year than during this same time period in 2008," according to SearchIgnite. "Compared with Google and Yahoo!, Bing also saw better YoY click volume growth."

Additionally, "[a]verage order values on Bing are 21% higher than across all engines, which could account for the spend growth."

Impressive, right? It's only when you sort of step back for a moment that Bing's achievements look less stunning. That's because, despite the progress Microsoft has made, exactly 75 percent of advertisers' dollars went to Google during the first part of this quarter, and 16 percent headed to Yahoo. Bing grabbed just 8 percent.

Still, some headway is better than none, and retailers are demonstrating a lot of confidence in Bing by giving it a try during the all-important holiday season.


After all is said and done Rupert Murdoch may still be seen as the sly old fox that really knew best. Many bloggers and journalists have pounded the insanity of Murdoch's suggestion that News Corp publications might strike an exclusive indexing deal with Bing and delist itself from Google's search engine.

However, what if Murdoch was really only talking about the Wall Street Journal and not all News Corp publications? Then the idea might actually make a lot of sense.

According to Compete.com WSJ.com already receives the largest percentage of its traffic from Microsoft' (18.74%). This is contrary to many sites which typically receive the majority of their referrals from Google, often many times more than what Microsoft delivers. Yahoo provides another 6.3% and since Bing will likely be owning Yahoo's search business that means Microsoft is actually delivering 25% of the Wall Street Journals current traffic.

If Rupert Murdoch can get Microsoft to pay possibly as much as $50 million or more a year to lose just 11.5% of his Google traffic sent to WSJ.com the deal makes a lot of sense.

According to Hitwise Google and Google News combined deliver approximately 26% of WSJ.com visitors. However, even with this larger percentage (vs. Compete's) Hitwise notes in a blog post why this might not be as much of a traffic loss as it appears:

Analyzing Google search terms driving traffic to the Journal, the top 100 terms accounted for over 21.6% of all Google search traffic to WSJ.com. Of that 21.6%, 13.4% were navigational or brand searches (e.g. "Wall Street Journal," "WSJ," "WSJ.com" etc...). Even if Murdoch decides to block Google, these navigational search queries will most likely remain intact.

Of the remaining 8.2%, the majority of searches were for stock quotes, and general business related searches. Most specific news related searches fill-out the long tail of search queries. While the Journal may lose traffic if it ceases to cooperate with Google the loss may be less then anticipated.

From Bing's perspective Wall Street Journal exclusivity not only differentiates Bing from Google but it could also help change its image as a more consumer focused search engine. The Wall Street Journal is the most read business publication in the World and this deal could go a long way toward modifying Bing's consumer image in the minds of business executives.

After all, a click resulting from a B2B oriented search term usually demands a premium price, which could help offset Bing's cost of paying Murdoch for exclusive inclusion.


Google's Matt Cutts discussed how the search engine handles sites that that are "in the cloud" with regards to how listings are affected. Matt's explanation was a response to the following user-submitted question:

Can moving my website to "the cloud" harm my listings? Say my server's in Germany and I move the website to Google's App Engine or Amazon S3. Does this harm my listings for German results - or is it enough to set the "geographic target" in GWT to Germany?

Matt broke the question down into separate parts to answer them. First, he took on the part about moving a site to "the cloud" harming the users' listings. His answer for this is basically that Google doesn't even know if your site is in the cloud, so it can't use that information to affect listings.

"We don't know what is happening on the side of your web server. Your web server could be running Perl, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails," said Cutts. "All we know is what the web server returns. So your web server could be running code that would go talk to Amazon's cloud or Appspot or anywhere else in the cloud, but we wouldn't even know that. We don't even know whether a page is dynamically created or statically created. All we know is what the web server sends back."

He says if your site is talking to the cloud behind the scenes, there is now way for any search engine or bot to know about that. Watch the video above to hear Matt's explanation for the second part of the user's question.


Microsoft has announced the addition of a number of new features to its Bing search engine. The company says it has been examining the trends in search and in feedback, and is working to accommodate these. Microsoft is referring to trends like the demand for faster access to knowledge, offering different user interfaces for different kinds of results, and an increased focus on "getting things done" with search.
Bing is rolling out a new "task-focused" version of its home page. It looks relatively the same as before, but when you mouse over different categories, you will get more search options. For example, if you mouse over "Travel," you will get links like "find flights" and "find hotels," and you can conduct your search from there.

New Bing home page

"There is also an interactive Instant Answer that allows you to enter your origin, destination, travel dates and…click…you are in Bing travel," says Bing Product Manager Henry Hall. "Within Bing travel you have fast access to flight purchase recommendations via the price predictor that tells you the least expensive times to fly. In addition to money, you’ll save time as well with Bing travel’s comprehensive flight listing results and links to top travel sites and airlines."

Bing Flights Search

Bing is also enhancing local information for hundreds of cities looking for things like local attractions, points of interest, neighborhoods and other local information sources like newspaper web sites. Bing has developed enhanced city results, which include links to key information and high-resolution slide shows.

Bing Travel Search

Bing is making it easier to find the preview feature. "We're doing a better job mining things like contact phone numbers and email addresses from web pages and displaying them clearly under a Contact banner, and generally cleaning up the interface to make it easier to decide if this a site you want to visit," says Hall. "Last, we're also integrating images in some preview results. We believe that all these features will allow for a faster decision about whether a site is right for your needs, which means less clicking on your browser’s back button."

Bing has also added a new Event Search feature, which gives users a summary of events for major cities, which can be filtered by things like performances, food & dining, fairs & festivals, music, etc.

Bing Events Search

Bing has also made it easy to share results for shopping searches on Facebook, a feature Hall deems ideal for passing on holiday gift ideas. There are also better results for health-related searches, including, conditions, medications, and hospitals. Each type of query will return more info and a more organized set of results.

Perhaps the biggest addition to Bing is that of Wolfram Alpha's algorithms and "expertly curated data". Wolfram Alpha will help power Bing's results for nutritional information and math searches.

When users search Bing for specific food items, they will get a nutrition quick tab that shows more information about it and a nutrition facts label at the bottom of the results page.

Wolfram Alpha Nutrition Info

"Another helpful tool is the body mass index that tracks your workout progress," the Bing Team says. "We have introduced Wolfram|Alpha’s body mass index interactive form on our results page. If you search for ‘bmi’ you’ll get the option to enter your height and weight. Click ‘Calculate’ and you’ll get a detailed Body Mass Index analysis directly on Bing."

Bing will also rely on Wolfraph Alpha's ability to solve complex math functions.

Wolfram Alpha Math Info
Bing says there will be more new features highlighted on the Bing Search Blog over the next few days. The features are just starting to roll out in the US, so it could be a while before you actually see them.

More on the newly announced features, read this post. For more on Bing's integration with Wolfram Alpha specifically, read here.


The desire to integrate products is strong at Google; it’s not hard to imagine that the company would eventually like to offer one great, big search/video/email/advertising ball. And today, it took a tiny step along that path by rolling together some analytics products.

A post on the AdSense for Feeds blog announced, “If you use either AdSense for feeds or Google FeedBurner to track item clicks and also use Google Analytics, as of today, you will automatically start to see your feed item click analytics show up in Google Analytics with some additional information added to help you understand how distributing your feed with FeedBurner leads to traffic on your site.”

The post then continued, “Specifically, we will help you classify your links by tagging the Source as ‘feedburner,’ the Medium as the channel in which we sent out your feed such as ‘feed’ or ‘email,’ and the Content as the actual endpoint application in which the user viewed your feed content such as ‘Google Reader’ or ‘Yahoo! Mail.’”

More distribution endpoint labels are on the way, too.

Hopefully this update will help people earn a little extra money heading into the holidays. At the least, it may simplify FeedBurner and AdSense for Feeds users’ lives a little, which would also represent a nice treat this time of year.


Over the course of 2009, a consistent theme that Google has been involved with is that of speed. In announcement after announcement, Google has talked about the importance of speed on the web, and how the company wants to do everything it can to make the web a faster place. Has it occurred to you that how fast your page loads may have a direct effect on how your site ranks in Google?

Don't worry, it hasn't had an impact...yet. Google's Matt Cutts told us that speed may soon be a ranking factor.

"Historically, we haven't had to use it in our search rankings, but a lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast," says Cutts. "It should be a good experience, and so it's sort of fair to say that if you're a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don't want that as much."


Michael Arrington from TechCrunch claims to have heard from "a reliable source" that Google will be launching the much-anticipated Chrome OS within a week. The tech industry media has been punked on Chrome OS in the past, but as Arrington notes, Google has said to expect it in the fall, and fall is running out.

Chrome OS is Google's attempt to "rethink what operating systems should be." It's an open source, "lightweight" operating system to be initially targeted at netbooks.

"Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS," Google said upon the Chrome OS announcement. "We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work."

Chrome OS "The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform," the company continued. "All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform."

Arrington says he thinks driver support will be an issue with Chrome OS. "...Having a robust set of functioning drivers is extremely important to Chrome OS’s success. People will want to download this to whatever computer they use and have it just work," he says. "We expect Google will be careful with messaging around the launch, and endorse a small set of devices for installation. EEE PC netbooks, for example, may be one set of devices that Google will say are ready to use Chrome OS. There will likely be others as well, but don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have from day one."

If Arrington's source truly is reliable, then we should see how the launch of Chrome OS pans out very soon. It's going to be very interesting to see how Google competes with Microsoft in the operating system space, as it is doing in both search and web browsers.


Have you ever wondered what would happen to your content on third-party sites if those sites ceased to exist? You may own your content on them as it stands now, but what if they went away?
You may recall earlier this year when URL-shortening service Tr.im announced it was going to shut down and sparked a big discussion about what happens to all of these links if such a service just decides it doesn't want to exist anymore. It is an interesting discussion, and it ultimately led to Tr.im having a change of heart and deciding to remain functional.

Now, the Internet Archive has announced the launch of 301Works.org, a service, which archives shortened URLs. The organization sums up the need for such a service pretty well:

The use of shortened URLs has grown dramatically due to the popularity of Twitter and similar micro-streaming services where posts are limited to a small number of characters. Millions of shortened URLs are generated for users every day by a wide variety of companies.

But when a URL shortening service shuts down, the shortened URLs people put in their blogs, tweets, emails and web sites break. Unless users have kept a record of each shortened URL and where it was supposed to redirect to, it’s not possible to fix them.

Over 20 URL shortening services have gotten involved with 301Works.org, and Bit.ly (Twitter's service of choice) has already begun donating archives. "Short URL providers have in the space of eighteen months become a corner stone of the real time web — 301Works.org was conceived to provide redundancy so that users and services could resolve a URL mapping regardless of availability. The Internet Archive is a perfect host organization to run and manage this for all providers," said Bit.ly CEO John Borthwick.

"The Internet Archive is honored to play this role to help make the Web more robust," added Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.

The issue of archiving the web of course touches a much broader spectrum than that of URL-shorteners. 301Works should go a long way for maintaining shortened URLs, but what about Facebook updates? Tweets? What if Facebook or Twitter decided to shut down one day? According to Twitter's terms of service, you own your content, but Twitter does host it and they have control over it regardless of whether or not you own it.

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