By Amit Kursija Jan 17, 2013 0

Microsoft's “Bing it On”: How It Can Help Your Web Analytics Campaign

In September 2012, Microsoft did an unprecedented thing and directly challenged Google’s dominance in search. The company invited users to participate in its “Bing It On” challenge where users could compare Bing and Google search results. Users could search for five of their own search terms. They would see unbranded search results from Bing and Google appearing alongside each other. They will then declare which one they prefer by designating it as a “winner” or if they cannot decide which one is better, call it a draw.

It is the online equivalent of the blind taste test, wherein people are given samples of two different brands and they tell researchers which one they liked better.

Bing had two goals for the campaign, other than ticking Google off:

  • Break the Google habit by
  • Showing people that Bing search results are better than Google.

After a month, Bing came out with the results from an independent third party, Answers Research. They found that:

  • 64% of those surveyed were surprised by the quality of search results on Bing.
  • More than half of those surveyed had a better impression on Bing after taking the challenge.
  • Around 1 out of every 5 people surveyed said that they found flaws in Google’s search results after taking the side by side challenge.

Sounds good right? But when it comes to changing preferences, it seems that most people would be staying loyal to Google for now. Only 33% of people who first said that they use Google search indicated that they will now use Bing as their primary search engine instead.

Bing It On and Your Web Analytics Campaign

The aim of any Web analytics campaign is to understand how people find your site and how they behave while they are there. If you have not been paying attention to Bing other than seeing it as one of your traffic sources now might be a good time to start.

Bing may not have a separate analytics package like Google does, but it does offer a lot of insights with its Bing Webmaster Tools. On top of getting another set of data you could use to augment your current Web analytics sources, you can use the tools to:

  • Get what keywords work best on certain pages.
  • Get information on the search rank of a URL according to search keywords.

If you get dizzy just looking at numbers, you can seek help from Bing Webmaster Tools’ SEO Reports section. This tool lists down the things that are wrong with your site such as a missing title tag or duplicate headers and other similar problems and tell you how severe it is. Click on an error listed and it will take you to a page that details which of your pages have this error and highlights the problem areas.

If you are taking a look at Web analytics data to help improve your search ranking, Bing It On might help to key in your keywords on Bing. According to Search Engine Watch, Google had a 67% share in the search market while Bing had 16%. Even with the modest 33% of Google users that Bing is predicting would deflect over to their camp; that would put Bing at the top spot.

This means that it would help using the keywords you choose for your site and entering them on Bing It On and see how Bing and Google display your pages. It will give you an idea how strong your pages are on both search engines.

For example, if your Web site comes at the top of Google’s search and nowhere on Bing, this might be a problem if and when Bing eats up more and more of Google’s market share. Even so, you would lose out on Bing searches.

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