Bing Search After A Year, The Good And Bad
You may know that I have switched by primary search engine from Google to Bing sometime last year. I was fed up with Google for several reasons, including their constant push of Google owned properties into the search engine results and the deteriorating quality of search.
I suspected that Bing's quality was not really better as that of Google, but I wanted to make a point, and thought it would be interesting to see how I would do with Bing as my main search engine.
When I say Bing I think of an English search engine. Yes, Bing has localized sites but the results there are not good at all. That, and Microsoft's obvious concentration on the US market forced me to switch to localized Google search engines for many non-English queries.
Bings English results are not as bad as many Internet users might think they are. Plus, it has some features that Google does not have. What I really like is that the official site is highlighted on Bing search results.
The association that the first entry on the search results page is always the official site is not always correct, and this may help users distinguish between official sites and unofficial ones. It is on the other hand brand related, Ghacks for instance has no official site listing on Bing.
I also like that there is generally less advertisement and Microsoft properties on search results pages. Yes, there are some queries where you see ads all over the place plus links to other Microsoft properties, but most pages are cleaner than Google's.
The quality of the results depends highly on your searches. I'd generally say that Bing displays less splogs (Spam Blogs) and exact keyword domains with thin content in the results. This may be because most sites like those tend to concentrate on Google when it comes to SEO.
For some searches, I had to switch to Google after searching on Bing for a while. This can be mainly attributed to Google's time filter which Bing only displays on some results pages and not all.
I personally like the time filter a lot, especially on searches where "old pages" are shown on the first search results page. This happens for Windows troubleshooting searches a lot. You search for something and see that only Windows XP or Windows 2000 results are shown, even though you are looking for Windows 7 results. Adding Windows 7, or other descriptive terms helps sometimes but not always. A limit to display only search results of the past year does wonders to the results though. This has helped me more than once, and I consider it essential.
The biggest factor that is holding Bing back in my opinion is the concentration on the US market. Sure, it is Microsoft's home market, and concentration on a single market works for other search engines, Baidu anyone, very well. But Microsoft wants to compete with Google and not Baidu, which means that they have to improve the results on their localized search engines and the features on those search engines to compete with the almighty Google (Google has a market share of 90%+ in many European countries, which makes me wonder why the EU never stepped in here.)
I do about 80% of my searches on Bing nowadays, and the remaining 20% on Google. I usually switch to Google if the Bing results do not turn up the right results, or if I want to use a localized search engine. Bing's results have improved over the course of the year.
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