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The Bing vs Google shoot off… Interface or in-yer-face?

Mark Filmore, Director Architecture, SEO:

“This aint your father’s SERP”

My office mate and I recently got into a short but intense discussion of Microsoft’s new decision engine, www.Bing.com [1]. So far, I’m actually impressed with Bing’s interface while my pal Grant believes it’s a steaming pile of –InsertSlurHere–. We’ve decided to write our opinions about it using only 400 words and 1 screenshot. I’ve decided to cheat and use 2 images. Ok, so Gronted, the things I like about the Bing interface aren’t really brand new features, but it was Bing’s elegant implementation of these features that caught my eye.

Next to each normal looking search result is what can best be described as a slick AJAX amalgamation of:

Bing cool AJAX interface element [2]

Bing cool AJAX interface element

I suspect that many people may be overlooking this feature (especially those Nancy’s out there new to the Internet) because the rollover is quite understated. However, the sheer number of increased options this interface non-invasively brings to the table is fantastic.

Bing has improved upon the utility of Sitelinks and presents dozens of highly targeted exit points on each of their result pages. In addition to deeper links, they may also present helpful info such as a contact number or a more detailed description of the page — and the best part is that it’s all on-demand information.

In my opinion, a Bing search result page is able to serve the savvier Internet user while not cluttering the traditional look and feel of a SERP page, which most people are familiar with, as one could argue some Search Engines have been doing lately.

Bing works well for Simple and Advanced users…

Simple Users

Advanced Users

… but it will be interesting to see how the average internet user adopts the website.
In summary, I believe that Bing.com is off to a good start and has the potential to be the catalyst for improvement of the traditional search result page, maybe even on that Search Engine.

Bing, you might wanna add some meta data (and a title) to your fancy new homepage

SEO Bing? [3]

SEO Bing?

Grant Simmons, Senior Account Manager, SEO

I’ve never really liked Microsoft. Their products are bloated, in direct correlation with bloated wallets of their management team, and Office 2007 on Windows presents a User Interface that would make a case study of everything one shouldn’t do. (BTW Hi… I’m a Mac.)

Given my predisposition for Microsoft derision, when my co-worker Mark threw down a search engine gauntlet, I looked forward to a head-to-head review of Microsoft’s new search engine “Bing” vs. my (and 70% of users online) favorite, Google.

I would never search online if I didn’t expect to find what I’m looking for. Google has earned my trust, my loyalty, by delivering relevant search results for almost every query I’ve thrown at their database.

The test
Search for “electronics stores”. Provide opinion.

The familar and intuitive Google SERP interface [4]

The familar and intuitive Google SERP interface

The results
Google provides me with exactly what I expect. Relevance, neatly packaged into four areas:

  1. Brand names – Best Buy, CompUSA, Radio Shack, the first two results with ‘deeper dive’ sitelinks to sample electronics’ categories and for CompUSA, store locator.
  2. Local results – Google recognizes my location and offers a map and 10 local options. Note Google presents a local electronic component store first, followed by brands and smaller specialty stores mix.
  3. Contact Information / Authority – Integrated in with local results, Google offers URLs, phone numbers, and user submitted reviews, right there, at my fingertips. Useful.
  4. Other listings – Google’s presents an elegant page that’s easy to read and focused on the results. Sponsored and organic results are presented similarly creating a synergy and strength for any results appearing in both. Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing working hand-in-hand.

Bing is bung.
AJAX Doohickey: Mark pointed out that you can see related links by hovering close to a teeny yellow dot on the right side of the search results. Mark had to point it out because I had no clue. User Interface guidelines be damned, Microsoft engineers were probably falling over themselves with how clever it is… whilst users have no clue that is there.

Pretty pictures in the header: Distraction. Try and focus on the results and see what I mean.

Decision Engine: I don’t want a decision engine. I want smart results that simply present what I want in an easily scannable format so I can find *exactly* what I’m looking for.

Bing. This is just a silly name. Try and be successful if your name is Bing, and you can’t tap-dance through “Singing in the Rain.”

About Mark Fillmore

Mark Fillmore is a Group Account Director at The Search Agency. His past experience includes owning and operating several successful Internet start-ups including ConcertTickets.com, which was recently acquired by a private company. He has worked in the SEO field for over 8 years, with his primary focus being Website Development, Architecture and Strategy. Mark also has broad IT management experience running teams of developers and designers while filling the role of Director of Website Development for a Los Angeles marketing company and a Wireless Software design company.