Key Interview Points
Let me start you with the big ones up front. This interview had two startling parts to it. These were:
- The huge weight placed by Bing on user interaction with the search results as a ranking factor. This was amazing stuff. Basically, Bing is willing to test any page by indexing it. In fact you can pretty much directly inject any URL you want into their search results using the Submit URL feature of Bing Webmaster Tools. Then they will test it, and if the click interaction data is bad, out (or down) you go.
- The ranking of the priorities for publishers in Duane's eyes. #1 Content #2 Social Media #3 Links. Links were rated as the third most important area. Third.
This was fascinating stuff. Of course, each search engine is different, and they each test different things. But this is a very different headset than what we are used to in the world of SEO. Here are some of the other key points from the interview:
- (Duane): “You need to remember that the search engine sees everything across the web on every layer and as a whole, all at the same time. So, when you delight someone with the best user-experience possible, we pick up all those signals that person shares about their delight, and those signals will help influence our perception of your quality.”
- (Duane): “The end goal of everything we do at Bing is to provide a better result set for a searcher. That's the core reason why a search engine exists”. To help put this comment in perspective, I find it useful to think about the search engine's goal as being to provide the searcher with the fastest possible answer to their question. This is an incredibly important mindset to establish in your mind as you work on your Internet marketing strategy.
- (Duane): “If we are actually finding your pages, but we are not keeping thme in the index, there is a reason for that”.
- (Duane): “Search engines are evolving and things like RSS are going to become a desired way for us to find content … It's a dramatic cost savings for us”.
- (Duane): “Your Sitemaps need to be clean. We have a 1% allowance for dirt in a Sitemap. Examples of dirt are if we click on a URL and we see a redirect, a 404 or a 500 code. If we see more than a 1% level of dirt, we begin losing trust in the Sitemap”.
- (Duane): “Millions of movements per hour are happening across Bing”.
- Bing Webmaster Tools offers a crawl scheduling type feature where you can indicate times of days whern you prefer that Bingbot does its crawl.
- Bing does not use page performance as a ranking factor. This is because a page with a 4 second load that has all the content someone wants may well be a better experience than a page with 1 second load time that does not answer the question as well.
- Bing's Webmaster Tools inbound links feature shows a reasonable representation of links with a focus on those that matter most to your site.
- (Duane): “We have our internal metric that folks may or may not be familiar with. It's called Static Rank and this is where we judge the value of a particular URL as we perceive it”.
- Take advantage of the Bing Webmaster Tools data to see the Average Impression Position for the search phrases that are delivering traffic to your site. If the reported position is decreasing (moving up in the search results) this is an indication that the trust in the page is growing.
Eric Enge: Duane, you are now running the Bing Webmaster program at Microsoft but you were formerly a SEO. How has that transition been?
Duane Forrester: It's like being a kid in a candy store. What every SEO wants is a peek under the hood. When I started, I was told to come down to the garage and we will show you what we are doing now, and what we are planning for the future.
Eric Enge: What perspective would you share with SEOs who are still on the outside?