There’s something about Bing’s homepage that draws us to use their search– BUT not really. We wrote about Micrsoft’s search engine “Bing” a while back and thought it didn’t offer anything new and we still like using Google.
What Bing does have is aesthetics. The home page is so pleasing to the eyes with it’s high quality photos and breathtaking images that you just want to stay there. It is attention grabbing and that’s probably among their best strengths. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for search giant Google to catch on… Introducing, just went live a few days ago– Google’s new homepage with images and the ability to ‘personalize’ it with your own photo!
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery they say. Indeed, in this case.
Microsoft deployed Bing, a new search decision experience, worldwide at http://www.Bing.com. Bing takes a new approach to helping customers use search to make better decisions, focusing initially on four key user tasks and related areas: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.
Exactly a month ago today, Scour, the new meta search engine went live. It continues to soar and score high points from its users unlike Cuil, the other search engine who took the blogosphere by storm and promised a bunch of things and failed to deliver. That just shows that just because the brains behind the site are ex-Google honchos doesn’t mean they can compete with the god of search herself, Google- head on.
Scour on the other hand, didn’t promise anything. As stated on their About page, its mission is simple: “to bridge the gap between searchers and relevant results… to provide users with the most relevant results available by providing a platform for searchers to vote on relevancy, share their feedback and connect with one another creating a true social search community.”
That’s more like it. Unimposing. They didn’t do much talking and allowed its users handle the raving. We waited before the initial launch publicity is over before jumping on the train. We registered as member today to test it and we are very impressed!
Ever since Google introduced sitelinks two years ago, it remains a mystery to this day how one website shows sitelinks and the other none. What do we do to get the coveted sitelinks and why should we care?
First things first, what are sitelinks? Sitelinks is a term coined by Google to refer to the set of links that shows below some sites in the Google search results. It appears below a particular website offering more links to that website instantly without even leaving the Google search page.
In essence, it makes life of the searcher one click faster as they are “meant to help users navigate (a) site… that will save time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.”
Very well but how do we get them to appear on ours? Unfortunately after 2 years since they started implementing it, only a handful of blog sites has it while most popular company sites seem to be enjoying the added feature.
Google’s explanation is short and vague: “Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts… If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them… Sitelinks are completely automated.”
Why should we care? because Google is saying that: “we only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user.” Ergo, if your site doesn’t carry sitelinks it means that your site isn’t important enough to have them! It means simply that your site doesn’t show any useful links so we will ignore putting them below your site in search pages. Our blog is less than a year old and doesn’t carry sitelinks; of course one day we hope to have that extra bonus from Google! Right now, from our Google webmaster tools links section it says “Google has not generated any sitelinks for your site.” Ouch!
Curious about a particular site we’re secretly following, we typed the keywords “John Chow” and was greatly surprised to find that his website johnchow.com is nowhere on the first 20-30 site results and so we clicked and clicked some more and there it was on the sixth page! Interestingly all the other 60 results shows his name being capitalized upon with johncow.com showing on the very first page at the top with sitelinks and all to boot! How did that happen? Only Google can answer.
Factors affecting sitelinks display
From our random search of keywords, here’s what we found out on those with sitelinks:
1. The site must rank no.1 on that keyword. Amazon, ebay, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc. all have sitelinks and they’re no.1 on the result.
Our main keywords “Blogs That Follow” show us at no. 2 in search but even the no.1 doesn’t have sitelinks on its result.
2. Keywords with one or two words and rank no.1 on it seem to show sitelinks more than those with 3 or more keywords. “Yahoo!,” “Yahoo Directory,” “web awards,” “tshirt design,” “Pandora radio” have sitelinks. Keywords “make money online,” “Blogs that Follow,” “Do Follow Directory,” don’t.
3. Only websites with huge traffic (maybe based roughly on PageRank, Page views, backlinks, authority, etc.) will display sitelinks.
4. Age of site will be a factor as well. The older your site is, the more credibility you have on the web. We think two year old sites and below will not get sitelinks. Then again, it may be case to case depending on how much a website gets for traffic in its first 24 months being online.
5. The number of indexed pages counts! and the more popular that page is, the more likely it will appear as part of a sitelink. Our best bet is that links appearing on our navigation menu either as pages or pure links to articles, are the most likely to appear as sitelinks.
We all want that credibility and branding that associates with sitelinks. From an ordinary searcher or reader’s standpoint, the site with sitelinks appear more “trusting” than the ones without it.
While sitelinks have been discussed and explained time and again since it first appeared on Google search, there is still no way to decipher for sure what goes on with Google system analytics responsible for discriminating one site over another in displaying sitelinks. We can only follow the 5 guidelines we came up with and continue blogging and hope for the best!
According to the latest Nielsen online report released in May 19, 2008, Google is the top search provider in the United States garnering a whooping 62% share of all search queries made in April 2008. Yahoo! Search came in second with a mere 17.5% while MSN/Windows Live Search has a lousy 9.7% .
To represent the huge difference in numbers, it means that Google easily handled roughly 5.1 billion searches in the United States in April alone while Yahoo! Search had only about 1.4 billion and MSN Search, about 796 million.
Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word of mouth, commerce and consumer behavior. The Nielsen Company is the leading internet media and market research company in the world.