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Micro-optimisation: Bing

Alex Christie

8 July 2009

As soon as Bing came out, it was important for me to try and find as many ways to take advantage of any new technology that they use on the site. The first and possibly most obvious difference between Bing and other search engines (including previous incarnations of MSN search) is the preview panel. I was initially very excited by the preview panel for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly for Bing, the preview pane is keeping a user on their page for a little bit longer and users are contributing a measurable interaction with the interface, now they can measure not only time spent on the site but “hovers” and click-throughs.

Enough about Bing though, what does it do for your website? It is another way to interface with a customer and re-inforce a message or theme, it is also useful for the users to help them get a little bit more information before they decide where to go.  This is where the micro-optimisation becomes important.

The first thing I did when i saw the preview panes was to figure out where it was coming from. It didn’t take me too long, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent pattern but, on the whole,  it appears that the snippets are coming from the first or second paragraph of the site. This looked like a brilliant opportunity to add some juicy content. I did some digging and there are a lot of sites that are missing an opportunity to engage…

http://www.bing.com/search?q=porsche&go=&form=QBRE&filt=all&qs=n

porsche

Porsche for instance, there is some lovely preview pane action there… All those kilowatts – nowhere to go!

I decided to see how easy it would be to change the snippet text on the Tamar homepage

before2

I added the letters SEO after the phrase search engine optimisation, and started writing this post. That was a month ago. As you can see, the new snippet is live and optimised. This might not be a shining example of Bing micro-optimisation but it serves to illustrate that little changes to the words on your site can have an impact on your user engagement. It also proves to illustrate that Bing is a wee bit slower on the crawl.

after2

It is also a logical conclusion that the area where this text was pulled from what Bing thinks is the most  valuable area of the page – time to move in some keywords don’t you think…

Key Points:

  • The Bing preview pane is a customisable way to engage with your customers.
  • The preview pane gets its snippets from the most “valuable” real estate on the page
  • If your snippet is garbage – your page can do with a bit of micro optimisation.

These are the small opportunities that I call micro-optimisation, tiny actions that don’t really contribute on their own, but when they are all added up – contribute more than all the big factors.

Tags: Bing
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