Bing’s Big Off Topic Bonus

One of the hardest problems in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD). WSD is the ability to calculate the meaning of a word from context.

When someone searches for a short keyword, (without prior user data) WSD becomes darn near impossible for anything except the trivial case. The big G has for the most part been more focused on getting its users to be more specific. Microsoft/Bing, which loves to set the bar as low as possible for its users, just seems to want give you a little taste of results from a few of the possible meanings or say this is “what you mean now beeeyatch”. Which, frankly i think is a good idea for the average use, its basically like they are fleshing out some of the rationalization for “suggest” function while you are typing in your query.

So lets just Bing to your attention some examples.

The most in your face is probably

A Place in Korea [edit: this SERP has since been fixed]

But there are less egregious examples

A Language Parents Can Understand

Of course when they really nail it, they add in helpful sectioning (props to that, real competition in usage over G):

A Word with a Rainbow of Meanings.

Then again if they really, REALLY think they got your number, then you are feeling lucky weather you like it or not!

Not A Swedish Hair Salon

Oh wait, maybe hair care is a new major or something.

It seems they really take into consideration your location for the WSD. The above Harvard/Hårvård joke probably wont work in Europe.

The take away of this post is that, right now, there are cases where you can find keywords in your niche which are off-topic words in harder niches and get a little extra love from bing. Consider this bonus when choosing your next tertiary keywords.

I think I am not alone in now focusing plenty of my SEO time on Bing, the traffic is good (convertalicious ) and so far Bing seems to really like my foundation level sites.

Caveat, this post shows live search results, search is a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) and exact results will change often and according to your IP.

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2 Comments

  1. Alejandro
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    So what are the unique traits that you optimize for in bing over G?

    My site that i started begining of july is ranking for shit in G & Y! but the only page indexed thus far in Bing is the sitemap the I submitted. Not sure what to make of this of how to proceed.

  2. Victory
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Its too early to give advice on bing that will likely be applicable in 6 months time. But the following things i have noticed

    * NOT freshing content seems to let it stay under the radar longer. Softly softly spammy text.

    * Bing likes aged links with less concern for “nofollow” more so than G/Y, who both like aged links too.

    * Bigger bonuses to sites as a whole, onsite link juice annealing seems to be weaker than G/Y. That means you can more easily shape your page rank by having a few pages with really good incoming links, which then flow their juice more easily to the rest of your site.

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