There has been a lot of press the last two days about Bing using Google results to rank their own search results and the reported sting operation by Google to catch them. Search Engine Land first broke this story on February 1st. Google’s official Blog post also detailed the sting operation complete with screen shots and all the documentation that goes along with a well orchestrated corporate spy mission (on both sides). Bing then responded multiple times and was reported here by ZD Net.
So what’s the gist of the story? Supposedly (or allegedly depending on how you look at it), Bing, owned by Microsoft, was using click-through data collected through their IE toolbar to help rank web sites in their algorithm.
“This is nothing new folks! Google and Yahoo do the exact same thing. I think the difference may be in how much weight Bing assigned to the data collected versus the other factors that are supposed to be used to rank web sites.”
In other words, they manipulated the results to be more in line with Google results based solely on click-through data collected by their tool bar agent.
What does this mean to you the user and average searcher? Not a whole heck of a lot. Basically Google will use this discovery to propagate their position that Bing is not playing fairly and Bing will say they are only doing what the other Search Engines do and that Google is making a spectacle out of a common practice. In the end, Google is the King of the search realm. They have been for some time. The problem with that is that every second place and third place competitor is going to try and knock them off that thrown. That’s their job. What’s Bing supposed to do? Sit back and say…”meh, 3rd place is good enough for us, let’s not try and improve our results”. Come on Google, you know when you’re #1, everyone wants to take you out, get used to it, I’m sure it won’t be the last time someone try’s to gain an edge on you.
“For the record, all of the Search Engines collect and use data through their own custom add on tool bars and browsers. Remember, NOTHING in this life is free.”
Image Source: SEO Lair