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Turning to Bing

Turning to Bing

February 4, 2014
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" At the end of the day, putting all of your eggs in the Google basket or falling into the single-source trap with any company may not be the best bet when diversification is easy. "

It’s never smart to put all of your eggs in one basket, or so the saying goes; and with Google clamping down on porn sites, adult marketers are seeking a “Plan B” — which in this case, “B” may stand for Bing ... Seeking organic traffic? Bing Webmaster Tools (www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster) allow users to drive more visitors to their sites by using Bing’s proprietary data and tools.

According to Bing, if you want traffic, then it can help you find it — and also let you know why people want to come to your site in the first place.

“Getting traffic to your site starts with being listed in the search results shown on Bing. Our tools can help you with this step,” a Bing rep explains. “Understanding what lead people to your website can help you understand what to focus on to increase traffic. Our reports can help with this.”

In addition, Bing can help webmasters that want to improve their site, but don’t know where to start; providing guidance on tweaks and which areas to expand on a website.

“Knowing which items to adjust on your website can help take the anxiety out of making changes. Our tools can scan and recommend work items for you,” the rep added. “With research tools a click away, we can help you understand exactly what people are searching for, helping you know where to expand next.”

Bing Webmaster Tools provide a number of helpful resources, including a listing of Webmaster Guidelines, as well as help and how-to guides for webmasters, along with a discussion forum, webmaster blog and even email support. The service also makes listing your website in its Bing and Yahoo! search engines quick and painless — with an online submission form and “Verify Bingbot” tool.

While this could all be considered standard fare, the company shines with its offering of power tools such as Bing Keyword Research (www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords).

According to Bing, its Keyword Research tool allows users to stop guessing at what people are searching for and to get keyword ideas and suggestions targeting your content.

Bing’s Keyword Research tool provides up to six months of data, culled exclusively from its organic search services, and shows stats and suggestions based on this historical data without relying on averages. Keyword Ideas are also separated by visitor language and by the country (or region) of the visitor’s origin.

“All query volumes and keyword suggestions are based on organic search, not on paid search or search advertising data, giving you the most natural ideas and accurate numbers,” the Bing rep advised. “The Keyword Research tool can generate keyword suggestions in wide range of languages and countries/regions, allowing you to fine-tune your keyword ideas for the markets you serve.”

Keyword research history is also simplified by the ability to store a record of up to 25 previously researched keywords for quick access to prior topics.

Another area in which Bing’s services shine, is through its handling of sitemaps; including guidelines for success, along with the Beta release of the Bing Sitemap Plugin.

According to Bing, its XML Sitemap Plugin is an Open Source server-side system for generating Sitemaps.org compliant XML sitemaps on sites running Apache HTTP Server, or the Internet Information Services (IIS) for Windows Server.

“Easy to install and highly configurable, the Bing XML Sitemap Plugin provides an ideal solution for webmasters and web hosting companies looking to enhance search engine discoverability for their own or their customers’ websites,” the Bing rep explains, noting that since the XML Sitemaps generated by the plugin adhere to the XML Sitemap protocol, they are usable by all search engines that support the protocol, not just by Bing.

Two types of sitemaps are generated by Bing XML Sitemap Plugin; a comprehensive sitemap of URLs seen on the server and a delta sitemap showing recently changed URLs.

“Having both comprehensive and delta sitemaps provides you with significant benefits, as you will always have a full, up-todate list of all URLs on your website that search engines can use for deep crawl, as well as a concise sitemap of URLs that were modified recently, which search engine crawlers can prioritize,” the rep added.

“This can help in keeping bot traffic bandwidth down. In addition, the Sitemap Plugin automatically adds <lastmod> values to your sitemap, and generates <priority> values to the sitemap based on how popular your URLs are.”

The new tool allows webmasters to precisely control the items added to the sitemap.

Taken in combination, Bing’s free traffic tools will deliver a new stream of visitors to your website, and can begin with only a modest investment of time and other resources.

Sometimes however, time is not the issue, money is.

For those buying premium search engine traffic, such as they might through Google’s AdWords program, Bing offers its Bing Ads program (advertise.bingads.microsoft.com), but as with many mainstream-merging marketing efforts, advertisers must employ a deft touch in order to comply with the rigid rules.

For example, Bing’s Code of Conduct contains prohibitions against the depiction of “nudity of any sort including full or partial human nudity or nudity in non-human forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga,” or content that “incites, advocates, or expresses pornography, obscenity, vulgarity [or] profanity.”

Bing also prohibits advertisers from linking to sites that violate its Code of Conduct, which further complicates the daisy chain between mainstream search and adult sales.

Of course, Google and many other firms impose similar restrictions in their terms, so if you can successfully maintain an AdWords account, you shouldn’t have any problems with Bing Ads — but if you lost an AdWords account and are looking for a replacement, you won’t have any better luck with Bing, unless you change your ways.

Where Bing’s services pale in comparison to Google’s is when publishers enter into the picture. For those wanting to sell their site’s traffic, few outlets can compare to the AdSense program offered by Google, and Bing is no exception. Currently, all premium traffic is bought by the Bing/Yahoo! network through Media.net — but good luck getting your porn site into this exclusive, invite-only program that employs meticulous scrutiny.

Mainstream alternatives such as Adversal.com are popular with some publishers, but once again, that pesky prohibition mandating that sites must not contain or link to adult content gets in the way — leaving adult-friendly ad networks to pick up Google’s slack.

The upshot to all this is that you may be able to buy adult traffic from Bing, but you will not likely be able to sell them any.

There are other factors that also muddy the waters surrounding Bing.

Despite the benefits of Bing as a Plan B — or even as your primary search marketing channel for 2014 — many in the webmaster community show nothing but disdain for the service, even if they have never used it. Doubtless the taint stems from this population’s longstanding hatred of anything Microsoft, which is unfortunate, as this closed mindset is only limiting these merchants’ opportunities.

Adult webmasters have an additional reason to oppose Bing on the grounds that when its SafeSearch mode is turned off, Bing’s video search tool becomes the world’s biggest porn tube site — where anything and everything is available for free — streamed in high quality and all without the user having to leave the search page.

If you want to know what a porn site needs in order to compete in 2014, be sure to check this out.

At the end of the day, putting all of your eggs in the Google basket or falling into the single-source trap with any company may not be the best bet when diversification is easy.


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