Spider-Man Would Approve
If you went to see The Amazing Spider-Man movie you probably noticed Peter Parker doing online research using the Bing search engine. Those scenes have been somewhat of a joke in the online marketing community, because EVERYONE knows that a geek like Peter Parker would use Google to do online research!
Since Microsoft merged with Yahoo and their search engines became one, many in the Search Engine Optimization world have been skeptical about Bing at best. It seems the only way Bing can get search engine market share is by partnering with PC makers like Dell and having their search engine installed by default (and hope their users aren’t smart enough to figure out how to change their default search engine.)
But Bing has answered a big criticism that has been leveled against Google over the past few months and has gotten the red-headed stepchild of search engines some kudos in our industry. For years one of the primary ranking factors for Google’s search engine has been the quality and authority of the websites that link to you. In some ways Google has doubled down on those ranking factors over the past year or so with their Panda and Penguin updates. This has led to some speculation (and proof) that if you want to wage a dirty “negative SEO” war against your competitors you could theoretically build poor quality “black hat” links to their website in an effort to harm their rankings—and succeed. Enter Bing’s recent update.
Likely in response to many in our industry’s vociferous requests for Google to allow companies to refuse the effects of links coming into your website, Bing has rolled out their “Disavow Links” tool which allows just that. So even if your competitor decides to play a trick on you, there is some recourse. However, Bing does clearly state that you shouldn’t expect “large increases” in your rankings as a result of using this tool.
My guess is that Google engineers are wringing their hands on this one. If they allow this type of retort from website owners, it basically gives companies endless mulligans. “Oops you caught me building links from poor quality websites—must have been my competitor trying to hurt my rankings, please don’t count those links anymore.” If I were a betting man I would guess Google will refuse to follow suit on this one. But then again, I don’t gamble much.