Tag Archives: Bing

A Tech Race Begins as Microsoft Adds A.I. to Its Search Engine

It’s been a rough few months for the tech industry. There have been tens of thousands of layoffs, hundreds of billions in value lost on Wall Street and a high-profile scandal at a crypto company that has shaken faith in that young market.

Continue reading A Tech Race Begins as Microsoft Adds A.I. to Its Search Engine

Daily Wrap: New gTLDs and SEO Benefits, .SWISS Update And ICANN Blog Public Comments

CARS AUTO gTLD logoWhether new gTLDs provide a benefit when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation has been a subject of debate. “Many in the SEO community debunk the myths that the new domain extensions will have any impact on SEO status, others have proven otherwise.”

Jennifer Wolfe is something of an expert on such issues and spoke to Daniel Negari, the CEO of .XYZ. Negari of course has a vested interest as his company not only operates .xyz but also other gTLDs such as .cars, which will have a registration fee of around $2,500 to $3,000.

The article gives a case study for a boutique supercar manufacturer in Southern California that following its transition to a .cars domain now ranks number one organically in Google and Bing search results, which means they don’t have to buy ads for that premium placement.

“It is paramount for us to ensure a clean and secure namespace in .CARS,” Negari told Wolfe. “We are implementing security scans and monitoring to prevent cybersquatting, phishing, or other malicious activities by bad actors. By doing this we provide a clear signal to internet users and to Google’s search algorithm to trust the .CARS top level domain. This aligns perfectly with all companies within the automotive industry to further their digital marketing efforts.”Dot SWISS logo

The Sunrise phase for .swiss domains ended on 9 November and over 8,000 applications for the gTLD were received [German]. All applications will now be checked for eligibility over the next three weeks with the first decisions on successful applications to be made in December.

The second phase for applications, General Availability, will begin on 11 January 2016. Applications may relate to any type of name, in so far as it originates from a public or private entity which has a base and an actual administrative site in Switzerland. The name which is applied for must have a link with the applicant.

ICANN opened their blog to public comments on Friday. And it was immediately subject to posts from Graham Schreiber, who Domain Incite reports unsuccessfully sued them back in 2012 and has not stopped his tirade against them in social media ever since.

Microsoft Implements URL Keyword Stuffing Spam Filtering For Bing

Microsoft have announced they implemented a specific spam filtering mechanism for their Bing search engine a few months ago that targets a common spam technique known as URL keyword stuffing (KWS.)The announcement by Igor Rondel, Principal Development Manager, Bing Index Quality, came in a posting on the Bing Blog and explains URL KWS as thus:What is URL KWS?Like any other black hat technique, the goal of URL KWS, at a high level, is to manipulate search engines to give the page a higher rank than it truly deserves. The underlying idea unique to URL KWS relies on two assumptions about ranking algorithms: a) keyword matching is used and b) matching against the URL is especially valuable. While this is somewhat simplistic considering search engines employ thousands of signals to determine page ranking, these signals do indeed play a role (albeit significantly less than even a few years ago.) Having identified these perceived ‘vulnerabilities’, the spammer attempts to take advantage by creating keyword rich domains names. And since spammers’ strategy includes maximizing impressions, they tend to go after high value/ frequency/ monetisable keywords (e.g. viagra, loan, payday, outlet, free, etc…)Those are the basic mechanics that comprise the overall URL KWS concept. Looking at it a little closer, spammers employ a variety of approaches to implement this technique, resulting in a number of distinct flavours. These are some of the more common variants (note: some of the URLs mentioned below are fictitious, used to demonstrate the point) –

  • Multiple hosts, with keyword-rich hostnames: http://account.free.online.savings.samedaypaydayloansusa.com
  • Host/ domain names with repeating keywords: http://loan.payday.paydayloanspaydayloansusa.com
  • URL cluster across same domain, but varied hostnames comprised of keyword permutations
  • http://contososhoeswomen.shoesonsale.com/
  • http://bestwomensrunningsneakers.shoesonsale.com/
  • http://discountrunningapparelforwomen.shoesonsale.com/

URL squattingThis is a little different as the spammer is playing on a human tendency to misspell keywords & in effect syphoning traffic off of existing (typically high profile/ traffic) sites
E.g. http://nytime.com(misspelling ofhttp://nytimes.com), http://ebey.com (misspelling of http://ebay.com)It’s important to note, however, that certainly not all URLs containing multiple keywords are URL KWS spams. In fact, majority are perfectly legitimate non-spam URLs (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/opinion/how-to-fix-our-math-education.html.) To ensure high detection precision, this detection technique is typically used in combination with other signals (more on this below.)Addressing this type of spam is important because a) it is a widely used technique (i.e. significant SERP presence) and b) URLs appear to be good matches to the query, enticing users to click on them.How do we detect it?As I mentioned in the previous blog, we will not be giving out specific details on detection algorithms because spammers are likely to use that knowledge to evolve their techniques. I can, however, tell you that we look at a number of signals that suggest possible use of URL keyword stuffing, such as:

  • Site size
  • Number of hosts
  • Number of words in host/ domain names and path
  • Host/ domain/ path keyword co-occurrence (inc. unigrams and bigrams)
  • % of the site cluster comprised of top frequency host/ domain name keywords
  • Host/ domain names containing certain lexicons/ pattern combinations (e.g. [“year”, “event | product name”], http://www.turbotaxonline2014.com)
  • Site/page content quality & popularity signals

To amplify this, we try to cluster sites (by various pivots such as domain, owner, etc…) and then look for patterns of the signals listed above in the same cluster. This helps improve detection precision because spammers often create dozens/ hundreds of similar looking sites.What has been the impact on the end user & the SEO community?Users: This update impacted ~3% of Bing queries (on average ~1 in 10 URLs was filtered out per impacted query.)
SEO community: ~5M sites, comprising > 130M urls, have been impacted, resulting in upwards of 75% reduction in traffic to these sites from Bing.

  • Example queries: {hotmail login}, {bestbuy on sale}, {cheap hdtv}
  • Examples of spam sites impacted:
  • www.cheapviagrausa.com
  • www.cheapviagrapharma.com
  • www.buyviagracheapviagraergr.com
  • www.gmailloginsigninup.com

The information in this blog posting original appeared on the Bing Blog at:

Keyword Rich Domains Do Not Help Search Ranking

Keyword-rich domains do not help a website become more relevant to the topic. That is what Duane Forrester, a Senior Product Manager at Bing wrote on the company blog in response to several comments at the recent Namescon conference.While ten years ago, Forrester writes there may have been some truth to this. But today, none. And with the introduction of new gTLDs, the same rules will apply to them as existing gTLDs and ccTLDs.”Ranking today is a result of so many signals fed into the system the words used in a domain send less and less information into the stack as a percentage of overall decision making signals,” writes Forrester. “This is great from our view (the engine) as it results in better results showing at the top since no one signal can be manipulated. From the searchers POV, it’s better simply because those sites trying to abuse their way to the top with a keyword rich domain and irrelevant or poor content cease to rank well.”On what a registrant’s focus should be, Forrester writes “if you’re focused on the user experience and relevancy, however, the value remains intact to a greater degree. Good domain names are easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and often short. If you look around, you’ll see no shortage of made up words as domains, too. You CAN create a new word that passes many tests and you CAN build awareness of it and over time you’ll see it become an actually searched-on phrase in its own right.””To reach this point, however, there has to be something of value on the site. Something that makes people want to share the site, recommend the site and revisit the site themselves. This is where your content, user experience and relevancy come into play.”It’s perfectly acceptable to use words in domains in unique ways. Its fine to use words in domains in ironic ways, though be sure those looking for you understand your meaning. Think of The Onion. People don’t go there looking for produce.”Today, this is our reality. It’s inescapable. There are no shortcuts. Even the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming out near the end of February will be treated in this manner. Domain spamming isn’t new, so sites that provide value, are relevant and that people like will rank as usual. They won’t rank ‘just because’ they have certain words in them, and thinking that keyword stuffing a domain (think: cars.cars) will give you an edge is dangerous. You’ll fall off that cliff in a hurry if abused. If it appears that it’s just all going to bring forward spam, well, you know we aren’t interested in that approach.”The complete article by Duane Forrester on the Bing blog is available at: