Reviewing social search and search quality insights

The last couple of weeks have been busy here at Bing.  For those who may have missed these great reading opportunities, I wanted to take a minute to call out two items worth spending some time with.

First up, the interview Eric Enge over at Stone Temple Consulting did with Paul Yiu, our Group Program Manager for Social Search.  They covered a wide range of items such as:

  • Authority – “They also look at the number of people you follow. If you follow 200 people and 8,000 follow you this might indicate more authority than if you follow 9,000 people and 8,000 follow you.”
  • Trustworthiness – “Relevance of the followers is used as a signal: “who you are connected to says something about you. You don’t want to get into the wrong crowd; It’s not good if you hang out with the bad group at high school.””
  • Relevancy – “You don’t hurt your Twitter stream by talking about irrelevant stuff. What matters more is what happens to your relevant stuff.”
  • Relevancy, again – “The relevance of the re-tweeters matters too.”
  • Proof of Usefulness – ““If the content doesn’t earn its spot its placement gets modified” (confirming again that Bing uses CTR which was done for the first time in this interview with Duane Forrester.)”

Eric called out roughly another 15 or so items in his own summary, and I’ll let folks head over via the link above to read the whole interview.  Paul shared a lot of useful stuff, so its worth the jump to get a peak at some of the important, current signals in use and some of the thinking behind them.

The week prior, Harry Shum, our Corporate VP for Bing R&D started a new series for our search Blog called Search Quality Insights.  Designed to help folks understand a bit better why search ticks the way it often does.

This series will prove eye opening for many in the industry if they follow along.  In Harry’s own words, “[we] aimed at giving you deeper insight into the algorithms, trends and people behind Bing. This blog is the first in a series that will take you behind the search box for an up close view into the core of the Bing search engine.”  If you’re an SEO on ANY level, that has got to get you excited!

The first article in this series is from Jan Pedersen, Chief Scientist for Core Search at Bing.  It kicks off the discussion with an overview of how we’re tackling the topic of whole page relevance at Bing. Jan delves into how we go beyond the traditional concept of page rank to deliver rich “answers” like video, images and maps that are relevant and help you get more done.  This view helps explain how we craft SERPs.  Understanding how we utilize the actions of searchers in various ways can give an SEO clues as to how to approach their efforts in building better content, optimizing for video, images, etc.

Tons of learning over the last week or so.  I encourage folks to hit the links above and get schooled in the finer details of social and search.

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