Page snapshots in Bing Windows 8 app to bring new crawl traffic to sites

Today is a very exciting day as Windows 8 is now generally available to hundreds of millions of people, who will have access to a superb search experience through the preinstalled Bing app. This week we would like to highlight one specific feature that will impact the crawl traffic (visits to your site from our crawlers) we send to your website.

In addition to traditional web search, the Bing app for Windows 8 features a very visual image search feature, allowing users to swipe conveniently through a collection of thumbnails.

On top of this overview of the search results, users have the possibility to switch to a more detailed view by simply tapping on one of the images. The result is a full screen version of the image along with some metadata, including a link to the image source page and a small snapshot of the page.

This page snapshot is the specific feature we would like to highlight this week, as it is generated by our web crawler. Even though our crawler is intelligent enough to reuse components of your site it has already seen in the past, it will occasionally come and visit your pages again, as requested by a Bing app user, in order to get the freshest and most accurate snapshot possible. Therefore, as usage of the Bing app increases, you should expect more and more of this crawl traffic coming your way.

In order to be transparent on what crawl traffic is being generated, and obtain the best results, we are using a different user agent for this specific “snapshot generation” traffic:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/534+ (KHTML, like Gecko) BingPreview/1.0b

Having this page snapshot as part of the “full details” experience is a great way for us to drive traffic to your website as Bing app users look through your images.   As search continues to evolve in a visual, tactile and vocal direction, features such as the Bing App in Windows 8 stand to deliver traffic directly to sites by introducing searchers to sites they hadn’t previously discovered.

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